Questions for clinical research RNs

  1. Hi everyone!

    I have just interviewed for a position as a Clinical Research RN and have so many questions! First, my background is 5 years of oncology nursing (1 year adults, 4 years pediatrics). Bedside nursing is not bringing me the same joy that it used to but I still want to pursue oncology nursing - I then found this position for a clinical research RN working for a cancer center.

    During my interview, the hiring manager described the position as this:
    - independently working RN for a health system that has 4 hospitals. I would be one of the 4 RNs that are at each site
    - In the mornings, I receive fax updates of all patient pathology reports and comb through them to see if any of them qualify for the clinical trials we are running
    - some of my days would be a lot of data entry/computer based to keep up with the monitoring of patients already on trial
    - she said if i got TWO patients to sign up a month then that is great (i thought this sounded very low but correct me if i'm wrong)
    - she stated that I will also seek patients out when they come to clinic/I would follow up with them in clinic once they are on trial but most patient contact would be outpatient appointments

    The one thing that made me nervous is that she stated that their health system is grant funded and the funding is due for renewal this August. She stated that they renew every 5 years. I asked if this meant that there wasn't great job security and she assured me that they never have issues getting the renewal and that the other nurses that have been there have been working for the health system for 10 years or longer. Do the sites you work at have the same situation where they are grant funded?

    The salary being offered is >10k more than what I am making as a bedside nurse, and that is including doing night shift plus lots of incentive shifts. The money alone sounds enticing but I am a little nervous about leaving bedside and losing my skills.

    Is anyone on here a clinical research nurse and has more to offer on your role? Are you happy as a clinical research RN? Do you ever feel bored or do you miss bedside?

    Thanks for taking the time to read!
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    About RNwithquestions12

    Joined: Jun '18; Posts: 2
    from PA , US


  3. by   dianah
    Moved to Research Nursing forum; I hope some of our wise and experienced members will be able to answer your questions.
    Congratulations on the position offer!
  4. by   microkate
    I've been a clinical research nurse (oncology as well) for just over 2 years, and I love it. Don't get me wrong - there's still frustration, occasional boredom, sometimes going from bored to frantic very quickly. I don't miss 12 hour shifts at the bedside! I have a huge amount of autonomy in my day-to-day work, and a great collaborative relationship with our providers. Some of our studies follow up for 10 years, so you still get to develop a good rapport with patients.

    During a typical week I will screen about a hundred patients (some are super quick, some take a lot of time), attend 1-2 tumor conferences, attend 2-3 patient visits (make sure the doctor documents the necessary assessments, collect questionnaires, maybe collect labs, process the blood & ship it out, then complete data entry for the visit), enroll 2 patients on an easy radiology study, and spend a lot of time tracking patients through our EMR and phone calls. On top of that there are webinars/training/reading for new studies or study updates, audits, and other admin-type tasks. Sometimes I have to help patients with insurance, appointment, or transportation issues.

    I do feel like I've lost a lot of my "bedside" skills, but honestly, I could pick those up again pretty quickly if I needed to. I draw blood for labs, but that's about it. I do a lot of focused assessments & medical history review, but I don't do full head to toe assessments anymore. Sometimes I do neurocognitive testing or other specialty assessments. I also feel like I have learned SO much about disease progression and treatment compared to bedside nursing.

    My site isn't grant funded, but with research there is always pressure to enroll. 2 patients per month is a reasonable expectation, depending on the studies & patient population you have available. My site has 5 full time coordinators, and our enrollment goal is 30 per year. Some studies might only enroll 1-2 patients per year, and then we have some simple studies that enroll several per week.
  5. by   RNwithquestions12
    Wow, thank you so much for your response!! It makes me happy to hear that you left bedside nursing and love your current role as a research nurse. It sounds very interesting and I agree with you that there is definitely potential to learn SO MUCH in this role!

    I should be hearing back this week for the final interview/offer so fingers crossed!
  6. by   microkate
    Good luck! It's a pretty steep learning curve at first. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions