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Clinical research nursing: an introduction

Anne Croudass - RN MSc Lead Research Nurse Cancer Research UK Sandie Wellman - RN MSc Lead NMAHPs clinical research delivery Oxford University Hospitals First published: Last updated:


Clinical research is an evidence-based method of deciding whether a new approach to treatment or care is better than the current standard. Clinical research nurses play a vital role in delivering this research, which ultimately improves patient care and treatment pathways (Bevans et al, 2011).

Clinical research nurses ensure that patients are supported and cared for while participating in a clinical trial. They act as patient advocates, have strong clinical skills, and guide and support patients through the clinical trial. A five-dimensional model of research nursing describes the underlying functions of the role:

  1. clinical practice
  2. human subject protection
  3. care coordination and continuity
  4. study management
  5. contributing to the science (Bevans et al, 2011)

Clinical research requires nurses to fulfil their clinical nursing role while also acting as data collectors and safety reporters.

The Clinical Research Nurse and Midwife Census 2021 found that 7022 clinical research nurses were working across

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Anne Croudass

Sandie Wellman

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