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Clinical Research Practitioners: The Road to Recognition



The Road to Recognition

Being recognised for the role we play at work is a powerful force – a strong, positive professional identity brings credibility and assures patients.

Clinical Research Practitioners (CRPs) are crucial to delivering the clinical research that is transforming treatment in the NHS. They bring a wealth of research knowledge and expertise to research delivery teams.

NIHR – in collaboration with the Academy for Healthcare Science – has established a Directory for Clinical Research Practitioners. The Directory is a fast growing community of CRPs all playing a part in shaping their professional identity and practice.

The Directory provides a space for CRPs to be to consulted and to contribute to an application seeking accredited registration. While accredited registration is voluntary, standards will be similar to the high levels found in statutory regulation for nursing and other allied health professions.

This is where the Professional Standards Authority come in. They set standards for organisations that register people who work in health and social care. The Authority accredit registers and decide if standards are met.

Deirdre Brooking: 'The best job in the world'

Deirdre Brooking is a clinical research practitioner at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore.

For Deirdre being a clinical research practitioner is the best job in the world. "We are the forefront of research, identifying patients, recruiting patients and letting colleagues know of opportunities for patients to be involved in research studies. I see the role as a linchpin for research," says Deirdre.

"I think there is a big lack of awareness about our role and the skills required. It’s vitally important we are recognised for what we do and the CRP Directory is a important step on that journey. Accredited registration would not only help our professional identity, it would give us a credibility in clinic and give patients assurances when they enter into a clinical study."

Angharad Williams: 'Professional identity is very important for me'

"We are patients advocates first and their care is at the forefront of everything we do," says Angharad Williams, a clinical research practitioner at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. 

Angharad knew she wanted to work in research whilst doing a bioscience degree. She says most of her colleagues and patients assume that she’s a nurse but she’s only too happy to explain her role. Angharad is proud of her background. 

"Professional identity is very important for me in what I do as it shows I have the experience, training and capability to deliver research. I think an accredited register is vitally important for clinical research practitioners. It would provide us with a sense of identity, help us to define our roles and offer assurance to patients and wider teams."

Kayleigh Gilbert: 'The CRP role is crucial to delivering healthcare research for all'

"Professional identity is really important for your working relationship with colleagues and patients,” says Kayleigh Gilbert, a clinical research practitioner at Whittington Health NHS Trust.

"A clinical research practioner is a role in its own right. You don’t want to be recognized as something you’re not. You bring a different set of skills to the role which you want to be recognized fairly for."

"The clinical research practitioner role is crucial to delivering healthcare research for all. An accredited register would help provide a professional identity to all the research delivery staff working on research studies across the country that don’t fall into the other registers such as AHP or nurses."

Find out more and apply to join the Directory

The Directory for Clinical Research Practitioners is open to those who are:

  • working in a research delivery role that involves direct contact with patients and activities in clinical environments or other health and social care research settings
  • not registered with a healthcare profession.

Find out more and apply to join the CRP Directory.

Individuals and organisations keen to know more can contact: