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Nursing Careers Beyond the Hospital

Nursing Careers Beyond the Hospital

By Cindy Mehallow | Monster Contributing Writer

Research Nurse

Research nurses are the eyes, ears and hands that conduct much of today’s clinical research. Working with the principal investigator and research coordinators, staff research nurses participate in clinical trials that evaluate new drugs and medical devices. They evaluate potential studies, screen and schedule patients, conduct patient visits according to protocols, review patient progress and help report study results.

These nurses typically work in academic medical centers, educational institutions, pharmaceutical companies and private research foundations, but private-practice physicians are now also hiring research nurses.

Research nurses generally enjoy positive, long-term relationships with patients and garner the appreciation of physicians, says Kristine Brindak, BSN, RN, patient service manager for the clinical research unit at the Institute for Human Performance at The State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York.

Plus, the work is exciting. “We know we are contributing to the future of medicine,” Brindak says. “We’re on the cutting edge.”

More Paths to Explore

Other nurses successfully launch second careers as:

* Case Managers: Distinct from hospital case managers who coordinate patient care, these professionals work for managed-care companies, home-care agencies, nursing agencies and management-services organizations to minimize duplication of care and services and maximize clinical and financial outcomes. These employers value nurses who understand Medicare/Medicaid regulations, managed-care guidelines and the care guidelines issued by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Case managers also must be proficient in criteria issued by InterQual and Millman & Robertson, two leading developers of level-of-care guidelines.

*Pharmaceutical, Medical Equipment and Supply Educators: These nurses educate the hospital staff members who will be using the endless stream of new medical equipment, supplies and pharmaceuticals.

*Telemedicine Nurses: Interacting with patients via phone or Internet, these nurses advise managed-care subscribers based on physician-developed protocols. Academic medical centers often employ nurses as research assistants to perform telephone consultations with patients participating in clinical trials.

*Nurse Educators: Nurses are in great demand to join the ranks of nursing-school faculty and to teach in community-college diploma programs.

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