Scope and Standards of Practice


PITTSBURGH, PA, August 8, 2016

Clinical research nursing is the specialized practice of professional nursing focused on maintaining equilibrium between care of the research participant and fidelity to the research protocol. This specialty practice incorporates human subjects protection; care coordination and continuity; contribution to clinical science; clinical practice; and study management throughout a variety of professional roles, practice settings, and clinical specialties. (IACRN, 2012).

The International Association of Clinical Research Nurses (IACRN) is proud to announce that the American Nurses Association (ANA) Board of Directors now recognizes clinical research nursing as a specialty nursing practice. In addition, the scope of practice statement for clinical research nursing was approved and the standards of practice have been acknowledged for a five year period. The scope and standards for clinical research nursing will be co-published by the ANA and IACRN and will be available in the Fall of 2016. The publication will contain up-to-date information for nurse leaders, educators and registered nurses (RN) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) caring for patients participating in clinical research.

Through specialty practice, the clinical research nurse (CRN) makes important contributions to the clinical research process, quality of the research outcomes and most importantly the safe expert care of research participants. Members of the IACRN have recognized the special contributions and unique needs of clinical research participants along with the specialty training necessary for the CRN to deliver high quality safe care to all research participants.

CRNs practice globally, their unique body of knowledge consists of specialized training in nursing care, research regulations, scientific process, human subjects protection and data collection, analysis, and interpretation. CRNs care for a wide range of research participants throughout the life span and across states of wellness and disease, in all settings. CRNs are integral members of the research team contributing to high quality research outcomes and are essential to the safe expert care of research participants.

About the International Association of Clinical Research Nurses

IACRN organized in 2008 for the purpose of defining, validating, and advancing clinical research nursing as a specialty practice and to support the professional development of registered nurses who directly or indirectly impact the care of clinical research participants across all clinical specialties. Current membership represents 11 countries on 4 continents. IACRN holds an annual meeting each fall.

Nursing World Shared Practice Forum

Watch two of our Board members discuss Clinical Research Nursing on an open access global forum. Although the context is Pediatrics, the focus is Clinical Research Nursing. Please use this as a tool to educate others on Clinical Research Nursing practice. Share the link with your colleagues!

Introduction to the Role of the Pediatric Clinical Research Nurse

Margaret McCabe, PhD, RN, PNP
Lorraine Hodsdon, RN Child, BSc, MSc
Vanessa Young, RN, BA

The monthly World Shared Practice event can be viewed through OPENPediatrics  ( - a collaboration with the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies). OPENPediatrics is free of charge and includes over 250 peer-reviewed videos, a question and answer component, medical calculators, downloadable protocols and references, small group capabilities, live chat functionality, and two simulators.

UK Research Nurses Make Discoveries Happen

Nurses have long been at the heart of health research, but only in late 2016 did the American Nurses Association (ANA) recognize clinical research nursing as nursing specialty practice.

For Linda Rice, a registered nurse and director of clinical operations for the clinical services core (CSC) of the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS), ANA's designation of a clinical nursing specialty for research recognizes the unique demands, expertise, and contributions of the type of nursing she's been practicing for 28 years.

Read Mallory Powell's full article on ACTS member Linda Rice and her team of specialized nurses here.

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