Clara Loter’s Experience in the Clinical Research Unit

Clara LoterClara Loter is a senior at the University Of Iowa College Of Nursing. She just finished her honors student project, which involved her working in the Clinical Research Unit with the clinical research nurses and research study coordinators. The goal of her project was to determine if there was a place for students in the CRU and help get the word out about this unique opportunity.

Clara shared feedback on her experience in the Clinical Research Unit, including what she learned about research nursing and takeaways from her project.

Describe your experience in the Clinical Research Unit.

I got to spend hands on clinical time in the Clinical Research Unit each week, as well as work on the research study coordinator side.

What did you learn about the Clinical Research Unit?

I didn’t even know what the clinical research unit was. I thought research was all data entry and writing articles. I think we are given the wrong impression of research in school. I think the biggest take away was that research nursing is quite similar to inpatient and you still get those hands-on experiences.

How is a clinical research nurse different than a regular nurse?

The biggest differences are having to follow protocols and the paper charting. As a student, these are things that are completely foreign and not discussed even once.

Why did you pick the Clinical Research Unit for your honors project?

I really wanted my project to be hands-on and have a lasting impact. Now future students have the option to spend time in the Clinical Research Unit as well.

What was your favorite part of your experience in the Clinical Research Unit?

Definitely the people. The staff is like a work family and a lot of the patients come in every week, so you really get to know them well. It felt great to feel like I was making an impact on the future of medicine.

What was the biggest challenge working in the Clinical Research Unit?

The biggest challenge for me was getting used to the specifications of each study. As nurses, we get used to doing interventions a certain way. In research, everything has to be done exactly the same way with each patient or the study isn't valid. You can't get lazy.

What did you learn about the Clinical Research Unit and working as a clinical research nurse?

One of the coolest aspects of the unit is the interdisciplinary cooperation. Not only did I get to work with nurses, but respiratory therapists, physical therapists, nutritionists, etc. There were multiple people working together on one study to change the future of medicine. You don’t see that kind of teamwork every day.

What was your biggest takeaway from your honors project?

Acute care isn’t the only path. There are so many career options for nurses, including research. It’s important to keep an open mind.

Why do you want to be a nurse?

For me, it was always about changing people’s lives for the better. I love hearing my patients’ stories and getting to know them. Educating them on little changes they can make to improve their lives and stay out of the hospital is what I enjoy the most.


Monday, October 30, 2017