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Research nurse competency framework

[Jul 2015 - please note that whilst there are no plans to update version 2 of this document, the document should still provide a useful starting point for those developing local competency frameworks] 

Research nurse competency framework - version 2 - October 2011

Introduction to second edition

The planning, undertaking, closure and reporting of high quality clinical research is dependent upon the knowledge, skills and competence of the many individuals involved in making research possible. These attributes are developed through formal training, through supervision and mentorship, through ongoing personal development and through experience gained in practice. Together these contribute to the development of research practitioners who possess the competences required to help to guard against poor clinical and research practice and promote participant safety. This document offers the large and growing number of Clinical Research Nurses (CRNs) a framework which could help in the development of the skills, behaviour, knowledge and understanding required to support clinical research and to develop a career in research.

The initial preparation and subsequent revision of this Framework has highlighted the fact that CRNs in various clinical and geographical settings are involved in the different aspects of clinical research in different ways, taking different levels of responsibility and focusing their efforts on different parts of the research endeavour. For this reason it has not been possible to present an off-the-shelf set of competencies that would be relevant and meaningful to all CRNs. Rather, it is hoped that this document might offer a useful starting point for those developing local Competency Frameworks.

The future of clinical research in the UK is dependent on engagement with the NHS at all levels so it is hoped that this Framework will also be of use to clinical staff who support or line manage research nurses by helping to define the contribution and responsibilities of nurses involved in clinical research.

The development of the first edition of the Competency Framework began in the summer of 2007. After more than a year and after considerable effort by the members of the Working Group, the Competency Framework finally took shape and was published in December 2008. In undertaking this revision, the complexities of the roles of CRNs have again generated considerable challenges and much debate.

This is the second edition of what is anticipated will continue to be a regularly revised and updated Framework document that will evolve alongside changes in the context in which clinical research studies are planned, undertaken and reported.

Dr Leslie Gelling PhD MA BSc (Hons) RN FRSA - Chair, Competency Framework Working Group.

Document: Research nurse competency framework - version 2 - full - Oct 2011 (PDF, 311K)

Document: Research nurse competency framework - version 2 - short - Oct 2011 (MS Word, 165K)


If you have any queries about this document, please contact research.innovation@rcn.org.uk