Nurse Researcher Career

Medicine is an ever-changing field where new research is constantly being conducted and incorporated into healthcare for better treatment and optimal patient care. Nurse researchers are a key element in this research, and a main conduit for linking nursing with up-to-date research. Nurse researchers are basically scientists who focus on health, illness, and healthcare. Their jobs are multi-faceted and include not only medical research, but incorporating that research into nursing care, sharing that research with the nursing community, writing grants to raise money for research, and publishing their data. They might work as analysts for nonprofit companies, for private healthcare companies, or they could teach in an academic setting.

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Nurse Researcher Job Description and Duties

Their main purpose and focus covers a lot of ground: They focus on improving end-of- life care, managing disease and symptoms of illness, patient safety, comfort, and the delivery of healthcare in an effective and cost-efficient manner. Like many nursing specialists, nurse researchers are expected to have an extensive education. In addition to becoming a registered nurse, most nurse researchers earn their Master of Science in Nursing, or often their doctorate. There are also many levels of expertise within the world of research. For instance, it often requires many years of experience assisting others with their research before you can design your own studies, raise funds for them, implement protocol, and apply that knowledge toward nursing. However, even a newly registered nurse can contribute to the field and gain valuable insight and knowledge.

According to Nurse Week magazine, mixing clinical care with research is a good and unique combination for many reasons. Practicing nurses see everyday how patients are reacting to treatment, medication, and what their needs are. They often know where care could be improved to increase patient comfort and responsiveness to medication or treatment. Likewise, if they are engaged or have been involved in research or educated on the results, they are able to implement improvements into their care.

Education Requirements and Salary Information for Nurse Researchers

Because there are extensive education requirements, you should get started now toward earning your nursing degrees. Once you’ve earned your RN or BSN in two to four years and passed your state’s licensing examination, you’ll need at least a master’s degree in nursing if not a doctoral degree. Nurse researchers must also have advanced knowledge of a wide variety of nursing topics, in addition to knowledge of pathology, pharmacology, anatomy, and physiology.

According to, the average nurse researcher salary is $62,115. This can vary greatly based not only on experience and location, but also on industry and employer. According to Scrubs magazine online, their salaries can reach closer to six figures, rivaling some of the highest paid nurse specialists. As with all nursing jobs, the outlook is excellent. Healthcare is projected to grow extensively for many years as the country struggles to provide adequate care for the expanding aging population. Medical research is ongoing, and as a nurse researcher you can have a place in the important field of medical research.

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(Sources: National Institute for Nurse Research,,