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Clinical Research Nursing

Nurses are primarily responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of diverse populations; however, there are different nursing career paths beyond these traditional functions.

What Is A Clinical Research Nurse?

A clinical research nurse (CRN) conducts scientific research within the context of modern medicine. Medical research consists of and involves the study of diseases, and the creation of new treatments or drugs to treat them. Clinical research nurses may contribute to these innovations in various ways. For instance, they might work for universities, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, or private research firms. Clinical research nurses enroll, screen, follow study subjects and then document all of the results. These unconventional nurses will still act in a traditional role, making sure to explain the study, answering questions and addressing all concerns.

Clinical research nurses who obtain certification may be able to teach or write articles involving any research discoveries for professional nursing journals. Clinical research nurses procure funds by requesting for grant money through grant proposals, which makes grant writing an indispensable skill for these nurses. Clinical research nurses contribute research to help people receive better medical care in a more efficient healthcare system with advanced degrees.

What Education and Training Is Needed For Clinical Research Nursing?

Prospective clinical research nurses will need to complete a great deal of nursing education before entering the desired specialty field. All students will need to become a general nurse by enrolling into a traditional LPN program or RN program. The quickest way to accomplish the first step is to complete an associate's degree or any number of accredited vocational nursing programs. An associate degree in nursing (and) or associate of science in nursing ASN) takes roughly two to three years to complete. This initial step to becoming a certified registered nurse will be applied to a four-year bachelor's degree, which may be necessary for most nurse jobs in the research nursing specialty field. Some schools have accelerated BSN programs for prospective research nursing students that have already obtained a degree outside of nursing. The final step to become a certified registered nurse is to pass the NCLEX-RN exam administered by the U.S. State's board of nursing. Many research nurses have obtained a master's or doctoral degree. These higher education degrees will open the road to more clinical research nursing occupations.

There are a couple of pitfalls that some prospective research nurses may encounter, such as the lack of clinical experience for those enrolled in online nursing programs. Online LPN programs or online RN programs may not offer the necessary hands-on training that traditional nursing schools offer that help advance the nursing career of those prospective students. In fact, this lack of clinical experience may limit the amount of nurse jobs offered to online graduates. Therefore, it's imperative for these students to volunteer or enroll into an internship to gain the hands-on training they need to succeed in their specialty field.

Prospective research nursing students can seek out professional organizations associated with this profession to learn more about ins-and-outs of this nursing career. Some of these organizations may offer conferences, social networking, and continuing education classes to help propel students' goals into the right direction. In fact, the National Institute of Nursing Research and the International Association of Clinical Research Nurses are dedicated to educating and training the next generation of nurses to help contribute to medical research.

What Is The Average Salary and Job Outlook For Clinical Research Nursing?

Clinical research nurses typically have a high-paying salary, ranging anywhere between $66,000 to $95,000. Salary varies depending on the employer, geographical location, nurse job duties, and credentials earned by the clinical research nurse. Salary will also increase with advanced nursing education, certification, and clinical research experience. The career outlook for research nurses continues to look promising as medical research continues to advance on an ongoing basis. Research nurses can advance their nursing careers by becoming research assistants or clinical data coordinators. Clinical research nurse jobs become more autonomous with experience and advanced education. Clinical research nurses offer services, such as generating source funds for new and on-going studies, designing new studies and protocols, and presenting each finding to nursing and educational panels, workshops and related venues. This nursing career presents a promising future for those willing to acquire a solid nursing education.

Some clinical research nurses may decide to work in academic settings, such as teaching hospitals or nursing schools, while using their nursing education and expertise to advance medicine as a whole. Clinical research nurses may also work for government agencies or private corporations, which conduct medical research for certain product advancements. Pharmacological and medical device companies may offer the best salary and benefits; however, all medical research settings will give research nurses the chance to meet other experienced and notable researchers and physicians in the health care field.

Clinical research nurses may have a highly demanding job. For instance, it is not uncommon for research nurses to work long hours due to several on-going medical studies that require their attention. Some of these medical studies can be very complex, which may cause the research nurses to remain on-call for patients at all times. Patients and participants with questions, concerns, or emergency medical problems will need to call the research nurse immediately to resolve the problem. This burden may overstress the research nurse if he or she already works hard during their regularly scheduled hours.

Clinical research nursing can be a rewarding nursing career. In fact, many clinical research nurses can establish rich and long-term interpersonal relationships with both patients and colleagues. Monitoring and the progress of an individual's life over the course of a study with follow-ups will build the necessary rapport with the patient to make them feel comfortable while addressing their overall medical problems. Working with established members within the medical research field will give new research nurses the opportunity to gain employment almost anywhere nationwide. This enrichment will grant the prosperity of outer and internal wealth established through hard work by building onto a nursing career one block at a time. Get started with a traditional LPN program or RN program to experience this rewarding nursing career.