Clinical Experience needed for Research Nursing?


Hi. I'm new here. Can someone tell me how much clinical experience is needed prior to becoming a research nurse? I am a 41 year old new grad BSN. I have been working as a Visiting Nurse (Palliative Care) for 3 months but I am not happy with my current job. I think research sounds like a perfect fit but I'm wondering if it would be possible for me at this point. I'm really not happy with the clinical aspect of nursing and would like to get away from it but I feel so limited and I don't want the degree that I worked so hard for to be a waste.

Thanks in advance for any advise.

Rob72, ASN, RN

685 Posts

Specializes in Infectious Disease, Neuro, Research.

I'm not quite sure I know what you mean. If the high patient ratios are a problem, research is probably a good fit, if dealing with people in general is a problem, well... I say this because I've interviewed people who really could not interact well enough to recruit participants, or maintain a relationship with them through a study.

Assuming the latter is not the problem, lack of experience should not be a huge issue, depending on where you apply. Versatility and critical thinking are generally more important than bedside experience, in research.


3 Posts

Specializes in pediatric home health. Has 3 years experience.

I am in the same situation. I graduated in 2009 with a BSN and worked in a state facility for two years. Mainly with MR fragile patients. Do I need to take some courses to get into research nursing field?

Rob72, ASN, RN

685 Posts

Specializes in Infectious Disease, Neuro, Research.

No, you can start as a Coordinator/Research RN, doing the same ol' patient assessments and learning a slightly different documentation format. If you want to "move up", particularly with a pharmaceutical company or University, being more than passingly familiar with stats would be to your advantage, but below Study Manager, or writing a research protocol, the general need for that is pretty rare.

After 2 years on the job, you can sit for the Certified Clinical Research Professional exam, ans be CCRP certified through SoCRA. There is another organization, whose acronym I can't remember, offers a similarly recognized cert.


71 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac intermediate care.

The other organization is ACRP. With SoCRA, you don't have to be a coordinator for two years to be certified - sufficient hours of research experience is all you need. I used some of my regulatory coordinator experience toward qualifying for the test when I was certified.

In my experience, you don't need any clinical experience to be a research coordinator. I was one for 4 years, and I am barely starting nursing school.

Different companies will require different levels of experience based on the protocols that they conduct. In my area, there seems to be more funding for hospital studies or oncology, which require an RN license. Hence, my return to school...

You can also try to be a clinical research associate with a pharmaceutical company or clinical research organization, but that involves no patient care.