What is a Nurse Researcher?

Nurse researchers initiate, conduct, coordinate and evaluate clinical research related activities. This job comes with a few primary duties. First, to oversee the screening, enrollment and retention of clinical trial participants. Second, to implement procedures, ensure data quality and review study protocols. Nurse researchers are registered nurses who use their expertise and education to oversee experimental studies and patient-related activities.

Participant Coordination

Nurse researchers may recruit, screen and communicate with potential study participants. They provide research related services through evaluations and interventions. They follow standard protocols that ensure the well-being and commitment of participants enrolled in clinical research studies. They elicit initial and ongoing informed consent of participants and their families. Nurse researchers may schedule home visits and follow-up study visits per established time frames. They communicate participant statuses, concerns and achievements to investigators and research teams. They may assure all participant disclosure and reporting requirements are met per institutional policies and governing procedures. They may compensate participants for study and clinical visits based on established guidelines.

Documentation Management

Nurse researchers prepare and submit documents to executives, committees, review boards and regulatory bodies as needed. During the preparation phase, they may compile legal statutes, assigned protocols and standard operating procedures. They prepare and participate in monitoring visits, external audits and formal inspections. Nurse researchers are expected to compile and maintain progress notes, source documents and study participant feedback. They must observe and document participant’s adverse reactions and unexpected events with regards to consuming experimental pharmaceutical products. Nurse researchers may initiate physician, laboratory, radiology and procedures to test participants and verify their well-being. They may collect participant paperwork, enter the data into software systems and generate report forms.

Clinical Education

These health care professionals must continually educate patients, families and even staff regarding to clinical research activities, outcomes and possibilities. They personally complete certification and maintain necessary training to stay aware of current regulatory guidelines and research practices. They may collaborate in the planning and execution of participant-centered education and training activities. They often host open recruitment meetings with the public, so they will present general clinical research information. As such, they often serve as a resource for staff, clients and members of the community. They may teach participants how to access online clinical trial management platforms to enter their data.

Job Qualifications

At minimum, a nurse researcher must maintain licensure as a registered nurse in accordance with the state’s requirements, according to Discover Nursing. This means that they must have a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree. They should have at least two to three years of nursing research experience or at least three to four years of general nursing experience. Successfully passing annual certifications may be required to participate in certain studies. Most employers want job candidates who have professional training and experience in a clinical research settings, so a strong medical science background will be needed. The most preferred degree is a Master’s of Science in Nursing.

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Nurse researchers must also collect, process and ship research biological specimens. They will be required to monitor vital signs, take anthropometric measurements and perform ECG, injection, infusion and phlebotomy procedures. They must maintain bio-hazardous materials shipping certification. This will entail training in infection control, safety procedures, accountability records and chain-of-command sequences.