What Does a Plastic Surgery Nurse Do?
As the name suggests, plastic surgery nurses work in the field of plastic surgery. These nurses care for patients who are about to undergo plastic surgery as well as those who are recovering from the procedure. They even work in the surgery room alongside surgeons, acting as an extra pair of hands to help surgeons with the procedure so that it may be completed as quickly, efficiently, and safely as possible. Oftentimes, these nurses are also responsible for prepping the surgery room before the surgery team arrives with the patient. Their duties to patients about to undergo plastic surgery are to explain the procedures to them, answer any questions the patient may have, and get the patient ready for anesthesia, as well as sterilizing the area to be operated on. After the operation, these nurses walk patients through the recovery process as well as dress wounds to prevent infection and further tissue damage. All in all, their duties are largely the same as other nurses working in the surgical field, except that the patients they deal with are limited to those who need or have undergone plastic and reconstructive surgeries.
How Can I Become a Plastic Surgery Nurse?
Only registered nurses can become plastic surgery nurses, so those interested in joining the field should look into earning their registered nursing license. To do so, prospective nurses need to earn either an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. After completing an accredited and approved nursing program, nursing students will need to successfully complete the NCLEX-RN examination to gain licensure. Typically, nursing programs will not have too many classes devoted to plastic surgery, so nurses should choose classes that focus on similar related topics like general surgery and patient recovery. Most plastic surgery facilities prefer to hire nurses who have experience working on surgical teams, such as those who have previously worked in emergency rooms and hospitals. Nurses can boost their chances of employment by gaining voluntary certification through the American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses or another respected organization. This proves that they have achieved a standard of plastic surgery education and practice, meaning they are more likely to perform well in a professional setting than a nurse without credentials.
What Is the Career and Salary Outlook for a Plastic Surgery Nurse?
The field of nursing is the biggest employer in the health care industry. Approximately 2.6 million jobs belong to registered nurses, and that number is projected to grow in the upcoming years. Undoubtedly, job opportunities for plastic surgery nurses will increase as well, especially as plastic surgery techniques and technology advances. The cost of plastic surgery should begin to decline due to the increasing number of qualified plastic surgeons, drawing in even more patients. In addition, with more injuries and other disfiguring ailments now being treatable, cosmetic surgery will increase in popularity to keep up with demand for reconstructive surgery. These nurses earn about $55,000 to $60,000 annually, according to Pay Scale, though the exact earnings for any nurse will vary depending on the nurse’s years of experience, education level, employer, and geographic location. For example, nurses who work in bustling urban areas will typically be paid more than those working in suburban establishments.