Nurse Advisor and similar roles within the Pharmaceutical Industry

Have you ever seen a Nurse Advisor, a Clinical Specialist, a Clinical Support Specialist, or a Clinical Trainer post advertised in the RCN or on a jobsite and asked yourself – “That sounds interesting. What do these roles actually mean?”

As a general rule they are non-commercial, i.e. non-promotional roles that rely heavily upon the Clinical experience and expertise of a Nurse with relevant experience, interest and qualifications in a particular Clinical/Therapeutic area.

They all tend to be field based roles, so you will work from home and travel to GP surgeries, clinics, hospitals or PCT offices usually within your locality. Some overnight stays may be required occasionally and a degree of flexibility is a must. You will be required to work to very high standards in line with the ABPI code of conduct, and according to your company’s own stringent Standard Operating Procedures, but these roles tend to be very rewarding on a professional level and give you the satisfaction of having a high degree of autonomy when operating in the field.

Examples of the areas of expertise that these roles involve include: Diabetes, Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and Coronary Heart Disease. The role would normally involve working in just one of these areas.

Most Nurse Advisors (and similar) are employed directly by either Pharmaceutical companies or Healthcare and Device manufacturers. There are some companies who assemble teams of these Nurse Advisors and deploy them to carry out exactly those same kinds of role on behalf of a client (e.g. a Pharmaceutical company who manufactures an asthma inhaler) – these personnel are employed by the third party company rather than the Pharmaceutical Company. These ‘teams’ are becoming increasingly popular in this sector. There is little to choose between being employed by one or the other actually.

The roles themselves vary widely. Some examples include:
• Managing health outcomes in Type II Diabetes including initiating patient on injecatble therapies
• Asthma nurses- identifying patients with poorly controlled asthma
• COPD nurses- running patient clinics and making treatment recommendations to their GP
• Training hospital nurses on use of infusion systems

To apply for these roles you will need to be currently registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, hold diplomas in the relevant clinical/therapeutic area, ideally have a teaching qualification and have a minimum of five years post-registration experience. And, as the role involves driving you will need a current Full Driving Licence with no more than six points on it.

The roles will usually reward you with a package of between £25,000 to £40,000, plus corporate benefits such as a company car, private healthcare, company pension, mobile phone, laptop and many roles attract performance related bonuses too.

Many nurses who have entered the Pharmaceutical or Healthcare industry via this route have gone on to forge extremely successful and rewarding careers in the industry.


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