How to Become a Drug Safety Nurse


A drug safety nurse can also be referred to as a drug safety associate and is responsible for keeping checks and balances on marketed pharmaceutical drugs and products. In this context, once the pharmaceutical drug or product is released into the market, its performance, usage, effects and feedback must be carefully collected and monitored by drug safety nurses.

A drug safety nurse is actually a disciple of the pharmacovigilance category of medicine. This term defines a pharmacological science which deals with the gathering, analysis, inspection and prevention of all possible negative effects associated with pharmaceutical products. The purpose here is for drug safety nurses to keep a sharp look out for adverse drug reactions (ADRs) of those products that are in distribution in the market. Here, adverse reactions can be categorized as unintended reactions or responses to consumption.

The effects on the human mind and body after the consumption of a pharmaceutical drug must be strictly monitored and cataloged so that companies are fully aware of the performance of their products. In case some unexpected or undesired events transpire, these products can immediately be recalled. Furthermore, it is an opportunity for pharmaceutical giants to gather data and improve their products. It is a career for people who have a great sense of responsibility and an appreciation for quality. If this line of work appeals to you then you should become a drug safety nurse for the betterment of the medical industry.

Job Duties

The job duties of a drug safety nurse are quite specific and simple. The list below should serve as a general outline should you be interested in becoming a drug safety nurse. Actual job duties may slightly deviate depending on factors such as market size, product category, company size and so on. Most of your job duties will require that you are supervised and working with a senior professional.

  • Conduct trials and assessments on pharmaceutical products and drugs under supervision
  • Compile and provide accurate reports on product usage to chief pharmaceutical officers
  • Accurately identify any ADRs (adverse drug reactions) that consumers may encounter. This requires being in regular contact with consumers and conducting frequent follow-ups. Creating an information sharing network may be required
  • Conduct primary and secondary research on specific cases, drugs, products for the purpose of staying up-to-date and well versed with the industry customs, rules and regulations
  • Produce well-written case descriptions and narratives that will be viewed by your superiors
  • Be informed of product labels and ingredients – at the same time ensure that the consumer is equally informed of such details
  • Monitor a patient that is under treatment over a specific timeline. All relevant  information pertaining to the treatment must be documented and archived for further use and reference
  • A constant communication channel with the pharmaceutical lab and company must be maintained so that they are constantly aware of your findings
  • If dealing with a first-time patient or customer, you must thoroughly and effectively brief them on product usage, cautions and any possible side-effects
  • Ensure that existing problems and concerns are not repeated in new product trials

Career Outlook

This line of work is taken extremely seriously especially given the fact that human lives are at stake. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment prospects for nurses are on the rise. With the fast speed at which large and small scaled pharmaceutical companies are launching new products and pharmaceutical drugs into the market, there is an equally steep requirement for drug safety nurses to keep checks and balances on such products.

Salary Prospects

The average annual salary for a drug safety nurse is about $52,000 ( Your salary and benefits will depend on the size and scope of the company you work for. Large private pharmaceutical companies in the corporate sector tend to pay well. Naturally as your level of experience increases coupled with your work ethic, your earning potential may also rise.

Education Requirements

The medical field places a very strong emphasis on education and licensing because a certain standard of market excellence must be maintained. Commonly, candidates are required to possess an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited program – such programs are able to give candidates a broad exposure to various medical disciplines. After the degree, you must become a licensed nurse by clearing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). It is a bonus for interested candidates if they possess some training in pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical safety which is commonly known as pharmacovigilance as stated above.

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