Change in the way new drugs are developed, including the privatisation of clinical trials, has altered the arrangement and roles of healthcare professions. In this paper I examine one aspect of this change: the role of research coordinators in the conduct of contract research in the United States. My focus on coordinators highlights the ethical conflicts embedded in clinical trials. I describe the ways in which coordinators experience and contend with the conflict between research and care and show how their construction of ethics is distinct from institutional conceptions formally associated with human subjects research. My analysis demonstrates how the coordinators’ focus on ethics is a response to their role conflict and an attempt to reinsert individualised care into the context of research.