Can I Use My Nursing Degree in the Pharmaceutical Industry?

After all the years of studying and dedication it took to become a nurse, you’re starting to hear about great opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry. You may be wondering if earning your nursing degree was a waste of time or if you have to start studying all over again. The good news is that your nursing degree may be able to get you into the pharmaceutical industry in the career of your dreams.

Why Are Nurses Switching to the Pharmaceutical Industry?

When registered nurses were questioned as to why they did or were considering giving up nursing to work in the pharmaceutical industry, here were the common replies, as reported by

  • Poor working conditions as nurses
  • Lack of respect from patients and doctors
  • Better pay in the pharmaceutical industry
  • A shortage of pharmacists resulting in increased salaries
  • Quality of nursing care declining

What Kind of Jobs Are Available for Nurses in the Pharmaceutical Industry?

People usually become nurses because they want to work in the medical field and help patients. However, sometimes after doing this for many years, they’re burnt out or just need a change. They may choose a career where they’re still somewhat in the healthcare industry only without the patient contact.

Most nurses find that many jobs are available once they have a nursing degree. Pharmaceutical industry jobs offer even more career opportunities for licensed nurses. In addition to becoming an actual pharmacist, here are some possible career choices or areas that nurses may switch over to in the pharmaceutical industry.

    • Patient Educator – Work with patients in their homes to educate them on medication use
    • Clinical Research Associate – Work in research labs or out in the field doing research and provide data and presentations for clinical trials.
    • Medical Science Liaison – Work with sales and marketing teams while educating healthcare providers about treatment guidelines.
    • Medical Information – Answer questions from patients and healthcare providers about pharmaceutical products
    • Drug Safety – Work in clinical trials, testing drugs for adverse reactions and writing reports
    • Regulatory – Ensure that drugs meet the FDA guidelines.
    • Sales – Work as salespeople, which requires travel and many of the skills gained working as nurses.

What Type of Training or Degree Will I Need?

The type of training nurses might need depends on what specific career they are pursuing. Many of the career choices listed above require minimal training because of the extensive training and experience registered nurses already have. In many cases, all that nurses need is their nursing degree and any necessary pharmaceutical industry training related to the profession they’ve chosen. If the choice is pharmacist, it’ll be necessary to complete a pharmacist program to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (see: Can I Get Into Medical School With a Nursing Degree?).

What is the Career Outlook for Nurses Working in the Pharmaceutical Industry?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the pharmaceutical industry’s production and the U.S. consumption of its many products results in the industry playing a major role in the nation’s economy. It’s an industry with billions of dollars and it continues to grow, which bodes well for healthcare workers employed in the industry. Pharmaceutical professionals are greatly in demand and have excellent earning potential.

Choosing one of the many careers in the pharmaceutical industry could be the start of a wonderful and rewarding career. You’ll not only earn a good salary but will also use the knowledge and skill you’ve gained in your nursing days. You could be combining two exciting and lucrative industries into one rewarding profession.