Your induction questions answered – a word from Melanie

4 min to read

My name is Melanie and I am an Induction Coordinator within the Volunteer Empanelment team. I have been at Quotient for over 5 years now, having previously worked in the pharmaceutical industry. At my previous employer, I gained experience in manufacturing for clinical studies and analytical development. My current role however requires what I love the most – interaction with people.

As an Induction Coordinator, I am here to lead new volunteer inductions; introduce them to Quotient and to show them around our clinical facility. My job is to reassure volunteers and answer all their questions. As I have taken part in clinical trials before I joined Quotient, I can offer reassurance and advice from my own personal perspective as well as professionally.

I always encourage everyone who is considering taking part in clinical trials with us to attend the induction session. The information we share with you will help you to understand our processes and select the best clinical study for you. The specific requirements to participate in a study vary between studies, and after your induction session we will be able to match you with a study that suits you the most. We will also explain what is involved in a screening appointment so you know what to expect.

The induction is a group session, followed by a one-to-one appointment with myself or other member of the team. If you would rather not ask any questions in front of the whole group, you will still get the chance to privately, so don’t ever hold back in asking questions.

Not everybody who joins our induction session knows about clinical research and phases of drug development. As I have a genuine interest in this area, I love sharing my knowledge and motivating others to help advance medicine of the future. Some of the most common questions I get asked are:

Melanie in our office at Quotient, Nottingham

Is there a gym at the clinic?

We don’t have a gym at the clinic, you won’t be allowed to do any heavy exercises whilst on a study as excessive physical activity might change your blood results. Exercise, nicotine, caffeine, protein shakes and certain foods can all influence the test results so we always aim to exclude these. All we need you to do is relax, either on your own or with others in one of our lounges. We have Volunteer Liaison officers who arrange activities and quizzes during your time with us. We also have Sky TV, Xboxes and a pool table as well as many other games and books to keep you occupied so you’ll have plenty to do while you’re here unless you want to spend some quiet time relaxing in which case we have areas you can do this also.

Is the inconvenience allowance (study payment) Tax and NI free?

Yes. As many of our volunteers are self-employed we get asked this question a lot. The payment you will receive from taking part in a clinical study with us is not taxable although you should inform your benefits officer if you are in receipt of these just in case they are affected. Depending on your personal circumstances, part of this payment may be taxable if it exceeds the allowance threshold set by HMRC. Participants are reminded that they are responsible for their own tax affairs. This information is also confirmed in the information pack you will receive.

What are the side effects of taking part in a study?

All medicines can potentially have side effects – even those that are already available on the market but the majority of our volunteers do not feel ill during their study; and volunteers are informed of any known or expected side effects prior to participating in a study. We have doctors on site so you are in safe hands at all times.

Am I allowed visitors?

Even though visitors are not allowed, you can get your friends or family to take part in the same study if they are also eligible. We do have couples or friends participating in a study together. We also have great WiFi access so you can Facetime or Skype your family and friends. You can also receive a payment for recommending your friends or relatives to us.

What's the food like?

We often get praised on the quality of the food in our clinic. It is freshly cooked in our on-site kitchen by the catering team. You can see some of the pictures that our volunteers took of their dinners on our Instagram page (@WeNeedYouTrials). Remember, that this is a clinical study though so the food you’ll receive will be adjusted to the type of a trial you’re taking part in and therefore can differ to what other volunteers get depending on the type of medicine you are taking. Join me for an induction and I will show you our kitchen’s menu. During the induction session, there are lots of opportunities to ask more questions and everything is dealt with in a private, professional and confidential manner. If your question needs medical expertise, we have doctors and nurses available to provide their advice. There is also opportunity to talk to other volunteers during your clinic tour to see what their experiences are. Remember, there is no obligation for you to participate in a trial after you come in for an induction. This is your chance to get to know us and decide whether you are interested in taking part.

To check your eligibility and apply for a clinical study with us click here.

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