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Masters in Nursing Clinical Research Specialist

One of the growing areas of Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) specialization is in clinical research. Generally the term refers to the research done by pharmaceutical or medical device firms on new products. The FDA demands that a rigorous set of protocols be met for testing new products, especially drugs, through three clearly defined stages. All of those tests must be documented, carried out under a set of very specific guidelines, and conducted in the latter stages with human volunteers. The Masters in Nursing Clinical Research Specialist degree provides training for RNs who are interested in working in the biotech or pharmaceutical development field.

A Masters in Nursing Clinical Research Specialist degree prepares an advanced practice nursing professional for participation in clinical trials. Stage II and Stage III clinical trials for new medications or for new applications for an existing medication require careful oversight by a trained professional and increasingly, those professionals are MSN graduates. Typically in a Stage III trial a medication is provided to a group of selected patients who have a condition that the medication is designed to treat. Another group of patients is given a placebo, and often a third group receiving no treatment or treatment with another medication is included as well. These test participants are tracked carefully throughout the course of the test with each checkup recorded in a database.

Some graduates in this field find employment in one of the nation's cancer treatment center, where there are always clinical research programs underway, either by commercial firms or by physicians working in research on their own. A search of the FDA database on clinical trials will show hundreds of ongoing tests in the field of oncology. Others may find opportunities in one of the many National Institutes of Health facilities or agencies, or at a university medical center where research is blended with medical training. The Masters in Nursing for Clinical Research Specialist can be an intriguing career choice for the RN that is interested in research rather than direct medical care.

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