Nursing research refers to the clinical and laboratory studies of a vast range of subjects related to medical care practices. A research nurse typically works alongside physicians and scientists to develop and test new theories regarding patient care procedures, health management and education strategies, and disease prevention, among many other areas of study. Nurses usually hold highly specialized nursing research jobs, where they conduct detailed investigations on a single issue, such as the administration of cancer therapy, obstetrics, or pediatric care. Most nursing research jobs are found in hospitals, universities, and private scientific research laboratories.
Nurses often specialize in researching different ways to prevent diseases and epidemics. Professionals might analyze historical data and research on a certain disease, learn the symptoms that accompany it, and study the various approaches to controlling and preventing it. Related nursing research jobs involve studying ways to treat and prevent different physical injuries, psychoses, risky behaviors, and addictions.
Other research nurses attempt to identify ways to improve healthcare practices, such as patient-doctor relations, primary care services, and patient education. Based on observation and literary analyses, professionals often try to determine how to better prepare patients for examinations, procedures, and surgeries. They may venture outside of laboratories and hospitals to raise awareness and suggest new public policies.
Professional research nurses frequently study very specific conditions and treatment procedures. Individuals might focus on advancing cancer research, developing better diagnostic testing equipment, or creating educational resources. Many nurses specialize in women's health, organizing information about pregnancy, childcare, and conditions that afflict women. Other professionals create new approaches to pediatric care, occupational and physical therapy, and elder care.
Individuals who want to obtain nursing research jobs must usually complete extensive educational and training requirements. Hopeful researchers are typically required to first receive registered nurse credentials by completing bachelor's degree programs and passing national licensing exams. Most individuals choose to pursue master's or doctoral degrees in nursing research from accredited universities, and gain clinical experience by working in hospitals and doctors' offices. After graduation, new research nurses are usually required to pass rigorous state or national licensing exams and spend a period of up to five years working as a fellow or intern at a research institution.
There are generally many opportunities for advancement in nursing research jobs. A nurse who has spent several years in the profession and proven his or her ability to conduct meaningful research may be granted the privilege of coming up with new research proposals and leading a team of scientists on original projects. The ongoing work of skilled research nurses in all specialties helps to advance scientific and medical knowledge and provide individuals with top quality healthcare.