This is my first post here on allnurses. I graduated in 2006 with a BSN. By the time I started my last semester, I knew clinical nursing was not for me. I worked for about six months at a non-nursing position, doing social research on foster care - not the greatest thing. For the last two years, I have been tutoring nursing students, which has been both enjoyable and rewarding (though not steady enough as a source of income). I have thought about pursuing a career in nursing education, but the clinical nursing I would have to do in order to become a professor is just not an option. What do I enjoy is research; I read articles and books about health care policy for fun. However, I have no interest in clinical research. I would love to be an assistant to a researcher who is doing utilization research or something along those lines (I did a little of that as a student). If all I do is literature searches and photocopying, that would be fine.
So, what I am asking is: does anyone have any advice for someone trying to pursue a future in non-clinical research? Any information would be greatly appreciated.
P.S. I have cross-posted this in the "nursing career section."
Have you looked at job listings at universities and large health care institutions? Look for titles like "research associate". Some of these jobs ask for very specific backgrounds, but others will train and it's just a matter of "right-place-right-time" to get a foot in a door. At the very least, you might be able to get an "informational interview" to find out more about what to do to get involved in research in some way.
Have you looked into quality assurance/organizational performance? Health organizations have to keep track of outcomes and adverse events for both regulatory purposes and quality improvement efforts. This involves gathering and analyzing data.
Perhaps see if you can find out more about opportunities in health care administration. Those with BOTH clinical experience AND talent and interest in administration will have an advantage... but MANY people without any clinical experience work in all levels of health care administration. Administrative offices usually are responsible for developing, interpreting and applying both internal and externally-imposed policies.
If you're interested in policy, getting some exposure to day-to-day boardroom politics and institutional beauracracy (sp?) would give some real-world insight to any future pursuits in policy research.
Last edit by jjjoy on Jan 3, '11
Quote from nursing tutor
If all I do is literature searches and photocopying, that would be fine.
Sounds good to me, too! Like you, clinical nursing wasn't my thing and I was much more interested in research. I really enjoyed working as a research assistant but that was for class credit, not for pay. Many professors have student workers do the kind of thing you mention. There *are* full-time research assistants at many universities and that sounds like a great job to me. Unfortunately, getting such positions was tough at my school as they were usually filled by internal applicants or former students of the professor. And employers
are reluctant to hire someone with a nursing license fearing they will quit as soon as a more desirable nursing job comes available.
I scoured job listing for non-clinical that looked interesting and managed to land work in hospital data management and quality assurance. I still get to learn lots of neat stuff about medicine and health care. I'm not getting rich and I don't get much vacation time but I'm (mostly) enjoying my work and I think there are many different ways I could go with it. : )
Last edit by jjjoy on Jan 3, '11