One major benefit of having nursing experience is the numerous and diverse jobs that are available. Although most nurses will practice in some type of patient care setting, there are a number of well paying jobs that do not involve direct patient care. The pharmaceutical industry (pharma) presents several options for nurses who are comfortable in a business environment and can apply their knowledge of healthcare and healthcare systems to support the objectives of a pharmaceutical company.
What Type of Qualifications do Nurses Need to Work in Pharmaceutical Companies?
Most pharmaceutical industry positions for nurses require at least a bachelors of science degree in nursing (BSN) and several years of experience. Nurse educators, professors, and researchers are a good fit for pharmaceutical companies. Nurses that specialize in a therapeutic area that the pharmaceutical or medical device company manufactures products for have a better chance of getting their foot in the door. For example, a company that manufactures drugs for acute care will seek nurses that have worked in critical care or the emergency room. While a company that manufacturers surgical products may welcome nurses that have worked in surgery. Another important reason why these companies want nurses as part of their team is the relationships that they have with key thought leaders in their area of expertise. After all, one major objective for pharmaceutical companies is building relationships with top influencers. Nurses that have the desired connections can find very comfortable and enjoyable roles in the pharmaceutical industry.
What are the Common Types of Jobs for Nurses at Pharmaceutical Companies?
Here are examples of pharmaceutical industry jobs for nurses. Select the links to view available jobs, employers, requirements, and apply directly.
MSLs positions have proliferated in the last several years. This role involves building relationships with key decision makers and educating healthcare providers about the latest research and treatment guidelines that impact use of the company's products. MSLs work closely with the sales and marketing teams to support the company's educational and product promotion efforts. This role involves giving one-one and group presentations. MSLs work from home and travel to meet with customers.
Clinical research associates either work in the main research facility or work remotely in the field. Their main responsibility is to facilitate enrollment, data collection and provide site support for clinical trials. They give presentations, answer questions about the clinical trial, and help investigators solve problems that may impede enrollment or data collection. This role may involve travel. Nurses that have experience in research are a good fit for the CRA role.
This is a great entry point into the pharmaceutical industry. Most companies tend to prefer PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy) professionals for this department but nurses can thrive in this role. These professionals develop responses and answer questions from healthcare providers and patients about the company's products. This job requires good writing, verbal communication skills, and a passion for finding answers to questions.
This a popular department for nurses. Drug safety collects, evaluates, and looks for signals in adverse event reports about the company's products. They are involved in clinical trials safety reporting, post marketing safety reporting, and they work closely with regulatory personnel. This is also a great entry point into the Pharmaceutical industry.
This department ensures that all the company's promotional materials are within FDA guidelines. They work closely with the sales, marketing, medical and clinical research teams to ensure compliance with FDA rules and regulations that govern many aspects of the pharmaceutical industry. Additional courses and on-the-job training will be required for this role.
Many nurses start their career in the pharmaceutical industry via sales because they already have the customer relationships, understand the therapeutic area, and if they can learn the business aspects they will succeed in this role. There is a lot of travel involved in sales and you have to be comfortable with making cold calls.
What are Nursing Salaries in the Pharmaceutical Industry
The pharmaceutical industry typically pays more than clinical practice. Pay will vary depending your role, experience and responsibilities. After adding bonuses, stock options or grants, a car (MSL or sales positions), and other perks, nurses receive better compensation in the pharmaceutical industry. You can research salaries for some of the positions mentioned above at salary.com and compare with your own salary.
Although healthcare professionals are trained for clinical practice they can leverage their training and experience in a variety of industries. Current practitioners can transition to the industry by leveraging their years of experience. Many nurses are enjoying wonderful and diverse careers within the pharmaceutical industry. The sky is the limit.
The following articles may be useful if you are interested in pursuing a career in the pharmaceutical industry.