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Nurses Inspiring Hope

The Role of

Clinical Research Nurses

By Melanie Mudd

You might know the National Institutes of Health ( NIH ) as the medical research agency under the United States ( U . S .) Department of Health and Human Services . But did you know NIH also has a world-class clinical research hospital in Bethesda , Maryland … and nurses work here ? Pioneering medical research at the NIH Clinical Center has improved the lives of millions of people around the world – discoveries in the fields of cancer , HIV , schizophrenia , and infectious disease , just to name a few , go on to become standard of care treatment modalities in the community ( NIH Clinical Center , 2023a ). Behind the success of these discoveries are nurses armed with a unique set of knowledge and skills to support the testing of new treatments and therapies in human subjects ( NIH , 2023 ). In this article , you will learn about the nursing specialty of clinical research nursing and career pathways within this unique profession .

Clinical Research Nursing – 5 Domains Where Compassion and Innovation Meet
Clinical research nursing is “ the specialized practice of professional nursing focused on maintaining equilibrium between care of the research participant and fidelity to the research protocol ” ( International Association of Clinical Research Nurses [ IACRN ], 2012 ). Nurses at the NIH Clinical Center were instrumental in leading efforts to define this unique specialty practice : the Clinical Research Nursing 2010 ( CRN , 2010 ) initiative led to the publication
of the landmark document Clinical Research Nursing : A Critical Resource in the National Research Enterprise ( Hastings et al ., 2012 ). This work defined for the first time , the domain of clinical research nursing , laying the foundation for its formal recognition as a nursing specialty by the American Nurses Association ( ANA ) in 2016 ( ANA and IACRN , 2016 ).
Clinical research nursing is broken down into five domains ; within each domain are nursing activities that collectively describe the specialty practice .
1 . Clinical Practice .
This domain is probably most familiar to nursing students as the provision of direct nursing care to patients and families in research studies . Nursing activities under this domain include :
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