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How to become a clinical research nurse in the UK? - A Guide [2023]

A clinical research nurse is involved in the research data review process.

What is clinical nursing research? - Skills and salary

Research in clinical settings is to learn the health of patients to discover new information and advance patient care. In the UK clinical research nurses provide a key link between healthcare organisations, research teams, and patients. They help medical studies and research. They gather data from the patients, ensure that research is carried out properly, and keep patients safe during the process of research.
In this article, we explain what research in nursing is, the role of a clinical research nurse in the UK, the salary of a clinical research nurse, and how to become a clinical research nurse in the UK.

What is clinical research in nursing?

Nursing research advances our understanding of the health and care of people with disabilities and health issues. In the UK Research leads to improved care plans, procedures, and treatments. This gives a positive result for patients such as quicker recovery, less pain, and a higher quality of life. Research helps to find safety issues during caring and solutions for the issues. Clinical research helps healthcare professionals understand the requirements of each patient in detail. To give the best care possible, the treatment of nurses must be based on recent information and research. Clinical research in nursing has numerous benefits that improve patient care, the nursing profession, and the healthcare system. Observational studies and clinical trials are the two types of clinical research:

1. Observational studies:

In observational studies, researchers collect information from people through surveys, interviews, medical records, and observations. In observational studies, no treatments, interventions, or experimental conditions are used. They only observe and collect information.

2. Clinical trials:

Clinical trials are used to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of medical interventions such as drugs, treatment procedures, and medical devices. A clinical trial helps to analyze if a new treatment or drug is safe and effective for people or has fewer side effects. Clinical trial involves treatments and experimental conditions to collect data.

What are the duties of a clinical research nurse in the UK?

In the field of healthcare, clinical research is essential because it forms the basis for improvements in patient care and evidence-based decision-making. In the UK clinical research nurses are essential for the efficient conduct of clinical trials and studies. Some of the important duties and responsibilities of clinical research nurses include:

1. Patient support in clinical trials:

Clinical research nurses support patients throughout their course of treatment by ensuring the well-being of the patient and they adhere to the clinical trial rules. This responsibility includes maintaining close contact or communication with patients, actively listening to their worries, and guiding them throughout the treatment if they are suffering from any difficulties or doubts.

2. Preparing trial protocol and documentation:

The main responsibility of a clinical research nurse is the preparation and execution of the trial protocol. This document involves the objective of the study, procedure, and guidelines. 

3. Contributing to drug and treatment development:

Clinical research nurses take a main role in the development of new drugs, treatments, and care plans. This mainly involves conducting experimental treatments or interventions on patients, closely observing how they react to these treatments, and preparing documents according to the outcome.

4. Data collection and management:

Clinical research nurses are responsible for gathering accurate data from study participants. This collected information is the basis for the safety and effectiveness of the treatment. Managing the collected data to make it high quality is also the responsibility of the clinical research nurse.

What is the average salary of a clinical research nurse in the UK?

In the UK the salary of the clinical research nurse varies based on factors such as the experience of the person in the research field, location, and type of employer. The average salary of a research nurse in the UK is £36,085 per year. Clinical research nurses in entry-level positions or with less experience earn a salary of £32,082 and research nurses with more experience in this field earn £45,008 per year. Clinical research nurses in areas with high cost of living earn more than areas with lower living expenses. Clinical research nurses working in large research institutions and academic medical centers earn more salary compared to those working in small healthcare organizations.

What are the skills of clinical research nurses in the UK?

To become successful in the field of research they need a variety of skills. Important skills for a successful research nurse include:

1. Patient care skills:

To provide high-quality care for patients involved in research studies, nurses must have excellent clinical skills. This includes conducting evaluations, giving drugs, and keeping track of patient’s health.

2. Communication skills:

Effective communication is important for interacting with patients and research teams. Communication is also important for research nurses to share their findings with patients or other medical experts.

3. Observation skills:

Research nurses are skilled observers who can see minute changes in patient conditions and discover abnormalities in data gathering. Research nurses make significant contributions to research projects by carefully observing and recording patient reactions to treatments or interventions.

4. Active listening:

In addition to hearing the words that patients say, active listening requires understanding their emotions and worries. Active listening helps research nurses improve their positive relations with the patients.

5. Teamwork skills:

The success of any research project depends on the collaboration of research nurses with the team members. Team members include doctors, scientists, and other healthcare professionals.

How to become a clinical research nurse in the UK?

In the UK becoming a clinical nurse involves formal education, training, and experience. Clinical research nurses perform clinical trials and research studies in healthcare settings. Following are the general steps involved in the process of becoming a clinical research nurse.

1. Get a bachelor’s degree in nursing:

The first step to becoming a clinical research nurse is getting a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). BSN degree program provides a solid foundation in nursing theory, practice and patient care. Normally it takes four years to complete. In most BSN programs students can take both academic classes and training sessions, where they can interact with patients and improve their clinical knowledge.

2. Obtain a nursing license:

After completing a bachelor’s degree program must earn a nursing license to become a registered nurse (RN) in the UK. This requires passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). This test evaluates the capacity of patient care in nurses and candidates understanding of nursing principles and practices.

3. Choose an area to focus:

Clinical research includes different subfields, and it is important to choose a specific area that fits with the person's interest and goal. Nursing research topics include Cardiac research, Disease and prevention research, Neurological research, Palliative care, Oncology research, and Psychiatric and behavioural research.

4. Gain clinical research experience:

To succeed as a clinical research nurse getting hands-on experience in clinical research settings is very important. A research-intensive hospital is a good place to start and a research nurse position at academic medical institutions, pharmaceutical companies, medical research laboratories, and clinical research organizations is another place to get experience as a clinical research nurse.

5. Obtain the certification:

Getting a certification in research nursing will improve the professional reputation. Certifications like the Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP) and the Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC) are offered by organizations like the Society of Clinical Research Associates (SoCRA) and the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP).

6. Apply for jobs:

After getting an education, certification, and license applying for research nurse jobs that match with the focus area can start. Networking with industry experts and participating in industry conferences are very helpful for finding job opportunities. 
Nurses group ranks among the leading nurse staffing agencies in the UK and you can trust us to find the best nursing opportunities in the UK.

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