Roles for Nurses Conducting Clinical Trials

There are many job opportunities for nurses outside of bedside care, such as nurse navigators or case managers. One area of interest for these sorts of jobs is conducting clinical trials. Trials are integral to developing medications, equipment and other medical interventions, and they require the assistance of knowledgeable nurses.

Oncology Nursing News explains that “clinical trials are designed to study new drugs that are not yet approved by the FDA; new uses of drugs that are already FDA approved; new ways to administer the drugs; use of alternative medicines; new tests to find and track different cancer types; and drugs or procedures that alleviate symptoms.”

There are typically three phases of a clinical trial that involve nurse assistance. These phases include the introduction of a new drug, the effects of the drug on clinical trial participants and the method of comparing the effectiveness of the drug on two groups of people.

Fundamental Processes of Clinical Trials

According to ONS Voice, a clinical trial nurse’s daily activities typically include participating in reviews, ensuring adherence to trial protocols, “checking the data manager’s entries” for quality and consistency and more.

Nurses can determine the role they want to play within the clinical trial department and often work with other clinical trial nurses to account for all data during research. They do their best to serve the patients they encounter through these trials and actively protect all individuals from information leaks.

Aside from the clinical trial nurse, some staff nurses assist with the clinical trial process. ONS Voice goes on to say, “as their regular direct contact, staff nurses may have more interaction with individual research participants than other members of the research team. They administer investigational medications, perform detailed clinical assessments, collect research samples, and provide additional or specialized care based on a participant’s response to a study intervention.”

Staff nurses generally stay with the patient until the clinical trial has ended. They document and notify the clinical trial nurse of any adverse side effects. Through this, they can advocate for all study participants.

Growth of the Field

There will always be a need for various nurses within the clinical trial setting because illnesses are becoming more prevalent in communities across the nation and globe.

Clinical trial nurses are involved in a multidisciplinary care team that includes professionals such as:

  • Physician or advanced practice provider (nurse practitioner, physician assistant)
  • Clinical research nurse
  • Clinical research coordinator
  • Pharmacist/pharmacy technician
  • Biospecimen coordinator
  • Regulatory coordinator
  • Research assistant

According to, the clinical trial nurse salary in the United States averages $91,298 annually and ranges from $81,778 to $101,104 (as of October 2022). These figures largely depend on the nurse’s region, role and prior experience.

Grow Your Nursing Skills With a Bachelor’s Degree

One way to grow your nursing skills as a clinical trial nurse is to further your career and earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Those who enroll in the RN to BSN online program at William Paterson University will prepare for a successful nursing career that empowers their ability to deliver expert care away from the bedside.

Students will demonstrate compassion to diverse patients in various healthcare settings. In the program, they will grow their knowledge of assorted health conditions at the clinical level.

Students can complete this intensive program in as few as 10 months and synthesize knowledge from the humanities, the natural and behavioral sciences and the nursing discipline to implement nursing practice decisions. For example, the Nursing Research course covers the basics of developing the ability to analyze, criticize and interpret research to help with clinical trials. In the Nursing Practice for RN-BSN course, students focus on taking initiative within the clinical setting to care for clients across their lifespan.

Whether or not they follow a clinical trial path, nurses will obtain the knowledge required to also enter influential roles such as surgical nurse, pediatric nurse, hospice nurse, nurse case manager and critical care nurse.

Learn more about William Paterson University’s online RN to BSN program

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