Deborah Theisen - Career Spotlight - Clinical Project Coordinator

Deborah Theisen

Tell us about your career.

I’m a Clinical Project Coordinator with Medtronic in the Atrial Fibrillation Solutions (AFS) business unit. My job is to support the active and upcoming AFS clinical research studies. I also manage. real time auditing of the electronic filing system for each study to ensure real time compliance with FDA regulations. Our goal is to always be audit ready. I like managing these details because it’s like a big jigsaw puzzle. I have to take things apart and see if everything is there. If something isn’t there, then I help find it.

This is a relatively new role in this business unit so the job description is a bit open ended. There’s always an expectation that we could be discovering a new way to manage these studies or discovering a better process that needs to be built to help everyone work better.

What do you need to enter and/or be successful this kind of career?

The crazy thing about the biomedical industry is that most people come into it sideways. Whether you are a doctor, lawyer, IT guru or whatever, there’s not one specific path that leads you here.

What is your educational background?

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. Before working at Medtronic, I’d been out of the workforce for a few years freelancing while I raised my family, but always took personal and professional development seriously. I took a few biomedical courses at a local community college when I decided that Medtronic was where I wanted to make a difference.

What do you think youth should do to prepare for a career like this?

You absolutely need project management skills to succeed in the Clinical Project Coordinator role as well as any role within the Medtronic system. Build those skills, get that kind of experience, put your time in and be sure to emphasize it as you network and grow your career.

Do you have any personal reflections on your career?

This is the best job I’ve ever had.  But I wouldn’t have had the opportunity if I hadn’t taken biomedical courses and learned about the industry.  I wouldn’t have gotten here if I hadn’t taken the time to search LinkedIn and try to connect with people who were in the kind of role I wanted to achieve.

The great benefit about the Clinical Project Coordinator is that it doesn’t require a four-year degree; if you can learn the industry and show your passion, you can succeed here.  My work here has actually made me more interested in Quality Control and that might be my next career step.