CRA Superhero

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The CRA Superhero
uses her special powers
to ensure patient safety
tirelessly defending the integrity of all data
governed by GCP
and fueled by espresso and sugar

leaping over towers of CRFs
cleaning up oceans of data
helping all the poor, tired, and defenseless study coordinators
to click click click
and solve all the queries

brave, fast, and smart (never omitting an oxford comma)
while you rest
she continues on

a one woman wonder

a CRA Superhero’s work is never done


CRA Superhero

Are you a CRA Superhero?

I get asked all the time, “how does it feel to be a CRA Superhero?”  OK, so that is total malarkey, nobody has ever called me a superhero.  I can tell you honestly though that it often feels a bit bitter, exhausting, and hopeless.

I’ve made myself a superhero by going full speed ahead, never turning down a challenge, and applying myself with optimism and high-energy to everything I do.

You know who asked me to be a dedicated CRA Superhero?  Nobody, actually.  I asked it of myself.

Steps you can take to become a CRA Superhero

Being a CRA Superhero is possible for even an average CRA.  You just follow the steps below.

  1. Stop going to professional networking events (you have the perfect job. You are a CRA Superhero. You can’t be expected to save the world one CRF at a time AND stay connected to others).
  2. Work late into the evening and weekends, too (your friends and family will understand. You are a CRA Superhero doing very important work. Don’t give up.)
  3. Never. Ask. For. Help. (This will be seen as weakness.  Villains will exploit your weaknesses and use them against you. Be careful out there young CRA Superhero!)

Try this out. Then rinse and repeat. For years.

Nadia, founder and Chief Experience Officer -ClinOps Toolkit Community

Nadia, founder and Chief Experience Officer -ClinOps Toolkit Community

Superhero Slinks Away

I ran out of steam last year. I was over-stressed, desperate for help, and had to come to terms with real (and ordinary) limitations.  I have a wonderful team at work and they showed me that I don’t actually have to do it all. All by myself.

I don’t need to be a CRA Superhero, I just need to get the trial work done with the least amount of theatrics and explosions possible.  My team supports me in that.

Team Transformation

As a regional CRA, I worked for years as an Individual Contributor; I only had a virtual team.  Now I get to drive my superhero car to an office everyday but I don’t wear the cape (hot tip: you can really only wear a CRA Superhero cape when you work from home).

I hold myself to a high standard, but having a team to rely on at work has shown me how truly unnecessary and short-sighted it was for me to ever aspire to be a CRA Superhero.

No More Alone Time

Going for it alone is like trying to swim across an ocean.  You spend a lot of energy and you don’t really get anywhere.

I am fully embracing the chance to work on a team.  Every superhero needs a sidekick (or a group of sidekicks!).

I work with brilliant people. Leaning on my team makes me more productive.  It helps me be more accountable, effective, and happier.

things work better with a team

Photo credit: Pawsitively Marvelous Dog Walking -San Francisco

Steps you can take to find a team you can trust

Nothing has helped me appreciate the Importance of a team more than learning how to actually ask for help.  Asking for help requires a few not so easy steps:

  1. Being realistic about your capacity (drop the ego.)
  2. Admitting you can’t do it all (It is ok to be human and have limits.)
  3. Actually asking for help (Be specific.)

ClinOps Toolkit Team

In the next few weeks, I will be introducing the ClinOps Toolkit Collective.  We have a growing community of advisors and volunteers steering the direction of ClinOps Toolkit.  If you want to learn the secret handshake and join our private community, just send a note to [email protected] – we are always open to welcoming new members to our Elite Squad.

So stay tuned next week for another exciting chapter of the CRA Superhero Chronicles.  Until then, I am taking the weekend (and my spandex tights) off!

About The Author


Nadia Bracken, lead contributor to the Lead CRA blog and the ClinOps Toolkit blog, is a Clinical Program Manager in the San Francisco Bay Area.


  • Nicole

    May 12, 2015

    Great article Nadia!

  • Laurie

    May 9, 2015

    You had me at Oxford comma.

  • Lorraine Mercer


    May 8, 2015

    Great article. I agree trying to “do it all” causes burnout. Working with a team can be very supportive and certainly eases the burden. In nursing, teamwork is essential. We know each other’s strengths and plan assignments accordingly. You may have difficulty being a Super CRA, but a Super Team is very possible.

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