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.
Medical Science Liaison (MSL)
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 (CRA)
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.