Quick Facts :
Research Nurse


Bureau of Labor Statistics, Natural Sciences Managers, May 2017.

info-icon Bachelor's
info-icon $118,970 Annual Wage
info-icon 10% Job Growth
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What Is a Research Nurse?

Pharmaceutical and medical research is one major reason why we have advanced so much in the field of medicine within the last century. Research conducted in these areas has helped produce many of the major medications and cures we have today. Without this type of research, many more patients would die from even the mildest illnesses.

Scientists, physicians, specialists, nurses, and other medical professionals are the driving force behind medical research today. Without them, we would not be where we are today.

As a research nurse, you will be at the forefront of new medical discoveries, and help develop breakthrough cures and medical treatments. The work that you do during your career can help some patients live longer or enjoy a better quality of life. You may be responsible for studying diseases and disorders, as well as developing new treatment plans. You will also help test new treatments and medications that could possibly change the way a disease or disorder is perceived.

The field of medical research can be very rewarding and fulfilling. However, you should also be ready to face a great deal of stress and frustration.

First of all, not everyone perceives this type of research as a good thing. Be prepared to face some opposition from certain groups of people. Depending on your employer, you may also find that the work can be rather unsteady in this area. For example, you may find yourself searching for a new job once a research project has ended or funding runs out.

Good research nurses must be very dedicated to their work and ready to take on everything that the profession throws their way. If you’re looking to pursue a research nursing career, you should have an excellent understanding of the research process as well as the specialty area that you’re studying.

Excellent communication skills are also a must. You must be able to effectively communicate with scientists, physicians, researchers, patients, and corporate executives.

What Does a Research Nurse Do?

The exact duties of a research nurse will typically depend on her employer and role. Some research nurses may be responsible for studying diseases, while others may help create and improve new medications and other treatments.

Research nurses that study diseases and illnesses will often perform a great deal of research, both by studying previous findings and observing patients. They may be required to examine medical journals, for instance, as well as observe, study, and care for patients suffering from a particular disease.

Other research nurses may organize, oversee, or assist in clinical trials, often involving new medications or treatment methods. These nurses are often responsible for locating and assessing suitable clinical test subject. to do so, they will often examine patients’ medical histories as well as their physical health. Based on the information that they gather, they will then make a decision as to which patients are the best candidates for certain clinical trials.

During clinical trials, research nurse will administer medications or perform other treatment procedures,. During this process, research nurses must closely monitor each patient’s progress. This includes documenting side effects, drug interactions, and the overall efficiency of the medication.

Aside from caring for patients, documenting and recording information during clinical trials is the most important responsibility that a research nurse has. The information and data gathered during the research must be compiled into reports and handed over to senior researchers or specialists.

Where Do Research Nurses Work?

Qualified research nurses have the option to work in a number of different settings. Possible employers include research organizations, universities, pharmaceutical companies, teaching hospitals, and government agencies.

How Do I Become a Research Nurse?

Don’t expect to become a research nurse overnight. Instead, expect to undergo years of training and accumulate years of experience.

The first step toward becoming a research nurse is to obtain the proper education. You can start with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, although many employers prefer that their research nurses have master’s degrees or even doctoral degrees in their chosen specialty. During your schooling, classes in research and statistics are a must, and are courses in your chosen area of expertise.

The Association of Clinical Research Professionals offer two different certifications for research nurses. You can choose to become a Certified Clinical Research Associate or a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator. To be eligible to take the certification examinations, you must be an experienced registered nurse with thousands of hours of clinical research experience.

Additional Resources for Research Nurses