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Research Nurse | Overview

The specialty practice of clinical research nursing focuses on the nursing care provided to research participants, as well as activities that support protocol implementation. The clinical research nurse has in-depth knowledge of Good Clinical Practice (GCP), federal regulations that guide research, the details of study protocols that they are supporting, along with clinical knowledge and judgment. This combined training gives research nurses unique abilities and insight related to clinical trial implementation and subject protection, particularly for trials involving medically-complex populations. The model within which research nurses render care at Boston Children's Hospital is the Synergy Model, which matches individual nurse competencies with patient needs.

Education Videos

View the library of recorded education presentations.


Education resources

NIH role delineation project A role delineation project was completed at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (NIH CC) in 2007. The project defined the scope of the clinical research nursing specialty practice as including the practice of two nursing roles: clinical research nurses and research nurse coordinators. The project described research nursing as having five dimensions: clinical practice, human subjects’ protection, contributing to the science, care coordination and continuity, and study management. Distinct categories of activities were identified in each of the dimensions. Read “Building the Foundation for Clinical Research Nursing: Domain Of Practice For The Specialty Of Clinical Research Nursing” to learn more about this project that helped define the practice of research nursing.
Competencies for clinical research professionals

Job competencies are the essential knowledge, skills and behaviors that are required to succeed in a particular job or role. The ICCTR developed competencies for Boston Children’s clinical research professionals. The competencies, along with the supporting learning activities for each competency, can be viewed by accessing the "Training Manual for BCH Clinical Research Professionals” and the “Letter for Supervisors and Mentors."

Clinical research education opportunities  View the calendar of upcoming clinical research education opportunities (VPN).
Clinical Research Virtual Mentor Email the Clinical Research Virtual Mentor for real-time answers to clinical research questions. Questions are answered in one day or less. 
Professional organizations

The International Association of Clinical Research Nurses (IACRN) is a professional nursing organization dedicated to supporting educational and professional needs of clinical research nurses (CRNs).

The Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA), a professional membership organization, was developed to provide educational programs, certification and a forum for research professionals to exchange information. Read about the Boston Chapter, and contact Erica Denhoff, MPH, CCRP, the chair of the Boston chapter, for additional information. If you’d like to be notified of upcoming chapter meetings, contact

Research nursing specialty practice group meetings Research nurses from across Boston Children’s meet quarterly to discuss professional practice issues and participate in research nursing continuing-education activities. All Boston Children's research nurses are welcome to join the group. As a research nurse, we would love to have you join the group. Please email Cindy Williams, DNP RN, PNP, NE-BC, to be added to the research nurse distribution list and receive updates about the Boston Children’s research nurse meetings.
Are you a new research nurse who would like to have a mentor? Clinical research nursing is a recognized nursing specialty that requires skills and knowledge specific to research, in addition to clinical expertise. New clinical research nurses have the advantage of being mentored by an experienced research nurse, who serves as a resource, guide and coach. Please contact Cindy Williams, DNP RN, PNP, NE-BC, to have a mentor assigned.
Boston Children's Clinical Research Operations Certification Program The ICCTR offers the Boston Children's Clinical Research Operations Certification Program, which is designed for non-investigator study staff to gain well-rounded knowledge related to conducting clinical and translational research in compliance with Good Clinical Practice, Boston Children’s policies, and Massachusetts and federal regulations. Download the information sheet to learn about the requirements. Contact Erica Denhoff with any questions.