What Does a Nurse Researcher Do?

If you have been looking into becoming a nurse for any amount of time, you have probably run across nurse researchers and asked yourself, “What does a nurse researcher do?” Nurse researchers play a vital role in the healthcare industry by conducting scientific studies and analyzing data critical in solving a myriad of clinical and patient care problems.

The Important Role of Nurse Researchers

Nurse researchers are clinical scientists who implement clinical and scientific studies, compose insightful research questions, collect data, analyze data, and develop reports of their findings. According to the American Nurses Association, these findings can be used to solve several important healthcare problems involving patient care and service on the local, state, and federal level. Many nurse researchers work on public and privately funded clinical research projects that involve tabulating data, reviewing documents, managing databases, recruiting subjects, and writing grants. The work can be tedious at times, but it is also highly rewarding to contribute to discoveries that have a positive impact on people’s lives.

Working Conditions for Nurse Researchers

Nurse researchers often work in diverse medical, laboratory, and university settings. Due to the fact that their research studies are often related to projects that are individually funded, many nurse researchers are often dependent on grant money or other funding and move from one project to the next. Conducting important research studies may involve a lot of data entry and repetitive activity, but the diversity of their studies makes the profession quite exciting and rewarding as well. Nurse researchers must also be skilled writers in order to write highly competitive grant applications, compose journal articles, and report the results of their studies. They must also present their findings at meetings and conferences.

Becoming a Nurse Researcher

To pursue a career as a nurse researcher you will first need to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from an accredited nursing program. Then, you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become a licensed and certified registered nurse. A master’s degree in nursing may also be needed to gain qualification in the competitive and advanced field of medical research. Many advanced nurse researchers possess doctorate degrees as well. However, since many schools offer programs for those already working on research studies, this can be earned while working in the field and gaining valuable work experience.

Resource: Guide to Nursing Degrees

The Salary and Career Outlook for Nurse Researchers

Many nurse researchers just beginning their careers often start out as research assistants, clinical data coordinators, or clinical research monitors. As their careers progress, they can earn an advanced position as a senior research nurse, research nurse specialist, or a clinical nurse research coordinator. The highest position one can attain as a nurse researcher is that of a principle investigator. The salary outlook for nurse researchers depends on their position or rank as well as the available funding or type of research they are conducting. The average salary for a nurse researcher is $95,000.

Nurse researchers play a vital role in improving patient care in all facets of the healthcare industry. If you have an inquisitive mind and enjoy performing studies and analysis, a career as a nurse researcher may be an ideal career decision. As the healthcare field continues to grow, qualified nurse researchers will be in demand for years to come. With endless career possibilities, hopefully this has answered your question regarding “What does a nurse researcher do?”