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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Monitoring Visit: What to Pack

I came across a nice online article recently by Greig Waddell with tips on how to save time when traveling for business. Click here to check out the full article. I thought all of his points were great but I wanted to expand upon it a bit in the context of traveling to a monitoring visit.

So you are going on a monitoring visit. You want to dress sharp and have all the supplies you need. Choose clothes that you can mix and match, that you don't have to dryclean or iron, and that are professional and appropriate. I travel 2-4 days each week so I pretty much just keep my suitcase packed all the time and just replenish/rotate things out for cleaning as needed. This means two sets of toiletries, those I use at home, and those that always stay packed in my 3-1-1 TSA approved baggie. Staying "packed" has saved me on several early mornings when I haven't exactly given myself quite enough time to get up, get out of the house, and get to the airport. Here is a selection of my luggage:

No, I don't travel with 3 bags. Click here and then scroll over the photo at my Flickr site to learn more about what type of luggage I use for different length trips.
I don't check bags with the airlines, but if you do, don't check valuables like expensive jewelry or your laptop. Don't forget that sponsor proprietary information including protocols and regulatory documents are extremely valuable. If you can't carry all your documents, FedEx them to yourself, but NEVER check them because luggage can get lost.

I try to carry as little paper as possible - if the sponsor doesn't provide you with a pocket sized spiral-bound protocol book, Kinkos or a similar copy center will make you one for less than $50 and you'll be glad to have it plus you can probably get reimbursed for it on your expense report (check with your lead first). Remember that you may need to retrieve copies of documents at the site so bring some kind of inflexible folder so they won't get damaged or bent in transport. Other documents I like to bring electronically or carry with me (good to review on the airplane) include the MV Checklist, study contact list, print-outs from the IVRS, and old monitoring visit reports/pending action item lists. So you can follow the links below to find out more about what is in my bag:

More details and photo notes available at my Flickr page.
Click here for a copy of a printable checklist that helps me pack for monitoring trip. It is in MS Word so you can download it and edit to your specifications. Send me an email if you have any trouble downloading the document and I will forward you a copy.

Please also check out my travel tips section for more info.


Anonymous said...

Hi Nadia,
This is not related, but I just have one ques? how can you give references of present job where u work? I got a call and finally they asked for two manager refereces with work phone number. If I give that , then my present company will get to know that I am looking for new job? Does the previous employer references work? and what if previous employer manager has also changed his job?. Your comments are highly appreciated

Nadia said...

Hi there, I interviewed last year with a company that demanded this same thing. I simply stated that I declined to give references from my current employer as that is against our HR policy and would jeopardize my current position. The HR lady was very aggressive and upset by this and said there was no way I would be hired if I couldn't provide references. I explained that I would gladly provide references from co-workers and managers at previous positions. She got so frustrated that I looked her straight in the face and said, "honestly, you expect me to believe you have never had a candidate decline to provide references from their current employer?" Long story short, I didn't get that job and I called the hiring manager up after the fact to report the problem lady in HR. The HR lady had been there over 8 years, which was a super strong signal to me that ultimately I would not have had a culture fit with that organization.

So in summary, when you decline to give a reference from your current employer, that is completely reasonable! Tell the new employer that, if extended an offer of employment and you accept, you would be happy for them to contact your current employer for a reference check and to verify all previous employment - but explicitly state that they do not have your permission to do so until you accept and sign! In your situation, your previous manager is no longer with the current company so I would contact that person and see if they would give the reference now - easier than refusing like I did. Use your best judgment - I don't know how strong your relationship was with your previous manager. It is a good idea to always want to ask all references to keep your job search in confidence if you are still employed elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much, Your answer gave me some boost. It is actually illogical to ask refereces from present employer...Anyways thanks alot. Your forums are very informative. Good job. keep it up. I read it as soon as they are updated

Anonymous said...

Hi Nadia,
Could you please throw some light on what to do during monitoring visit you find unreported AE/SAE or what if you have problems with study coordinator or waht if your project manager is not so supportive? I am having technical interview next week. Please post your comment. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Where have you been? No post since long?
Can you ellaborate Global Clinical Trial Study? What kind of ques to expect in interview?

Anonymous said...

With so much travel, please provide ideas on what kinds of clothing works best and still allows for a CRA to look professional. I have seen CRAs that look as though they have been to hell and back, but for those of us who want to look polished and professional, can you post appropriate fabrics that pack and wear well and need minimum ironing, etc. Perhaps other CRAs would be open to adding their clothing options to your picture blog so that you can maintain some anonymity. Thank you.! Side note: One CRA told me that she does not wear her "nice clothes" because of the nature of the job. Maybe one should not wear her $300 gabardine suit, but instead opt for the $75 Editor Pant or $29.99 Apt 9 slacks??? Maybe I am over-glamourizing, lol!

Nadia said...

Hi Anonymous, I've filed your topic suggestion away and never got around to posting a full response but you might enjoy this piece I just added about professional dresses to wear to study sites and the office.

TNM said...

Hello Nadia,

What brand is that red tote or where did you purchase it as well as that suitcase on the right. I like them both. Thank you.

Nadia said...

@TNM, the red bag came from Best Buy. I believe it was Liz Claiborne and I always received a ton of compliments on it. I am looking to replace it and found a nice zip tote by Franklin Covey that I think I will pick up (no red though, shame).

The roller bag is by Delsey which is a relatively inexpensive brand available at Macy's. If you can pick it up on a sale and with a coupon it is less than $60. I have used that bag at least every other week for the past four years and recommend it often to others. I love it!

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