Scottish naval surgeon James Lind is traditionally credited with performing the first ever, prospective controlled trial in May 1747 in his efforts to find a treatment for scurvy. In commemoration, each May a variety of celebrations spotlight the importance of clinical trials, a key stage in translating basic discovery science to health improvements in the community.
May 1-7, 2017, was designated Clinical Trials Awareness Week by the Coalition for Clinical Trials Awareness, while May 20 is Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) Clinical Trials Day, and International Clinical Trials Day.
Against this backdrop, May 2017 also marks the 30th anniversary of the UW Clinical Research Unit (CRU), formerly known as the General Clinical Research Unit (GCRC). The CRU became part of ICTR with our Institute’s founding in 2007.
The CRU is a 24/7 hospital unit embedded within the UW Hospital and Clinics serving both investigator-initiated and industry studies. Currently, this research unit annually supports 75 active research projects, accommodating >300 inpatient stays, 3,300 outpatient visits, and processing 30,000 research samples.
CRU nursing staff are highly trained research nurses, with certifications in advanced cardiac life support and chemotherapy, and include a clinical nurse specialist, an advanced practice position facilitating the highest quality and safe care of patients in research studies and clinical trials.
On May 19, the CRU nursing staff marked their anniversary with a party and all-unit open house. An extra incentive to celebrate was the receipt of a 2017 UW Health Nursing Excellence Award for Leadership and Advanced Practice by CRU Nurse Manager Mary Jane Williams, DNP, MPH, RN.
Williams is a local, national, and international leader in research nursing. In 2009, she and six colleagues founded The International Association of Clinical Research Nurses (IACRN) that has grown to a current membership that includes 11 countries worldwide. She also co-authored the first Scope and Standards of Practice for Clinical Research Nursing. Williams will travel to London in June to attend the International Nurses Day Meeting for Clinical Research Nurses in her role as president elect of IACRN and chair of its Scope and Standards committee.