Everything I did up until I became a research nurse prepared me for what was to come.
The varying degree of emotions a nurse experiences on a daily basis is unrivaled by any other occupation. There are moments of happiness and moments of sorrow; moments of laughter and moments of fear. But through the tears of joy and the tears of pain – I`m always proud to be called a nurse. These are the top ten things I love about being a research nurse:
1. The knowledge. I think one of the coolest things about being a research nurse is all the stuff crammed into my brain. It’s insane! The field is always changing, evolving, and progressing, and it’s pretty exciting to be along for the ride. Through the research studies I get a real satisfaction from knowing why something happens in the body and what I can do to help improve outcomes. Knowledge is power, and nursing know-how is the ultimate high.
2. Being a part of research healthcare. Research has come a long way over the years. Looking back at the first clinical trials done in the 1930s, and even just seeing how things have progressed since I became a research nurse twenty-three years ago is mind-blowing. I’m honored to be a part of such progressive care, and I am proud to be a small but critical cog in the great machine of clinical research.
3. Being a team member. Aside from being a part of the big picture of research, I am also honored to be a part of a smaller team at Medicor Research Inc. No one pulls together like a research team intent on making a difference and saving lives. I’m consistently in awe at the fluid motion of my coworkers during a busy vaccine clinic, or even how perfectly all the parts come together to make a patient’s research experience a beneficial and pleasant one. From the recruitment coordinator, to office support, to lab assistants, monitors, physicians, and research coordinators; all and more combine to make a person better than we found them. It’s amazing to watch and be a part of.
4. I’m respected. Ok, a lot of times I’m not, and I know we all get upset over unfair treatment, but you have to admit, overall nursing is a highly respected profession. I am consistently thanked for being a nurse, and I believe that the population in general understand and respect the work nurses put out on a daily basis. And that makes me smile.
5. I`ve learnt to live well. As nurses we know suffering. We are fully aware of how precious each moment of life is. Particularly in research, every sign and symptom is recorded in some way which gives me a restored appreciation of the cause and effect of medications.
6. People look to you for answers. Even if I sometimes get tired of so many questions, overall I must say I love it. I love being able to educate patients and non-nursing staff with my vast bank of knowledge. For patients it empowers them to be more active in their care which makes both of our lives easier.
7. I alleviate fear of the unknown. Being sick is scary, and I think my absolute favorite thing about being a nurse is helping to calm someone’s fears. By explaining what’s going on and what can be expected I make a huge impact on my patients’ emotional well-being and that of their family. Something about telling people what to expect makes the biggest difference in their experience, and it also makes me feel good.
8. I make a difference. I’m not bragging; I’m stating a fact. As a nurse I make a difference in the lives of my patients, and I can think of very few callings where you have the personal impact on people like you do in healthcare. You save lives, it’s a humbling experience, and it’s also a huge responsibility, but one I’m extremely proud to take part in.
9. Seeing people get better. In nursing you see some pretty brutal stuff, and the reality of death and dying can be crushing to a nurse’s spirit over time. So much sickness can be stifling, but research brings a story of hope and healing. It makes your heart soar. Seeing true stories of strength and survival spur a fire inside a nurse, and it helps our own hearts heal after seeing so much loss.
10. Hearing thank you. I started out by stating that nursing is hard, and it is. Really hard. But it’s also rewarding, and when patients, families and research sponsors use the golden words “thank you” it’s an absolute treasure. It’s an encouraging affirmation that offers appreciation and cultivates a motivating environment. Above all it’s a friendly reminder to research staff that their efforts are valued, and it brightens my day. I don’t need a thank you to do my job, and honestly miss hearing that phrase quite frequently, but when I do it makes my job more enjoyable than it already is.
Some days I feel unappreciated, over-utilized, and under-paid. Other days the little details of research drives me crazy! Research nursing is certainly not for the faint of heart. But all that seems to lose out in the end to my calling. My calling to be a research nurse carries me through the bad days, and it helps to remind me of all the wonderful things that make me absolutely love what I do.