What’s not to like?

4 min to read

Maura is currently participating in her third clinical trial at Quotient

Hi, I’m Maura, 55 years old with a grown up family. I worked as a full time teacher for most of my career until I was made redundant a few years ago. When I tried supply teaching instead of applying for another full time job, I found it much more user friendly so decided to get myself some part time jobs to fill the financial breach which does give me flexibility but not the financial security to make the most of the time off I could take. Then a friend recommended to do a clinical trial with Quotient and hey presto I now can take more time off without the financial pressure.

If you are contemplating doing a clinical trial and have come across Quotient Sciences for the first time or just want to find out what it’s all about, then the best thing to do is to make yourself an appointment and get yourself down to look at the facility and hear what they say. The staff at Quotient are transparent about the pros and cons at the outset and they are all lovely at every level.

With the right mind-set (the inconvenience allowance makes that a lot easier), in a group where your fellow volunteers have an array of social skills, I would challenge anyone not to enjoy the experience.

Despite the reactions of some of the people I’ve talked to about it, I feel strongly that it’s a good thing to do for myriad reasons. Who wouldn’t enjoy a boost to their finances? Who hasn’t had or doesn’t have a family member who benefits from medication? Who doesn’t know or hasn’t heard of someone who suffers from a condition that researchers are still battling to find ever more effective remedies for? Who can say that they are not going to benefit from medicine in the future?

In taking part in a trial you will be financially reimbursed for making a small contribution to the development of future medications. As an often unconsidered aside, you will get a heads up as to the state of your health through the screening procedures for the specific trials you apply for. You will have to sacrifice some lifestyle choices temporarily, whether that’s coffee, tea, alcohol, chocolate or some other restricted items, but just for a limited time. It’s also good to know that you can have them again and you’ll appreciate them more after the trial is completed.

If your concern is that you might be endangering your own health by allowing yourself to be tested on then you’ll be pleased to find the chances of that happening are reassuringly miniscule, with measured and isolated doses followed by days of copious monitoring. Also you choose which trials you’d like to participate in, you don’t have to do it. We’re hopefully making an incremental contribution to the progress of particular treatments.

I am currently participating in my third trial and I haven’t had an off-putting experience yet. Although with one failed screening due to the specific requirements of the trial and volunteers being sent home for not having followed restrictions prior to admission, I would have to caution you not to “count your chickens before they hatch” with regard to financial expectations.

Mostly, I look forward to upcoming studies as a paid rest if not a holiday. It’s a fantastic personal opportunity to get up to date with yourself. You can do all those written or computer based tasks you’ve not had time for and if you work from home via computer, it’s perfect. I tend to think of it as a weird combination of a holiday-boot camp-retreat. Meals come on a tray and are a few notches up from canteen food but the plus is definitely no domestic chores for the duration.

You do have to lose some of the control you have in your life and fit into a more communal and mostly indoor routine. With the people you befriend, chat to or just observe, being a cross section of life's rich tapestry, there is much enjoyment and entertainment to be had. And if you prefer more solitary pursuits you can stay in bed and be in your own cocoon, avoid the lounges when others are there and get away with being pretty antisocial if that’s what you prefer.

If you like meeting people and enjoy company it’s fun; a group camaraderie soon develops as you are thrown together into the thick of it. From bloods, dosing and ECGs to bingo, jigsaws and quizzes.

I just wish someone had introduced me to clinical trials sooner. Definitely an experience I’d put on my bucket list. And if you don’t enjoy it, at least your bank account will be happier! And when you’re enjoying that extra holiday, making that home improvement, getting rid of debts or whatever you fancy doing with your inconvenience allowance, you’ll probably look back more fondly and contemplate doing another.

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