Was a BSN/MSN necessary for your career in research?

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    I am currently weighing the difficult decision of attending a entry level MSN program in order to pursue research. Difficult, simply because of the cost. I have a bit of experience in the field and currently am qualified to be a CRC, as I have sent out my resume to a handful of sites around the bay area and have received call backs. But I changed my mind because I am figuring, why spend 3-7 years climbing the research ladder from CRC > CRA > CRA II-IV > Sr CRA > PM. Ultimately I see myself in some sort of administrative role and not a research nurse for the length of my career. So my question is, for any nurses who read this forum who are employed in a Project Management or Director position in the pharmaceutical field, was it necessary to get your MSN/BSN?


    Although many people hate the idea of money playing such a factor in these types of decisions, I would hate to be indebted pursuing an MSN when I could have achieved the same position without the degree.
    Joe V likes this.
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

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    I struggled with the same question 8 months ago. I asked a friend who had her MSN if it was worth it. She told me that she has the opportunities for advancement she never would have had without the MSN. She also said at our age (42) even if we make an extra 10,000 a year the degree will pay for itself in 3 years, with the potential to work for another 20 years that is 200,000 over the course of our careers. So, yes, for me it was worth it.
    aggiepack177 likes this.
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    ShayRN,

    Thank you for your response. Are you currently in the research field or is it your friend who is currently in the field? I ask because I wonder if you might expand on exactly what type of "advancements" are available outside of research nursing.

    I fear that I am analyzing this whole thing to death and stressing myself out for nothing!
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    Arizona State University has an MS in Clinical Research Management that seems like it would be perfect for what you are looking to do. Since you want to be on the sponsor side of research, this might be a good degree for you. It's a distance learning program as well. Do you already have a bachelor's degree?

    I think you will have to work your way up through at least some of the ranks before you get that PM position you ultimately want. Even if you do have an MS in Clinical Research Management, companies will still want you to do the work that you will someday be in charge of. Most of the PMs I have encountered either have MS or MBA degrees (one had a PhD in nursing), or have been in research for quite a long time.

    Good luck to you!
  7. 0
    Quote from CHESCCRP
    Arizona State University has an MS in Clinical Research Management that seems like it would be perfect for what you are looking to do. Since you want to be on the sponsor side of research, this might be a good degree for you. It's a distance learning program as well. Do you already have a bachelor's degree?

    I think you will have to work your way up through at least some of the ranks before you get that PM position you ultimately want. Even if you do have an MS in Clinical Research Management, companies will still want you to do the work that you will someday be in charge of. Most of the PMs I have encountered either have MS or MBA degrees (one had a PhD in nursing), or have been in research for quite a long time.

    Good luck to you!
    I have read from various forums that a MS in clinical research doesn't always translate to Job security. With the economy the way it is, one of the many factors influencing my choice to pursue the nursing track is the job security. If for some reason I don't like research, I know I have a wide array of options in the health field as a nurse. I would just love to find a nursing program that focuses on clinical research. But I suppose the field is still so young that either fields have yet to catch up.

    I do have a degree in Psych, which is why I am treading cautiously with this decision. I absolutely agree that I'll definitely have to do some ladder climbing, I just hope to cut the climb half.

    Have you ever considered other positions outside of a research nurse? If so, what else is would you be qualified for?

    Thanks so much for the feedback!
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    I was wondering the same thing. I have a degree in a science field, but not nursing. I had debated doing nursing for my first undergraduate degree, but decided against it for some reason. Now when I look at interesting research position posts online there are many that require an RN, and I am regretting that I did not go into nursing to being with. Does having an RN or MSN lead to a better paying research position? aggiepack177, did you find out any more information about climbing that ladder ( ) or needing to go back to school?


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