Career OverviewResearch nurses not only improve the care of patients by their research studies, findings and relevant data but also then pass this information on to the larger healthcare community.
Some of the nurse researchers many responsibilities are carrying on research, figuring out clinical problems, analyzing data, and writing grants. This research covers all sectors of health such as injury and disease prevention, heath promotion, supportive and palliative care, rehabilitation and curative care.
Along with participating in medical and pharmaceutical research, a nurse researcher is also involved with the delivery and organization of services, education and policies. Often research nurses work in business such as pharmaceutical companies, device companies and hospitals. Nursing research funding has increased due mainly to the wide range of topics and specific health needs of patients. The scientific knowledge obtained from this nursing research has made a positive effect on clinical practice.
Nurse researches have an interesting and varied job. While still working closely with hands on patient care the nurse researcher also participates in more scientific based projects and more interaction with non-medical staff and researchers. Often nurse researchers are shared between hospitals or industries and this allows experienced nurse researchers to move into research projects and fields that are in areas of interest and expertise.
Nurses that enjoy sharing information, training, procedures and protocols as well as training other nurses regarding new practice and methods are excellent candidates for nurse researchers.
Career RequirementsThe education and training experience for nurse researchers varies greatly depending on the type of research being completed, the actual work that the nurse researcher will perform in regards to the study, and the amount of independent work and data collection and analysis that the nurse researcher will be expected to complete.
A basic level nurse researcher will usually require a Bachelors degree in Nursing with a strong background of data collection, computer skills, and strong research background. Hospitals and medical research facilities often use this level of nurse researcher in a basic research project.
More advanced research projects that are more elaborate in design or scope often require a Master’s in Nursing or Science or even a PhD in Nursing with a research background. Pharmaceutical companies and private sector research projects or management positions in research projects for hospitals usually require this advanced level of training.
For more information on qualifications and education for nurse researchers contact the National Institute of Nursing Research in Bethedsa, Maryland.
Job OutlookRegistered nurses along with specialty nurses are in great demand as new technology in patient care advances. This enables faster treatment of medical problems along with far more focus put on preventative care, unlike years ago. In addition, with the older population growing and so is the need for medical care. In addition to just medical care, new technologies in procedures and pharmaceuticals continue to advance every day. Nurse researchers are required to allow this development as the research for new drugs and procedures may often take years to accomplish and complete.
In addition public awareness campaigns by hospitals, drug companies and health organizations use nurse researchers as public speakers. More and more pharmaceutical companies are preparing information and trainings for medical staff regarding their products. Nurse researches are in the forefront of this new information sharing.
Experience in nursing research provides many options for individuals both in hospitals and in private companies. The opportunities vary from employment to employment, with many positions only open in research hospitals or University hospitals. The following are a few of the many opportunities for nurse researchers:
- Clinical data coordinator
- Clinical research assistant
- Clinical research monitor
- Research assistant
- Data analysis
- Grant Writer
- Public Speaker/Presenter
- Project Coordinator
Smaller projects often combine several roles into one, so it is possible even on a small project to gain lots of experience for larger or more complicated research projects.
CompensationA nurse researcher is often hired by project or by contract, not always on a standard hourly wage or salary over a year as many other nurses are. There are also considerable differences between a beginning or Bachelor level nurse researcher and a more advanced Master’s or PhD level nurse researcher.
A PhD or Master’s level nurse researcher with experience could easily earn $45,000-$60,000 for a contract that may last up to nine months. Nurse researchers with a Bachelor’s level education and some specialization in oncology or other area may earn between $35,000 and $50,000 per year in a hospital or university setting with differences in salary in experience and position on the research team.