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Do you work independently? How you spend you time every day?

Research   (4,164 Views 2 Comments)
by whomi7 whomi7 (New Member) New Member

whomi7 specializes in med-surg.

1,104 Profile Views; 14 Posts

Hi. I'm a RN on med-surg floor. Research sounds really exciting!!. Do you work independently? My understanding is that you see patients and follow up their labs and stuff. Is this independent job? I like working alone but that doen't mean I don't like to talk to patients. In fact, I am kind of tied of dealing with people(family, doctors, and some times patients).

Could somebody tell me how you spend your time every day and whom you talk to? Thank you.

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Wren specializes in Oncology, Hospice, Research.

201 Posts; 3,591 Profile Views


Where to start? I work in research and have for over 7 years in several different jobs and you will find that research nursing varies tremendously depending on what kind of research you are involved with and the setting. Research nurses may start with a research protocol which can be 100 pages of densely packed, scientific information and you may have to interpret and create data capture forms, labels, lab instructions, teaching documents, etc. I do this in my current job and it can be intimidating. I spent much of my day today reading several protocols in preparation for a meeting tomorrow where we will determine if my facility can implement the protocol.

Most research nurses though are involved in assessing a patient and his/her medical history to determine if they "fit" the inclusion and exclusion criteria for a particular study. This can be very time intensive as one of my studies now requires a bone marrow biopsy, MUGA, CT scan, multiple labs and chemistries, physical exams and this is just to determine if they qualify for a study! Most of us meet with the patient/family and either get informed consent for the study or at a minimum do a great deal of teaching. I attend clinics when "my" patients are being seen and do monitor labs, meds, responses, adverse effects, etc. Again depending on the study, I've had minimal interaction with patients and on others, very involved relationships. My current job enrolls very sick patients in crisis and it is draining to be constantly with people who view the research being offered as their last hope. Especially when it doesn't work for them or they can't go on the trial. :o Not unlike what nurses in critical care units face but something you might not expect in research. I've also worked though on studies where I felt like Santa Claus because I helped people get additional health care that they normally wouldn't. Totally depends on the job.

Research involves great attention to detail and it is best to be someone who is absolutely picky about getting everything right. Doing paperwork is a big part of this job. Data can be discarded and not used if you forget some apparently small item and that annoys the heck out of the doctors and sponsors you are working with!:smackingf My nature is to be obsessively organized, neat and even somewhat compulsive and I find many research nurses are the same way. Probably not all but it helps. :lol2:

I do work very independently to the extent that I determine what needs to be done on any given day but that is guided of course by patient appointments, protocol review meetings, calls and teleconferences with sponsors, etc. I think it is necessary to be able to motivate yourself because you may not have anyone to provide direction to you.

I've rambled on more than I intended but to try to summarize: research involves a clinical roadmap...which can be very complex or fairly simple and you determine if the potential patient meets all of the "rules". You help get them on the study, follow them and collect or somehow manage the data while they are on the study and do a TON of paperwork!

I've made this sound like a difficult job but I actually enjoy it a lot and find it very rewarding. There a lot of opportunities out there and trust me, they are NOT all created equal so ask a lot of questions and try to get a job description. Ideally you'd meet also with someone doing research where you are wanting to work and you can ask questions about how they actually spend their days. Good luck with whatever you choose.

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