There are a variety of roles and pathways for nurses in clinical research- and you will find as many "job titles" being used out there. In fact, the advanced practice scope of study coordinating is expanding and jobs are expanding. I'll share my "path"
1. BS- Art Education- taught art for years at elementary and high school level and continue to practice as an artist- painter.
2. BSN later - to make a living! Worked as a CCU nurse
3. Recruited to be a STUDY NURSE for an NIH study.
4. Left institution to start my own Site Management ORganization- offering coordinator services to non-academic study PIs (doing clinical trials).
5. Returned to University- as a STUDY COORDINATOR and database manager
6. Advanced to a STUDY COORDINATOR in a different division with opportunities to be a "SUBPROJECT COORDINATOR" for an NIH Coordinating Center- over time- increased my salary - worked with NIH, Study Groups and Multiple Sites, did some monitoring at the sites and did some internal data monitoring for Data Safety Monitoring Boards.
7. Advanced to "ADMINISTRATOR" of the NIH Coordinating Center - managing study development, site selection, monitoring, contracting with monitors, developing PI meetings, account management ($13 million grant).
9. Recruited to develop a Department of Research at a large Private Practice group (13 MDs)- hiring several research employees. Job title "DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH"
10. Worked as a consultant for University School of Nursing- developing a Clinical Research Management Program for distance learning for International Study Coordinators- through a grant. Published multiple articles.
11. Hired to be an Academic Instructor at the University School of Nursing to develop and teach courses - in the Clinical Research Management Certificate and MSN Program.
12. Expanding activities to include committee membership in several professional organizations helping to solidify the role of Specialty Scope of Practice for research nurses.
I do want to say this- some coordinators feel that the natural progression is from study coordinating to monitoring for industry (pharmaceutical or contract research organization). (If you like to travel). However, that is not the only progression. It depends on your personal professional goals. Seek mentoring to help you determine your natural leanings. Seek academic education in clinical research- that is now available to you- it wasn't for me, which is why I obtained an MSPH in Epidemiology at a School of Public Health. Now you can get an MSN (and even a DNP in clinical research).
GO RESEARCH NURSES!