Lots of nurses get into the field because they like to help people and they get deep satisfaction from the nursing duties that allow them to do that. Many nurses are also fascinated with science and with always advancing their own knowledge to help patients or to discover how nursing can impact lives in the most helpful and positive manner.
With so many nursing career choices, those who are especially inclined to dig into the scientific background and facts around nursing might consider a role as a nurse researcher.
According to the National Institute of Nursing Research, “Nursing research develops knowledge to:
- Build the scientific foundation for clinical practice
- Prevent disease and disability
- Manage and eliminate symptoms caused by illness
- Enhance end-of-life and palliative care”
Nurse researchers are typically removed from daily patient interaction, but their skills are no less crucial. Using their knowledge and education, nurse researchers build a career designing, carrying out, and/or interpreting the results from studies. Researchers may follow their own interests to find out how to best advance care or cures or they might fulfill the research needs of their organization.
Beyond a nursing education, nurse researchers must have advanced training in research methodologies so they know how to design studies and interpret the results in an unbiased and accurate manner. This training is often obtained during MSN studies or even in a PhD curriculum (researchers are often funded for their PhD work). You’ll be able to explore your interests by focusing on specific areas, whether that is a disease, pharmacology, a body mechanic, or medical devices.
Nurse researchers are an important piece of the healthcare puzzle as they are able to establish the building blocks to help patients have a better quality of life, to cure disease, or to make the tasks of medical professionals easier, more efficient, and more effective. With your research skills, you’ll be able to examine how to improve the lives of individuals, groups, communities, and specific populations to bring to light new information or to interpret old information in a new and groundbreaking way.
If you are particularly interested in the science behind nursing, finding our more about a career as nursing researcher can set you on an ideal career path. Associations like the Eastern Nursing Research Society or the Midwest Nursing Research Society are great places to start investigating.