Research Nurse

What Is the Role of a Research Nurse?

Nurse researchers undertake scientific research on a variety of health topics, such as illnesses, treatment plans, medications, and healthcare procedures, with the ultimate goal of enhancing healthcare services and patient outcomes. Additionally referred to as nurse researchers, research nurses plan and conduct scientific studies, evaluate data, and communicate their results to other nurses, physicians, and medical researchers. Research nurses play a key role in creating innovative, possibly life-saving medical treatments and practices. This career path demands an advanced degree and extra training in research technique and instruments.

How to Become a Research Nurse

Being a nurse researcher is a highly specialized job path that involves an advanced degree and training in informatics, as well as research technique and instruments. Researchers nurses frequently begin their careers as research assistants or clinical research coordinators. For these individuals, as well as any aspiring advanced practice nurse, the first step is to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. After earning a bachelor’s degree and obtaining an RN licensure, a nurse can pursue a career as a research nurse by completing a Master’s of Science in Nursing program with a focus on research and writing. MSN-level courses best prepare nurses for careers in research since they typically involve coursework in statistics, evidence-based practice research, clinical trial design and coordination, and advanced research methods.


A typical job advertisement for a research nurse would typically mention the following credentials, in addition to those particular to the company type and location:

  • MSN degree and a current registered nurse license
  • Extensive experience performing clinical research, including patient recruitment, protocol implementation, and presentation of findings.
  • A keen eye for detail is necessary when gathering and analyzing data.
  • For interaction with patients and communicating study findings, strong written and vocal communication skills are required.
  • Grant writing experience is a plus.

What Education Do Research Nurses Need?

The majority of nurse researchers hold a post-degree master’s in nursing, typically an MSN, but rarely a PhD in Nursing. Along with obtaining a registered nurse license, research nurses must complete specific training in informatics, data gathering, scientific research, and research equipment, as well as get experience writing grant proposals, research reports, and academic papers. Earning a PhD is optional for the majority of research nursing roles, but may be necessary for particular types of research.

Is it necessary to obtain any certifications or credentials?

Apart from a master’s or doctoral level nursing degree and an active RN license, additional qualifications are frequently not required for work as a research nurse. However, certain nurse researcher roles require individuals to hold the Society for Clinical Research Associates’ Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP) accreditation. Candidates must have a minimum of two years of experience working in clinical research to be eligible for this certification. Additionally, the Association of Clinical Research Professionals offers several clinical research certifications, including the Clinical Research Associate Certification, Clinical Research Coordinator Certification, and Association of Clinical Research Professionals – Certified Professional Credential. These certifications need a variety of hours of professional experience in clinical research and an active RN license.

What Types of Jobs Do Research Nurses Have?

Nurse researchers are employed in a range of situations, including the following:

  • Organizations engaged in medical research
  • Research Laboratories
  • Hospitals
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Universities

What Is the Role of a Research Nurse?

A research nurse examines several components of the healthcare business in order to improve patient outcomes. In addition to their conventional nursing training and RN license, nurse researchers possess particular expertise of informatics, scientific research, and data collecting and analysis. Nurse researchers frequently design their own studies, acquire funding, conduct research, and collect and analyze data. Additionally, they may assist in the recruiting of study participants and give direct patient care to individuals during the course of their research. Following the completion of a research project, nurse researchers communicate their findings to other nurses, physicians, and medical researchers via written papers, research reports, and/or industry speaking opportunities.

What Are the Responsibilities and Responsibilities of a Research Nurse?

  • Conduct and manage research studies
  • Observe and monitor patient care throughout treatment or procedures, as well as gather and analyze data, including database management.
  • Present research findings, which may include delivering presentations at industry conferences, seminars, and other speaking engagements.
  • Prepare grant proposals to obtain funding for studies.
  • Prepare papers and research reports for publishing in nursing and medical professional journals, as well as other media.
  • Assist in the recruitment of study volunteers and offer direct care to study participants

Salary and Employment for Research Nurses

According to the Society of Clinical Research Associates’ 2015 Compensation Survey, the median salary for research nurses is $72,009. Nurse researchers earn a range of salaries, depending on the type of business, the geographic region, and the nurse’s education and experience level. Healthcare research is a booming industry, which means that RNs interested in pursuing an advanced degree and a job in research have a bright future.