RN Researchers

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Just curious. Has anyone worked in the research field as an RN? What exactly does a research nurse do? I am curious because I enjoy researching illnesses and cures. I want to see if there is a "dream" job out there that I could use my love of research and passion for nursing to make a difference.


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Specializes in LDRP; Education.

Funny you should ask.

I just interviewed for a position on Friday within my clinic for a Clinical Studies Coordinator in Allergy. This job is one of basically data collection. New drug studies are offered by the pharmaceutical companies, the coordinator accepts to the study, recruits patient based on certain criteria, then, administers the medication, sees the patients as prescribed to collect vitals, collect patient diaries, administer inhalers, spirometry test, take blood samples, etc. You document this information according to FDA guidelines and send them in. Of course, once you accept a study, you typically fly out to California, Florida or the Virgin Islands for "Investigator Meetings" where you get the details of how you are going to run the study. The job sounds truly interesting; the only reason why I wouldn't take it is because it may interfere with my schooling.

Check into your local clinics; some do clinical trials and have Coordinators like this.


75 Posts

Susy K,

What a great position. When will you find out if you got the job?This sounds just up my alley! I wonder, if for a position like this advanced degrees are a must. Have you already done bedside nursing? If so, do you think that an RN researcher should have been at bedside care before applying for such a position?

Good luck and let me know how it all turns out!

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In Philadelphia area, we have several drug manufacturers.

Villanova University established an educational program to meet the needs: Clinical Research Associate (RN involved in data collections) and Clinical Research Coordinator (CRCs assume overall responsibility for assisting the investigator in conducting clinical studies of experimental drugs and devices). I have also seen drug companies in my area offer training programs.

One of my classmates last semester held one of these positions and loves it but stated that many positions are temporary for the length of the study.

Check to see if any programs available in your area like these:






I'm a clinical research coordinator at a large university. It can be a very interesting job. I actually work in the clinical trials center, where I'm kind of a "rent-a-nurse" for any part of any kind of clinical research that the university needs.

I've missed out on any investigators' meetings, just my luck.

Yes, most studies are time-limited, and I've seen nurses have to scramble for another study/job. That can be frustrating, but most places/docs who are interested in clinical trials have another one coming up as soon as one closes out.

Another interesting-sounding job to shoot for if you REALLY like to travel a LOT is the monitor job. They get paid much Much MUCH more than the research coordinators do. I don't think I'd like the job very much, but sometimes it seems a bit tempting.

I think a research nurse should definitely have bedside care experience before going into research. Ive never met one who hadn't had at least *some* kind of experience like that.

So, except for the complete and total lack of interesting travel to exotic lands to be trained, SuzyK pretty much described my job. I've done clinical trials involving radiation in cardiac artery stents (in that one, I could have used some experience in CCU which I didn't have), in a medication in post-MI patients (Again, needed CCU experience for that; didn't have it, survived anyway), a shingles prevention study, a Vitamin-E study, and now a data collection study on atherosclerosis in RA.

Seems like the cardiac-related studies are pretty hairy, and the cardiac research nurses are related to the cowboys. Took pride in having been thrown in without any training or mentoring and made a success of it. I didn't like any of my cardiac studies, and I don't plan on ever doing another one. Maybe that's just my personal take on it.




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