Clinical Research


Overview of the Clinical Research Industry

The clinical research sector is rapidly growing. With this development come new and fascinating job opportunities for the healthcare industry. The clinical research sector has been responsible for providing a number of career opportunities at the forefront for healthcare specialists. One profession in particular that has been significantly influenced by this new growing business is ‘Nursing’.

Nurses engaged in direct patient care at standard clinical setup in hospitals or private clinics are taking the chance to transition to the clinical research sector as it offers better salary and career prospects. Many nurses work as Clinical Research Coordinators and work as a part of a research team that conducts clinical trials. After working in the position of a Clinical Research Coordinator they usually transition to the pharmaceutical / contract research industry to roles of higher responsibility.

Job Responsibilities of Clinical Research Coordinator

The principle investigator (PI )is responsible for the conducting of the research study and manages all aspects of the research, which includes training staff, providing informed consent, and protecting subject privacy. The clinical research coordinator (CRC), who is employed by the PI, usually has the responsibility of assisting in the conducting, coordinating and managing clinical research activities. Like the in charge nurse in a medical center, the CRC requires to look at the big picture, plan for required information, assign tasks, manage time, and remember that the main outcome is to enhance patient care. CRCs may be hired in various healthcare settings, which include medical practices executing research, companies devoted to research, and instructional sites, which are generally affiliated with a university hospital.

Moving From Clinical Setting to Research Field

Although moving from the clinical setup to the clinical research area isn’t complicated, it’s a huge change from bedside nursing.  Several surveys have been performed in the past that looked into the scope and possible contribution of the CRCs. Most individuals in the surveys agreed that the research role is very distinct from the clinical role and that time is required for the transition. The CRC manages a different range of functions, which includes admin, business, nursing and patient care responsibilities. The CRC, like the clinical nurse, requires critical thinking, flexibility, monitoring, capability to adapt to change, active Learning and self confidence.

A CRC also requires good interpersonal skills for interacting with officials of sponsor organizations, managers, medical professionals and others engaged in the study. An effective transition includes several steps or stages. The first step is to think like a researcher instead of a clinician. Although CRCs would not neglect an unsafe situation, they cannot practice direct care due to the fact that doing so could impact study outcomes. For instance, providing an opinion or guidance to a study participant could alter the outcomes. A second step is to adapt to working individually. As a nurse, you’re previously used to thinking individually and assigning tasks, but as a CRC, you may be the only person performing on an area of the project.

Importance of Training and Education

In spite of the fascination and eagerness of nurses to jump into this alternative profession, it is not often an easy transition. Nurses must over come the lack of education and training to carry out the duties in this new profession.

Training and education is a key aspect to over come challenges and for a successful career transition. Without the appropriate education and training before and during this transition, nurses (and usually the doctors monitoring the research and their specific role) are not aware that among particular job specifications and duties, there are also government regulations which they must follow to perform clinical research. Additionally, they are generally unaware that there are particular guidelines (Good Clinical Practice guidelines) which should be implemented. Frequently, violations of regulations due to the lack of education and training are reported.

Advantage of Clinical Research Coordinator Profession

Clinical Research Coordinators don’t require sticking to an inflexible schedule; they have flexibility in their work schedules. Intellectual stimulation is a benefit of this career. Frequently the CRC will be engaged with very skilful individuals, and communicating with them can be interesting and motivating. The position isn’t as physically stressful as direct patient care, which is an advantage for nurses with physical obstacles. Most important thing is the pay scale. As per industry experts the CRC profession is one of the better paying jobs for Nurses than working as a Nurse. Career growth is also better.


The clinical research sector provides a special and exciting alternative career for nurses. Nurses thinking about this transition must pursue training and education in clinical research to fulfil the requirements of this new profession.

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