It’s been well established by now that nurses work in many different fields. One field that we really don’t seem to talk about a lot or recognize the significance of is research. Let’s talk about what nurses do in this field.
Nurses who work in research do so as part of a multi-disciplinary team. There may be multiple nurses, as well as doctors and pharmacists on a team. These nurses almost always possess a bachelor’s degree. In fact, some studies require a masters or higher. Research can be conducted at a university lab, in a university hospital’s lab, or even an independent company. Most commonly, this is a pharmaceutical company’s lab. Of course, there is also government research opportunities, such as the with the FDA.
Medical research that uses nurses often focuses on curative projects, such as finding a cure for cancer or HIV. But of course, nurses participate in research aimed at efficacy of drugs, creating new drugs to treat illness, and studying long term side effects of drugs.
Nurses in this field operate under a doctor’s guidance, just like a floor nurse. But this is a more unique setting, where there is direct and constant interaction among the professions on a daily basis. There may or may not be “patients,” known in this field as volunteers or even test subjects. Not all areas of research need “patients,” as some phases of the research haven't progressed to human trials. It is a more professional setting, if you will, with everyone having much higher education and usually specific education or experience in the field in which their research is based. Research is science at its most basic level, sometimes those participating aren’t even medical professional! Regular old scientists are often just as involved in this field.
Are you considering research as a field in nursing school?