Mary Cole, Senior Program Manager, Functional Service Solutions, Advanced Clinical
Mary Cole is a Senior Program Manager with the Functional Service Solutions division at Advanced Clinical. Mary has 15 years of strategic experience in the pharmaceutical & CRO industries with expertise in talent acquisition, project management as well as building and managing efficient FSP models. Mary is passionate about providing superior customized and flexible solutions to clients who face challenges with clinical research resourcing, management and quality project delivery.
Unprecedented growth in the healthcare industry has led to increased competition amongst companies to hire the most talented employees. This competition has put job candidates in a powerful position. With so many job openings, healthcare professionals can be selective about who they work for, the roles they accept, and how they direct their career progression. Smart candidates are using this opportunity to find the ideal jobs that will give them security, a good salary and ample opportunities to build new skills for a more successful long-term career.
For many of these candidates, joining an FSP meets these criteria.
Why work for an FSP?
A functional service provider (FSPs) is an outsourced workforce model that deploys teams of healthcare professionals to work on projects for pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies. These teams are fully dedicated to that sponsor for the duration of the project, where they can hold a variety of roles, ranging from clinical trial management and clinical monitoring, to data management, biostatistics, programming, medical writing, pharmacovigilance and more. The FSP provider hires, trains and employs the talent, but the talent function as a member of the sponsor’s team.
For candidates, an FSP offers the security of a long-term position, with the flexibility of contract work and potentially, the ability to work remotely
FSP talent receive full salaries and benefits from the FSP provider, including paid time off, career development opportunities and annual merit increases, just as if they were a traditional full-time employee. However, they get the chance to work with a variety of clients, project types and specialty areas.
“You get to work directly with the sponsor and for the sponsor,” said one of our Global FSP employees based in Eastern Europe. “That helps me gain an early understanding of the processes, which leads to a better performance in a timely manner.”
She noted that working as an FSP has given her the opportunity to focus on oncology studies, which is one of her career goals. She’s also been able to take responsibility for more complex tasks, such as Serious Adverse Events Reconciliation, Lab Normal Management Reconciliation and quality control for studies that are nearing completion and database finalization.
And because FSPs aren’t regulated by co-employment rules an FSP worker can stay with the same project for years if they chose. “Most contracts are a maximum of two years and then you have to start the search for a new position,” said one of Advanced Clinical’s FSP Clinical Trial Managers (CTM). “One of the advantages of working as an FSP is having an open-ended contract.”
This allows them to build connections and to feel invested in the outcomes of a trial, rather than hopping from assignment to assignment. And because they are not employed directly by the sponsor, they can tailor their level of engagement in the day-to-day activities to their preference.
“As an FSP you feel a part of the company without having to meet the some of the requirements of a full-time employee,” said our CTM. “There can be more flexibility with office and work-from-home time.”
Build your own career ladder
This employment model also gives individuals greater control over their career path. Many FSP workers seek out certain treatment areas, like women’s health or oncology, in order to gain specific expertise early in their career and make the most of every assignment. On these projects they get full access to the sponsor and CRO and learn about every critical task across the entire trial workflow. This level of access helps them to build their networks and identify the roles and tasks that they prefer to do. It can be a catalyst for career planning and prevent workers from assignments in roles or projects that don’t align with their goals or skill sets.
“I recommend any potential candidate seize an FSP opportunity,” said our FSP employee in Eastern Europe. “Nothing compares to working for a single sponsor in terms of processes, accommodation, workload, communication and work environment.”
Advanced Clinical can build and deliver our services through an FSP model which supports bot our clients as well as professionals across the industry. Candidates interested in an FSP position can find job postings and more information on Advanced Clinical’s website. We are currently have open positions in biometrics, clinical operations, medical services, preclinical roles, quality, regulatory and drug safety, and new positions are coming available every day. Contact us today to learn more!