The job of a nurse researcher is not as obvious as it might sound. In fact, it’s a fairly complex position with a lot of responsibility. But this role is an important one and for the right person, it can lead to a very rewarding career in the healthcare profession.
Nurse researchers are scientists who study various aspects of illness, health, and health care. They are responsible for researching ways to improve health such as reducing obesity or addressing common nutritional deficiencies. They also identify research questions, conduct scientific studies, collect data, and report their findings to other nurses, doctors, and medical researchers.
If you’re interested in becoming a nurse researcher, it’s important to know where to begin. Most often, nurse researchers enter the field as a research assistant, clinical data coordinator, and clinical research monitor. The next step might be to earn a master’s degree in nursing with a focus on research and writing. A master’s degree is a good move, as it will give you the educational background often needed to qualify for employment and advance later on. However, a bachelor’s degree will get your foot in the door in addition to RN licensure and certification. You’ll need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) after you’ve completed a state-approved nursing program.
Additional job duties of a nurse researcher may also include:
- Improve quality of life for patients
- Encourage patients to make healthy lifestyle choices
- Deliver more efficient healthcare services
- Assure patient safety
- Provide care and comfort to patients
If you’re currently working as a nurse and are considering going into research, this is absolutely doable. As mentioned earlier, you can earn a master’s degree with a focus on research or apply to a certificate program that offers state-mandated coursework in nursing research. Certificate programs are a great way to take the classes you need to apply for an entry-level research position, and if the job feels like a good fit, you can apply to a master’s degree program at a later time. You have options! There’s also a chance your current employer might cover the cost of tuition if you’re currently employed in the healthcare profession.
So if you’re currently working as a nurse but no longer wish to work in patient care, research might be your next career move. You’ll have the chance to partner with scientists in other fields, such as pharmacy, nutrition, and medicine. Your projects will likely be diverse, which will keep the job both interesting and challenging. To learn more about how to become a nurse researcher, check out the Department of Health & Human Services website for more information.