What Does a Neuroscience Nurse Do?
Neuroscience nurses work with patients with brain and central and peripheral nervous system disorders, and care for their physical, behavioral, and cognitive needs. They provide specialized post-operative care for patients after neurosurgery and work with those that have experienced brain injury, neuro trauma, and spinal damage, as well as patients with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, meningitis, encephalitis and Parkinson’s disease. The nature of their work requires neuroscience nurses to be sensitive and remain calm as they treat patients who are often confused and restless, as well as those who have experienced severe trauma. Neuroscience nurses perform a wide variety duties like monitoring neurological exams, administering medication, maintaining health records, and consulting physicians about patient progress. They help patients by encouraging them to adapt to persistent neurological difficulties, and carry out treatments that both improve and support body functions in order to promote recovery.
How Can I Become a Neuroscience Nurse?
If you are interested in a career in neuroscience nursing you must first become a registered nurse by earning a bachelor’s or associate degree in nursing, or by graduating from a nursing diploma program. After successfully completing a nursing program, you will have to take the NCLEX-RN to become licensed to practice. To become certified as a neuroscience nurse you must take the Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse exam through the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses. To be eligible to take the exam, candidates must have experience working at least two years full-time, or 4,160 hours, in either direct or indirect neuroscience nursing practice within the last five years. The purpose of the CNRN is to differentiate between nurses who have a broad knowledge that goes beyond a practice and those who have only become experts within a particular area. Neuroscience nurses must be educated in all aspects of neuroscience and be able to apply that education to patient care. The exam covers the anatomy and normal physiology of the entire nervous system and its related systems, such as the vasculature, ventricle system and muscular system, as well as development of the nervous system and treatment of disorders in different age groups like neonate, infant, child, young adult or elderly adult.
What Is the Career and Salary Outlook for a Neuroscience Nurse?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of all types of registered nurses will grow much faster than other occupations, an expected increase of 22 percent from 2008 to 2018. Neuroscience nurses work in diverse, challenging and rewarding environments, such as hospitals, health care clinics, brain injury units, and intensive rehabilitation units. With new technologies and discoveries happening every day, neuroscience is a ever-changing field. To stay on top of the latest developments in the neurological care of patients, neuroscience nurses will need to take continuing education courses. By obtaining relevant experience and knowledge in the area of neuroscience, nurses can find a variety of advancement opportunities. According to PayScale, the median salary of a Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse can range from $74,000 to $86,000, depending on job position, such as charge nurse, registered nurse, clinical nurse manager and nurse practitioner.