Obviously, NJ is going to be quite a bit different than OK, but with the following info in mind...
In OK, a 2,200 sq ft split level brick home, 3br, 1.5 bth, 2 car garage, on just under 1 acre, in the city, is assessed at $140K, with property taxes being about 10%/year, and gas running $2.99-3.07/gallon, research nurses starting range is $35-45K/annum, more possible with experience. It does depend on who you work for, is it overhead salary or grant-dependant or hourly, etc..
I would expect you to be doing pt. assessments, basic nursing tasks (IVs, blood draws, rating scales) and documentation. The RA (Research Assistant) will be doing paperwork related to maintaining the study- filings with the IRB, invoicing(possibly), maybe even filling out the majority of the CRFs (Case Report Forms). The CRFs are the "official" study documents, which will carry over your VS, lab documentation and assessment info.
Advancement depends on what you want to do/learn. If you learn the documentation (IRB processes, negotiating budgets with the sponsors, etc..), if you have your BSN, and if you obtain professional certification ( through SOCRA http://www.socra.org/
or whatever the other group is) after 2 years on the job, you may be able to apply to a research office (group running studies for a variety of sponsors and physcians), or to a pharmaceutical/med device company as a Monitor and eventually a Project Manager. If you do well, are willing to travel, and choose your employer(s) wisely, it is possible to make a comfortable 6 figures. Certainly, not many do quite that
well, but it is possible.
We had a monitor, for a few years, who wore Gucci suits and rented the "current" Beemer to scoot around Oklahoma City, on his monthly visits.
Single, ambitious, so able to do what he wanted, in addition to being smart with his money. Even more disgusting, he was a genuinely nice guy...
I will say, be veeeerrry careful. They should offer you GCP (Good Clinical Practice) and HRPP (Human Research Participant Protection) training of some kind. Our site uses CITI ( https://www.citiprogram.org/Default.asp
? ) for a base. You must
be aware of the practice standards in research. Cutting corners (that includes not keeping up with paperwork) can result in being barred from practice in research, and ugly fines- then
you may hear from the BON. Most docs are good, decent people, but those who try to runs studies as a profit base get people in trouble.