What Does a Pain Management Nurse Do?
Pain management nurses care for patients experiencing acute or chronic pain by assessing, treating and monitoring their pain levels. They conduct pain assessments by observing patients’ physiological signs and behavior as well as through patient self-reports. These assessments help to determine if the source of a patient’s pain is neurological, muscular, skeletal or visceral, what medical condition is causing pain and what treatments will be the most effective in managing it. When it comes to treatment, pain management nurses work alongside other health care providers consulting with them about the patients’ condition and coordinating their care. As these nurses are educated in pharmacology, they assist in the administration of medication as well as the monitoring of its possible side effects. They also serve as educators, helping patients learn appropriate ways to manage pain, educating them about prescribed pain medications and informing them about alternative ways pain can be relieved.
How Can I Become a Pain Management Nurse?
If you are interested in pursuing a career as a pain management nurse, you must earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), an associate degree in nursing or complete a nursing diploma program. You will then need to take the NCLEX-RN examination in order to earn a license to practice nursing in your state. You can then choose to further your education in pain management by earning a master’s degree or doctorate in nursing. Before beginning your career as a pain management nurse, it is important to gain experience working in areas like pain assessment and management, pain management education and research. Many pain management nurses choose to demonstrate their expertise by becoming certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The center grants certification for qualified nurses who fulfill all eligibility requirements and pass a certification exam. The exam covers topics relevant to the management of pain, such as the foundation of pain, pain assessment and reassessment, interventions and patient/family education and collaboration.
What Is the Career and Salary Outlook for a Pain Management Nurse?
Pain management nurses work with a variety of patients who are experiencing pain due to disease or injury. Given the range of medical areas pain management experts are needed in, the career outlook for these types of specialized nurses is positive. Pain management nurses can choose to work in a variety of environments like hospitals, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and emergency departments. At the entry level those in the field of pain management can be employed as staff nurses, clinical nurses, and patient care assistants. Advanced practice pain management nurses, who have additional education and training, can be pain management specialists, pain management nurse practitioners, and pain management nursing supervisors. The salary outlook for pain management nurses depends on the rank of position, as well as the type, size, and location of the employer. According to PayScale, the median annual wages of registered nurses ranges from $46,818 to $67,106. For nurses who specialize in specific areas of nursing, such as pain management, that annual salary can increase depending on education and skill level.