Taaffe Joins CTRI as Nurse Manager

Nurse Manager Maeve Taaffe at the CCR reception area

Nurse Manager Maeve Taaffe at the CCR reception area

Coordinating the CCR Staff and Helping PIs Run Their Studies from Start to Finish

Mary Maeve Taaffe, RN, has joined the staff at UC San Diego Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) as the Nurse Manager for the Center for Clinical Research (CCR). Taaffe has 25 years of progressive international experience in nursing, nursing management, and clinical research. Taaffe previously worked as a nursing supervisor at UC San Diego Medical Center - Hillcrest.

The CCR Nurse Manager role encompasses a myriad of responsibilities, including administrative, organizational, and supervisory. Taaffe leads a team that includes eight clinical research coordinators, two RNs, two LVNs, a registered dietitian-DEXA technician, a phlebotomist, a cardiac ultrasound technician, and support staff. Clinical research coordinators assist in recruiting and screening study participants, ensuring continuity in data collection, maintaining data, and performing tasks such as obtaining and shipping specimens, and measuring vital signs.

"My role at CTRI is to serve the coordinators and the clinic staff, making sure they have the tools to do their job and making sure the principal investigators are happy," said Taaffe, noting that the CCR staff provides pediatric and adult inpatient and outpatient services at two locations.

Collaborating with faculty leadership, she oversees all clinical trial activities at the CCR. She is responsible for coordinating efforts for 50 active and more than 140 total research studies from both investigator-initiated projects and private sponsors. As the Nurse Manager, she reviews new research studies, interacts with research staff and investigators, assigns staff to projects and locations, and oversees clinic scheduling and use of resources such as personnel, equipment, and clinical space.

"CTRI clinic staff members have the expertise to guide principal investigators from site selection through regulatory approval, and from subject recruitment to study completion," said Taaffe, praising the CCR staff for its flexibility, innovation, and professionalism. "They come up with amazing ideas, and are enthusiastic. I've received so many emails from PIs in the short time I've been here letting me know what a great job the staff is doing."

Taaffe's top priorities include implementing a sophisticated electronic research and clinical trials scheduling system that will enable greater efficiency in the clinic, and developing a research coordinator training program.

Taaffe, a native of Ireland, received a certificate of training at Meath Hospital School of Nursing and a certificate in sciences for nurses from Kevin Street College, Dublin. A desire to expand her nursing and research knowledge led her to the George Washington University (GWU) and Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Naval Hospital in Okinawa, Japan. She held various positions in nursing administration and research in the San Diego area before landing the newly created position at CTRI.

Medical research has intrigued Taaffe since she began her career. "While working at GWU I became involved with early HIV studies. After a year, I moved to the Cardiovascular Research Institute at Washington Hospital Center and worked there for three years as a coordinator," she said. "I'm fascinated by research. I like data. Every time a study comes out I want to find out more about it."