The Role of a Clinical Research Nurse: The Impact of Working Remotely

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Clinical research nurses (CRNs) are an integral part of clinical trials and have a responsibility to care for research patients, collaborate within multidisciplinary teams, and manage protocol adherence. CRNs are often the hub of a multidisciplinary research team, and it is important to understand any changes to the clinical research nurse (CRN) role brought on by the shift to remote work. In the United States, billions of dollars are spent annually on thousands of active clinical trials; yet CRN role participation in clinical trials continues to be widely unknown (Cline & Showalter, 2020). Leveraging the Erlandson et al. (1993) Naturalistic Inquiry method, this study explores the perceptions and experiences of CRNs who transitioned to working remotely due to the Coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and how the transition may have impacted their role. Eight participants were recruited using purposive and snowball sampling, who engaged in virtual data collection sessions between July and December 2022. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method and thematic analysis. Category designation started with thirty-eight data themes that were categorized into twelve subcategories, that were further analyzed to produce three major categories. Study findings suggest that CRNs who transition to remote work navigated complex situations including role adaptation, and impact to clinical trials and the CRN psyche.