Research Nurse
Addenbrookes Hospital


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Sarah Stearn works as a research nurse and describes this as "somebody who's done their usual nurse training but has then gone on to develop an interest in clinical research." She is motivated by "Getting positive feedback from people. Knowing that I've done a good job."

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Check out 16 videos about this career

average salary
The UK average salary is £27,011
average weekly hours
There are 39 hours in the average working week
77%  female  23%  male
The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment


Nurses provide general and/or specialised nursing care for the sick, injured and others in need of such care, assist medical doctors with their tasks and work with other healthcare professionals and within teams of healthcare workers. They advise on and teach nursing practice.


Qualification as a nurse is via a diploma or degree course, both of which are provided by universities. Courses comprise both theoretical and practical work, including placements in hospital and community settings. Full time diploma courses last three years; degree courses last three or four years. Accelerated programmes are available to graduates with a health-related degree. There is a minimum age limit of 17 years 6 months to enter training. Post-registration training is available for a range of clinical specialisms.


  • Assists medical doctors and works with other healthcare professionals to deal with emergencies and pre-planned treatment of patients
  • Manages own case load
  • Monitors patient’s progress, administers drugs and medicines, applies surgical dressings and gives other forms of treatment
  • Participates in the preparation for physical and psychological treatment of mentally ill patients
  • Plans duty rotas and organises and directs the work and training of ward and theatre nursing staff
  • Advises on nursing care, disease prevention, nutrition, etc. and liaises with hospital board/ management on issues concerning nursing policy
  • Plans, manages, provides and evaluates nursing care services for patients, supervises the implementation of nursing care plans
  • Delivers lectures and other forms of formal training relating to nursing practice.
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Employment status

Where to go next

Cambridge University HospitalsInformation and statistics for the health and social care sector. Sector Skills Council for Health Professionals

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Matt R

Sara S A research nurse is somebody who’s done their usual nurse training, but has then gone on to develop an interest into clinical research.  I think the word research puts a lot of people off, they immediately put up barriers and think – oh paperwork, that's boring, I don’t want to do that.  But for me it was always the sort of the scientific thinking behind the research that was always very very interesting. To start with in my early childhood I went to a private school.  I had a lot of support at home, but the wheels came off unfortunately when my parents divorced, and then I didn’t have that home support.  I then went to a local comprehensive school, and it was where I learnt that actually you could not work very hard and still get away with it.  So things were not so good for me at that point.  I started off leaving school just with A-Levels, I didn’t make it to University, and I went into the secretarial route.  Other things happened in my life which meant I had to rethink what I was going to do long term.  I thought of two things, it was either going to be nursing or speech therapy.  Speech therapy meant going to University for four years, so that was really out of the question.  Nursing on the other hand, you got a bursary, which was a liveable wage, and the chance to then flourish in all sort of other ways later on.  I then was able to use an opportunity where there was a job in the Oncology Department, and it was in that Oncology Department that I became interested in looking after the patients who were on trials, delivering some of their treatments.  And that – that led to my interest in trial work developing.  And I've sort of snaked my way through my career by doing that, looking for opportunities to further my interest in the trials work.  Professionally it was the best thing that I’d ever done, I've no regrets, and there are still opportunities for me to do other things if I wanted them.    So you know my pathway hasn’t ended even yet. Possibly the only thing that's held me back really is my own inhibitions, my own lack of self-confidence.   When there's been an opportunity for instance to do something really quite dramatically more advanced in my usual workplace I've quite often been reticent about that, because I've felt that I hadn’t got the academic qualifications to back that up.  I think what motivates me is getting positive feedback from people.  Knowing that I've done a good job. ENDS

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