What Does a Dermatology Nurse Do?
Nurses in dermatology provide patients with care and education concerning the treatment of wounds, injuries, diseases and conditions of the skin. These nurses can screen for skin cancer, assist with dermatological surgery, teach, conduct research and perform such procedures as biopsies, mesotherapy, microdermabrasion and chemical peels. The field of dermatology is incredibly vast, as skin is an organ, just like the heart or kidneys and the number of diseases and disorders are just as numerous as with other organs of the body. The majority of nurses in this field work for private doctor’s offices, usually with plastic surgeons or dermatologists. Those that work in plastic surgery offices generally assist with surgical and nonsurgical procedures for cosmetic issues, congenital deformities or injuries. Another professional route to take would be to work for a hospital in the burn ward. This would entail cleaning and dressing the wounds of burn patients, carefully monitoring and controlling pain, ensure patients breathing abilities and prohibiting the spread of infection.
How Can I Become a Dermatology Nurse?
One can become a dermatology nurse by first earning an LPN, associate’s (RN) or bachelor’s (BSN)degree in nursing. Then graduates must apply and successfully pass the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) to become a licensed nurse. The exam is a multiple choice exam that tests a student’s knowledge of infection control, health promotion, patient care and comfort, risk reduction and pharmacology. To earn a certification in dermatology, one must earn an RN degree, work for a minimum of two years in a dermatological setting, and receive 2,000 hours of clinical experience in dermatology in order to be eligible for the certification exam. This exam is also multiple choice and tests a student knowledge of dermatology, surgical dermatology, infections, acne, wounds and other skin related medical conditions. Successfully passing this exam allows a nurse to be Dermatology Nurse Certified (DNC). After this certification is issued, nurses must earn a set number of continued education hours in order to keep the certification or renew it. This ensures all medical professionals are up to date on the latest breakthroughs in their field. While certification is not necessary to work as a dermatological nurse, it does increase potential employment opportunities.
What Is the Career and Salary Outlook for a Dermatology Nurse?
The average annual salary of a nurse in dermatology depends greatly on the amount of education and experience one has, as well as the geographic location and hiring facility. Generally a nurse in dermatology can earn around $30,000-$75,000 per year. The field of dermatology is very diverse and nurses that focus in this discipline have a wide variety of settings, conditions and populations to work with. This diversity also requires dermatological nurses to be extremely knowledgeable about their field. They are the first line of defense for patients with skin diseases and disorders. And with technological and medical advances developing rapidly in this field, the demand for dermatological nurses is up and rising. Also contributing to this factor is the increase in skin cancer in the United States, which requires a great deal of experienced and knowledgeable medical professionals to deal with it. Overall, dermatological nursing is a promising and challenging career for nursing professionals.