Careers for Nurses in the Biopharmaceutical Industry

by Kristin Hudasek, B.Sc., M.Sc.

Nursing is a challenging and rewarding career. It takes a lot of perseverance and determination to become a part of this demanding career and carry it out on a daily basis. Nursing requires years of university education in addition to numerous dedicated hours working in hospitals, clinics and private facilities. Although working long hours can bring great satisfaction knowing that you are truly helping those in need, for many nurses it also present a great challenge in raising kids, maintaining family relationships etc. This article is intended to review additional ways nurses can utilize their knowledge and dedication to help mankind. There is a vast amount of potential for nurses to seek employment from the biopharmaceutical field, working to develop new drugs and treatments many of which may save thousands of lives. A nurse's educational background and related medical experience is recognized as being greatly needed when hiring and training for a career in biopharmaceuticals.

Overworked and underpaid is a common cry among most distressed nurses frustrated by an increasing number of work hours and a seeming shortage of support. Although not all nurses feel this stress and do find their work to be demanding but equally rewarding, a growing number of nurses are becoming dissatisfied with their chosen profession. ANA's( Nursing Satisfaction survey April 1, 2005) suggests that the trend in job dissatisfaction is decreasing but there still large percentage of those that are contemplating leaving the profession for one that is equally rewarding, offers greater incentives and less hours, such as those in clinical research.

On the other hand considering current trends in Biopharmaceutical Industry it is expected that major boom in new pharmaceutical products will occur within the next two years.

In order to accommodate this, the pharmaceutical industry is going to transition from pre-clinical R & D to large scale Clinical Trial work. As such, the industry is witnessing a sky rocketing demand for CRPs (Clinical Research Professionals)! In depth industry analyses shows that unless serious measures are taken Clinical Trial Sector will face major lack of professionals already in the next several months.

It is only logical for nurses to pursue careers in Clinical Research.

For example, nurse would make an excellent candidate for a position of Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) as this position requires a person with a life science or nursing background. A person in this position works closely with a Clinical Research Associate(CRA) to coordinate clinical trials, adhere to pre-determined protocols, liase with research staff and representatives at all levels maintain clinical trial data recorded at the clinical trial site. CRA conducts monitoring visits, ensures data standards are met, works with predefined standard operating procedures and guidelines. Both CRC and CRA positions often and preferably filled by nurses who posses the right qualifications such as BSc in Nursing, knowledge of ICH GCP Guidelines, professional training in Clinical trial Monitoring and site coordination. There are positions that above a CRA such as a Lead CRA and Project Manager that represent potential career growth for those who start in this field and next target for those that have spent several years in the industry.

Although a person with a nursing background requires the most important part of becoming part of the biopharmaceutical field, it is imperative to also supplement that knowledge with additional training. It is highly unlikely that a nurse would be hired based on that education alone as it is important that a person working in the biopharmaceutical field know the rules and regulations that govern the industry. Training courses are provided by numerous institutions that prepare a person with a nursing background for a career in the biopharmaceutical field. While some courses are offered through universities and some colleges, the program that may be best suited for a working nurse who is seeking career change is a training program that is offered over the internet as it provides an opportunity to learn at your own pace and is something that a person can tailor to his or her own hectic schedule together with personal attention of instructors. Training programs like those offered by Kriger Research Centre ( are a great way to obtain the knowledge you need to become a part of the biopharmaceutical field as well as working at your own pace. It also offers some clinical experience by participating in clinical trial projects and an opportunity to become a member of International Biopharmaceutical Association.

Nursing as a career offers wonderful opportunities to truly make a difference in a person's life and is one of the main reasons why many people chose this as a career. Although the personal rewards are great, a career in biopharmaceuticals offers an even larger number of people to potentially help and improve quality of life. For example, a person with a background in nursing who is part of developing new drugs or overseeing patient care during the course of a clinical trial has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people by helping to deliver new life-saving drugs to the market. Having highly trained nurses become part of the biopharmaceutical industry will bring a lot to future nursing careers as well as the nurse who wants the best of both worlds.

Biopharmaceutical companies are currently seeking qualified individuals to become a part of this exciting industry. Nurses provide a wealth of caring, knowledge and expertise that is needed for this industry to flourish. Although there are many clinical trials underway at the moment, there numerous other diseases and possible cures that still need to be tested. It is important that nurses consider participating in clinical trials in the quest for new and better cures. Not only does clinical research provide a chance to help others by finding cures for disease, it also provides a chance for a successful and extremely rewarding career.

Contact information:

Kristin Hudasek
IBPA Scientific Coordinator
International Biopharmaceutical Association (914) 206-4640

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