Clinical Research Nurses and Health Care Support Workers
About this resource
Clinical research is one of the fastest growing specialisms in healthcare delivery. Across the UK patients are being advised that it is their right to be randomised and included in pertinent clinical trials. With the introduction of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in England and equivalent infrastructures in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales has come an explosion in the clinical research nurse and health care support worker (HCSW) workforce (estimated around 10,000 in 2014) to support clinical research. NHS plc is seen as an international leader for clinical research (funding councils, charitable, and life sciences industries) due to the high standards it demands in terms of quality, efficiency and governance. This website is intended to provide a signposting resourcing for nurses and HCSWs, either currently employed in clinical research, or wanting to learn more about the multitude of opportunities therein.
- Research Nurse Competency Framework 
- Informed consent 
- Research ethics: RCN guidance for nurses 
- Career pathways for research nurses 
- Comprehensive list of postgraduate training opportunities, including all the Master's of Research courses available in the UK [updated regularly]
- Two year project (2012-2014): Capitalising on the contribution of nurses in clinical research
UK wide resources
Policy and Briefings
- Strategic Priorities for the NIHR CRN Clinical Research Nurse workforce (2015-17)
- Developing clinical research competence in the undergraduate nurse workforce. Report and recommendations from the NIHR Clinical Research Network seminar, 20 Nov 2014, Manchester.
- Position paper: maximising the nursing contribution to the UK clinical research agenda 
- MacArthur J et al (2014), Professional issues associated with the clinical research nurse role. Nursing Standard. Vol 29, No. 14, pp37-43
- Pick A et al (2014), The role of effective communication in achieving informed consent for clinical trials. Nursing Standard. Vol 29, No. 10, pp45-48
- Naylor, GA et al (2014), Nursing student placements in clinical research. Nursing Standard. Vol 29, No. 2, pp37-43
- Harrison, M (2014), Exposure to research work: a pathway placement programme. Nursing Standard. Vol 28, No. 41, p66
- Fawcett, TN & McCulloch, C (2014), Pursing a career in nursing research. Nursing Standard. Vol 28, No. 28, pp 54-58. [and see Fowles, H. (2014), Nursing research. A CPD reflective account of this article. Nursing Standard. Vol 29, No. 16-18, p61]
- McDermott, S et al (2014), Developing good practice for clinical research nurses. Nursing Standard. Vol 28, No. 26, pp 40-44
- Rodrigo, P (2013), Could you be a research nurse? Nursing Standard. Vol 27, No. 44, 62-63
- Pick A et al (2013), Informed consent in clinical research. Nursing Standard. Vol 27, No. 49, pp44-47
- Gibbs, CL, Lowton K (2012), "The role of the clinical research nurse", Nursing Standard, Vol 26 No 27, pp37-40
- Coulson, C & Grange, A (2012), "Developing clinical research nurses", Nursing Times, 108, 22/23, pp 23-25
A career in...
Looking for a career in clinical research?
What does the role of a clinical research nurse look like?
- A force for progress (2015). Deborah Beirne says specializing in clinical research has led to a rewarding career and enabled her to contribute to the development of new treatments. Nursing Standard. Vol 29, No. 30, p63
- How the role of clinical research nurses in the NHS has changed. An article in the Guardian Healthcare Network's clinical research zone (Feb 2015)
- NHS Career Planner for Nurses. The nursing career framework interactive tool contains useful information about the skills and competences you may need to work at different levels in the pathways - one of which is research.
- NIHR publication (2013), "Our Voices: celebrating the clinical research nurse". Nine nurses give their stories.
- Case studies from the Scottish Research Nurse & Co-ordinator's Network
- Testimonials and case studies from nurses/HCSWs currently working in clinical research
(a) Undergraduate nursing student shadows research nurse (blog on Clinfield website)
(b) Julie Lynch, Endocrine Research Nurse, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (NHS Career Planner for Nurses case study)
(c) Diane Brennan, Clinical Studies Officer, Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust (NHS Career Planner for Nurses case study)
(d) Tara MacCormick-Swanson, Oncology Research Nurse, University Hospitals of South Manchester (NHS Career Planner for Nurses case study)
(e) Michelle Lewington-Roberts, Senior Research Sister, East and North Herts NHS Trust (NHS Career Planner for Nurses case study)
(f) Sue Allen, Clinical Studies Nurse, NIHR Clinical Research Network: Eastern
(g) Kate McCloskey, Research Nurse, NIHR Clinical Research Network: Eastern
News and events
- RCN 2015 annual international nursing research conference, 20-22 April 2015, Nottingham, England, UK
- Research activity league table. Find out how your Trust performed in the research activity league table 2013-14
- NIHR JISCmail email group called NIHR - ResearchNurses. Membership is open to ALL clinical research nurses, not just those working on a NIHR study.
- See our section on Research Networks - clinical research
- Musings from the world of clinical research nursing, a blog
- What does it take to be a good research nurse? Kelly Gleason blog, Feb 2014
- NIHR Fiona O'Neill (Apr 2015). Fiona talks about her role, the NIHR, and clinical research nurses.
- From local to global: #WhyWeDoResearch (Apr 2015). YouTube clip showing the progression from a local initiative, through to National involvement and finally crossing seas and countries across the globe.
- #WhyWeDoResearch campaign video (Jan 2015). YouTube video describing the origins of the Christmas campaign by the James Paget University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in December 2014, to raise awareness of the importance of clinical research.
- The role of the clinical research nurse. Watch this animation of Lorraine and Sharon's stories to find out more about this rewarding career
- The 4Ps of research, YouTube clip from the Stroke research team, York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Today's research, tomorrow's care, NISCHR YouTube clip, Alex Franklin, NISCHR CRC Oncology Research Nurse
- Using research to improve patient care, NISCHR YouTube clip, Colin Price, NISCHR CRC Research Nurse
- Presentations from Clinfield Building Careers in Clinical Research 3rd Annual Conference on 23 November 2013
- Presentations from a study day organised by Clinfield Limited in October 2011
- Research changed my life, stories from people across England of how clinical research benefits patients, their families and carers. NIHR Clinical Research Network.
- NIHR TV (2009 onwards). These videos tell the story of the vital work that NIHR funds, and the world class scientists who lead that research.
- NIHR Clinical Research Network launches BrightTalk webinar TV-style channel: webcasts about clinical research activity in the NHS
- How is the role of nursing changing, archive of a NIHR Clinical Research Network/Guardian Tweetchat, 24 Feb 2015
- The role of the clinical research nurse, archive of a WeNurses Tweetchat, 19 Nov 2013
- #oktoask. The campaign, led by the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) calls on patients and carers to ask their doctor about NHS research they can take part in.
People/organisations you may like to follow
- @keeling_michael Michael Keeling
- @natwm10 Nathaniel Mills
- @ClaireGibbsUK Claire Gibbs (originator of #whywedoresearch)
Developing this webpage
The Clinical Research Nurses' online community webpage was formally launched at a fringe event at the RCN 2010 annual international nursing research conference. If you have any suggestions for additions to the page, please email firstname.lastname@example.org