What is a Research Nurse?
Research nurses are also known as nurse researchers, they analyze data, implement scientific studies and help find answers to questions in the medical field. They report the information they find to the doctors, nurses and other medical academics.
This medical field requires you to have an advanced degree along with some training in the method of research. Research nurses are known to develop new life saving medical treatment that saves lives. It is because the research carried out by the research nurses that we have advanced in the field of medicine.
The research conducted by these nurses have helped in evolving the medicines and these research have saved the lives of many patients who would otherwise have died of the mildest diseases. You will have to study various diseases and disorders in order to research in the area. You will have to work on your communication skills in order to communicate with the doctors, patients, and scientists.
The duties of a research nurse depend mostly on the employer and the role of the nurse, some of the duties include studying disorders and diseases in order to develop a treatment plan. They have other duties like organizing, assisting and overseeing the patients. They check the medical history and the physical health of the patients and prepare the patients for clinical trials. During these trials, the nurse administers medication and documents the results of the procedure.
The main duty of the research nurse is to record the patient’s vitals and the information gathered during the clinical procedure for further studies.
How to Become a Clinical Research Nurse?
In order to become a successful Clinical Research Nurse, you will need to do the following –
1. Obtain a BSN Degree
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing helps you to form the foundation for your career as a clinical research professional. There are many schools in the US that offers this degree. Search through the internet and you will come across many schools and institutions that offer this degree course.
2. Get Licensed
The SoCRA offers a nursing program that once passed you will be able to get your licensure. The exam is National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse or (NCLEX – RN). You will have to register for this exam through your state’s nursing board.
3. Get Certified
The SoCRA provides a voluntary Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP) qualification. This is only applied to the clinical research nurses. Those who have a nursing degree can take the exam after working for two years and gaining clinical experience.
4. Get Experienced
You will have gain some experience in the field to work as a clinical research nurse. In some cases, you will have to gain experience in a particular specialty like oncology. There are some nursing homes and hospitals that offer an internship in order to teach the technicalities of the field. You can join these internship programs to gain some experience in the field.
5. Find a Job
You will be able to find a job easily after getting the BSN degree and after earning some experience in the field. Find a job in a research facility, hospital, pharmaceutical company or a government agency.
6. Maintain Your Licensure
Renew your licensure periodically in order to maintain your licensure. The CCRP credential will need you to renew your licensure every three years.
Educational Requirements for Becoming a Research Nurse
You can’t become a research nurse in a day, you will have to undergo a lot of training and you will need some experience in the field in order to become a research nurse.
There are two different certifications, the Association of Clinical Research Professionals offer. You can either choose Certified Clinical Research Coordinator or become a Certified Clinical Research Associate. In order to be eligible, you will have to take up the certification exams. You will also have to be a registered nurse with many hours of experience in clinical research.
So, the main requirements for becoming a research nurse is to get good scores in school, earn a bachelor’s degree, then earn a master’s degree (MSN) and earn a Ph.D. degree. You will have to be a registered nurse as well.
Most often we see that the research nurses start their career as research assistants and as clinical research coordinators.
The qualifications required for becoming a research nurse are listed below –
- MSN degree
- Experience in conducting research
- Attention to details
- Strong communication skills
- RN license
Other than the higher nursing degrees like MSN and Ph.D. you will not have to earn any other certification to become a research nurse. To be eligible for this certification you will have to earn a minimum of two years of experience working in the field of clinical research.
The Association of Clinical Research professionals also provides various other certifications in clinical research which includes the clinical research coordinator certification, the clinical research associate certification, and the association of clinical research professionals. All these certifications differ from each other and have various eligibility requirements.
Research Nurse Certification
The SoCRA certification program the research nurses end with the CCRP (Certified Clinical Research Professional) certification. As per SoCRA (Society of Clinical Research Associates), the clinical research professionals are those who are involved in any of the following –
- Information collection
- Recruitment of participants
- Case management
- Protecting the participant’s rights
- Maintaining and recording drug accountability
- Report preparations
- Research program audit
- Administering program
- Education of the other healthcare professionals
- Recording data
In order to be qualified to give the CCRP certification examination, one must be the member of SoCRA. The candidate should work within the Good Clinical Practices guidelines and should meet any of the three criteria outlined below –
- Finish at least two years of employment as a clinical research professional.
- Get an associate’s degree in nursing, an undergraduate degree in clinical research and complete at least one year of full- time work as a clinical research professional.
- Get a certificate of either graduate or undergraduate in clinical research and hold an associate’s or bachelor degree in health science, science or pharmacology etc. along with at least one year of work experience as a clinical research professional.
Research Nurse Job Description
Research nurses are known to assist and direct various types of the clinical research project, where the patients act as their subjects. The primary job of these nurses is to protect the rights of the patient and take good care of the patients. Research nurses have to perform the following duties –
- Record and compile clinical date
- Enter information into the database
- Recruit subjects for studies
- Assess the collected data
- Collaborate with statistical consultants and investigators
- Provide assistance during surgical procedures
- Review the collected data
Being a research nurse one should also possess knowledge of the scientific terms and medical jargons. The candidate should possess strong interpersonal skills. You should be able to interpret medical data, should be able to maintain confidentiality and be comfortable in working with infectious materials. The nurses will have to get immunized before working on communicable diseases.
How Much Do Research Nurses Make
As per Payscale, the pay for a Clinical Research Nurse increases with experience. Based on 159 salaries offered by anonymous users an entry level research nurse who has less than 5 years of experience earns around $63,000. This includes tips overtime pay and bonus. Whereas, based on 81 salaries a Research Nurse with 5 to 10 years of experience can expect to earn around $70,000. Based on 73 salaries an experienced research nurse with 10 to 20 years of experience can earn an average of $71,000 and Clinical Research nurses with more than 20 years of experience can earn an average of around $79,000 based on 36 salaries.
Research Nurse Salary Description
|Experience||Entry Level (Less than 5 years)||Mid-Career (5- 10 years)||Experienced (10 -20 Years)||Late-Career (Above 20 Years)|
Now that you have learned all about the job of research nurses, you will be able to understand better if the job is for you or not. The job of a research nurse can be quite daunting. You will have to be on your feet at all times. You will have to research about various illnesses and diseases. There are so many diseases that have no cure, you will be able to find solutions to these diseases and this will help you work with some of the best people in the field. If you have been wondering about this career choice all this while, then you should give this thought. The job of a research nurse can be quite satisfying.
The Society of Clinical Research Associates (SoCRA) conducted a salary survey and came out with the following results – The median salaries of the various medical professionals are listed below –
- Clinical research associates – $78,579
- Project managers – $70,698
- Research Nurses – $63,846
- Research Managers – $75,368
Now that you have learned all about the job of research nurses, you will be able to understand better if the job is for you or not. The job of a research nurse can be quite daunting. You will have to be on your feet at all times. You will have to research about various illnesses and diseases.
There are so many diseases that have no cure, you will be able to find solutions to these diseases and this will help you work with some of the best people in the field. If you have been wondering about this career choice all this while, then you should give this thought. The job of a research nurse can be quite satisfying.
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