Clinical research nurses

Clinical research nursing

A one-stop-shop for nurses working in clinical research

Clinical research nurses play a vital role in delivering clinical research, and ultimately improving patient care.

Clinical research is essential

It is the only evidence-based method of deciding whether a new approach to treatment or care is better than the current standard, and is essential to diagnose, treat, prevent, and cure disease. Clinical research nurses play a vital role in delivering clinical research, and ultimately improving patient care and treatment pathways.

Duties could include:

  • supporting a patient through their treatment as part of a clinical trial
  • preparing trial protocols and other trial-related documentation
  • helping to develop new drugs, treatments, care pathways or regimens for patients
  • dealing with data collection
  • submitting study proposals for regulatory approval, and co-ordinating the initiation, management and completion of the research
  • managing a team.

Clinical Research Nurses sub-committee

Discover more about the work of the RCN Research Society Clinical Research Nurses sub-committee

Inaugural Clinical Research Nursing Day

Celebrating clinical research nursing and its vital role in health care

24 February 2021, London

Clinical research and the NIHR

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funds health and care research and provides the people, facilities, and technology that enables research to thrive.

The NIHR invests significantly in people, centres of excellence, collaborations, services and facilities to support health and care research in England. Collectively these form the NIHR infrastructure, which can support you to:

  • find collaboration opportunities
  • access methodology advice
  • access facilities for early stage research
  • run your study
  • access data, patient cohorts or sample support

Collaborations, services and support for your research

Looking for a career in clinical research?

If you work in the NHS, most Trusts have R&D departments, who will put you in touch with the lead clinical research nurse: there may be opportunities to shadow, or do short-term work placements.

Career ideas and inspiration

Research nursing offers attractive career options, enabling nurses to use core nursing skills, contribute to the development of new evidence and improve patient care

Research nursing across the UK


Health and Care Research Wales

Further reading

A selection of articles about research nursing.

Research and innovation bulletin

Research and innovation bulletin

Keep up to date with all the latest developments in nursing research by signing up to the RCN’s fortnightly research and innovation bulletin.

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International Research Conference

International nursing research conference

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