Become a Flight Nurse
How to Become a Flight Nurse

Flight Nurse Overview

  • What You Will Do: Provide urgent care for patients during transportation flights, either in helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft.
  • Where Will You Work: Flight nurses may work either for civilian agencies, such as hospitals or trauma centers, or with all branches of the military.
  • Employment Projections: Nursing is expected to be the fastest-growing professions, with growth projected at 16% – 23%; employment outlook for flight nurses is excellent
  • How Much Will I Earn: The median annual salary for flight nurses ranges from $50,000 to $99,000, with an average of $68,000.
  • Requirements to Become One: Become an RN; obtain 2 – 5 years experience in trauma, emergency or intensive care nursing; obtain related specialty certificate training, such as Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS); obtain Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN) credential.

Five Steps to Become a Flight Nurse

  • Earn Your RN: You must earn an RN degree from an accredited nursing program; It is important to note that most employers require a minimum of a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree.
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam: All RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain licensure to practice nursing.
  • Specialize in Emergency, Trauma or ICU nursing: You must have a minimum of 2 years professional nursing experience in an emergency department, intensive care unit or trauma unit before you can apply for certification as a flight nurse
  • Obtain related specialty certificates; Employers prefer flight nurses have several certifications, such as, in part, basic life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).
  • Obtain Certified Flight Registered Nurse credential: Obtain this certification from the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing.

What is a Flight Nurse?

A flight transport nurse is specially trained to provide patient care during transportation via rotor (helicopter) or fixed-wing aircraft. Flight nurses provide comprehensive pre-hospital emergency trauma care, as from the scene of a motor vehicle crash, and hospital-level intensive care, as when transporting patients from one hospital to another. Flight nurses are integral members of an interdisciplinary flight team including flight medics, physicians and other health care professionals. Flight teams respond to disasters and emergency scenes, and transport critically ill patients beyond the range of ground transport. The flight nurse may be called upon to assist pilots with duties such as navigation or radio communications. Of course, the first priority is to the patient, and the goal of each mission is to assess, triage, stabilize and transport as many patients as possible to a medical trauma center able to provide optimal care for victims of such incidents. The flight nurse acts to document and track patients’ condition, provide care before and during transport, maintain all crew safety procedures, coordinate and supervise patient care assistants if needed, provide first aid if needed, and acquire and operate specialized equipment such as ventilators, infusion pumps, and monitors. At the beginning of transport, the flight nurse assists with onboarding patients, and safely securing them during the flight. On arrival at the destination, the flight nurse offloads patients and provides hand-off briefings for receiving staff.

How Do I Become a Flight Nurse?

The first step toward becoming a flight nurse is to become a Registered Nurse, earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) from an accredited nursing program. After graduation, you must obtain RN licensure by taking the NCLEX-RN examination in your state. Once you have achieved licensure, you will need to work a minimum of 2 -5 years as a staff nurse in an emergency department, intensive care unit, or trauma unit. Related specialty certificates needed include:

  • Basic Life Support (BLS)
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)

Additional certifications that may be required include:

  • Certified Transport Registered Nurse (CTRN)
  • Transport Professional Advanced Trauma Course (TPATC)
  • Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) or Critical Care Nurse (CCRN)
  • PHTLS (National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians Pre-Hospital Trauma Life support
  • ITLS (International Trauma Life Support)
  • Emergency Medical Technician EMT licensure/certification
  • Neonatal Advanced Life Support (NALS) or Neonatal Life Support (NLS)
  • Advanced Trauma Care for Nurses
  • Advanced Trauma Life Support
  • Advanced Burn Life Support
  • Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems
  • Hazardous material training, such as
    • HAZMAT Chemical/Dangerous Goods training
    • OSHA Hazardous Materials Awareness Certification
    • National Incident Management System – FEMA training

Finally, you must sit for the Certified Flight Registered Nurse Exam, from the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing, to become a Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN). Certification is valid for 4 years, after which it must be renewed by showing participation in approved continuing education programs. If this is not possible, the certification exam must be retaken.

Some employers may prefer, or even require a Master of Science in Nursing Degree (MSN) for flight nurses, with a focus on trauma/emergency nursing.

Where Do Flight Nurses Typically Work?

In the civilian venue, flight nurses typically work for hospitals or private medical transport agencies. They may also work for search and rescue organizations, fire departments, or federal government agencies. Flight nurses are active in each branch of the military, including reserves and national guard; U.S Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, and U.S. Army MEDEVAC flight nurses, Air National Guard, National Guard Army Medical Department, and USAF, Navy and Army reserve units. Military flight nurses are often deployed to support active duty troops in foreign countries.

How Much Do Flight Nurses Earn?

Nursing, in general, is identified as one of the fastest growing professions in the US in terms of salary, with a projected growth of 16% +, much higher than the national average. Specialty certification can increase earnings significantly; Payscale.com quotes a median average salary of $68,000 annually, with a range of $50,000 – 99,000 for Certified Flight Registered Nurses. This is dependent on the job, and the geographical area. Salaries are generally higher in urban areas, however, the cost of living is typically higher, as well. In addition, bachelor’s prepared nurses tend to earn higher salaries than nurses with associate degrees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the top five states for general nursing salaries are (range 96,470 – 81,380);

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Alaska
  • Oregon
  • Massachusetts

Flight Nurse Programs

At the undergraduate level, nursing programs do not address flight nursing within the curriculum. As a professional nurse, the nurse aspiring to become a flight nurse will need to pursue related specialty certificates, as previously listed. The Transport Professional Advanced Trauma Course (TPATC), from the Air and Surface Transport Nurses Association (ASTNA) is available online, or in workshop venues throughout the country.

At the graduate level, flight nursing is structured within Acute Care Nurse Practitioner programs. A program that specifically addresses flight nursing is:

Top Acute Care Nurse Practitioner programs include, in part;

What is a Typical Flight Nursing Curriculum?

Topics covered in the Transport Professional Advanced Trauma Course (TPATC):

  • Transport Physiology
  • Safety
  • Neurological Trauma
  • Shock
  • Thoracic and Abdominal Trauma
  • Trauma in Pregnancy
  • Pediatric Trauma
  • Legal Aspects of Transport
  • Trauma Due to Burns
  • Airway and Ventilatory Management
  • Crisis Management
  • Clinical skills – chest and c-spine x-ray interpretation, airway management, invasive procedures, and patient assessment.

The Flight Nursing Program at Case Western includes the following flight specialty courses in addition to the Acute Care curriculum:

  • Critical Care Transport
  • Emergent Care of Children
  • Advanced Internship in Flight Nursing

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care programs focus on topics including;

  • Advanced physiology/pathophysiology
  • Advanced management of acutely ill adults
  • Advanced pharmacology
  • Mental health issues
  • Advanced skin and wound management
  • Palliative care
  • Leadership and business
  • Research

The Role of the Flight Nurse in the Nursing Shortage

The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that employment for nurses will increase at a rate of 16% by 2024. There is a national shortage of nurses in general related to the Baby Boomer population entering retirement, and the increased health needs of the growing aging population. It is projected that the South and West will be hardest hit by the nursing shortage. The 12 states expected to have the most acute shortages are; Florida, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and New Mexico.

In terms of flight nursing, traumatic injuries are expected to increase, which will increase the demand for flight transport and flight nurses. Although there is not a great amount of turnover in this type job, new private organizations are opening, and are actively recruiting flight nurses.

Flight Nurse Resources

References

Become a Cardiac Nurse

Cardiac Nurse Overview

  • What You Will Do: Provide professional nursing care for patients with cardiovascular disorders and interact with patients’families.
  • Where Will You Work: Typically cardiac nurses are primarily employed in hospitals, in cardiac intensive care or post-operative units. Other venues include clinics, cardiovascular centers, or home health agencies.
  • Employment Projections: Nursing is expected to be the fastest-growing professions, with growth projected at 16% – 23%. Nurses specializing in cardiac care are in high demand.
  • How Much Will I Earn: The median annual salary for cardiac nurses ranges from $46,000 to $106,000, with an average salary of $66,000 – $68,000.
  • Requirements to Become One: Become an RN, obtain experience in cardiac nursing, obtain certification as a cardiac nurse.

 Steps to Become a Cardiac Nurse

  • Earn Your RN: You must earn an RN degree from an accredited associate degree (ADN) or bachelor degree (BSN) program. Many hospitals prefer a BSN degree. To further advance as a cardiac nurse, a master’s degree (MSN) is recommended.
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam: All RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain licensure to practice nursing.
  • Specialize in cardiac care nursing: On obtaining licensure, RNs seeking to specialize in cardiac care must first gain professional nursing clinical experience working with patients with cardiac disease.
  • Obtain Cardiac-Vascular Nursing Certification: You must have a minimum of 2 years professional nursing experience, with a minimum of 2000 hours of clinical experience in cardiovascular care within the past 3 years. You must also document 30 hours of specialty related continuing education within the last 3 years.

How Do I Become a Cardiac Nurse?

The first step toward becoming a cardiac nurse is to become a Registered Nurse, earning an associate (ADN) or bachelor of science degree (BSN) from an accredited nursing program. It is important to note that many employers prefer at least a BSN. After graduation, you must obtain RN licensure by taking the NCLEX-RN examination in your state. Once you have achieved licensure, you will need to obtain professional nursing clinical experience in cardiac nursing.

 To be eligible to obtain Cardiac-Vascular Nursing Certification (RN-BC) certification offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) you  must:

  • Hold current, active RN licensure
  • Have a minimum of 2 years full-time professional nursing experience
  • Have a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice in cardiac-vascular nursing within the last 3 years.
  • Have completed 30 hours of continuing education in cardiac-vascular nursing within the last 3 years.

Certification is valid for 5 years, after which it must be renewed by meeting the renewal requirements in place at the time of renewal, such as specialty-related professional development and practice activities. If this is not possible, the certification exam must be retaken.

Similarly, the American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine offers two levels of cardiovascular nursing (CVRN) certification:

  • CVRN Level 1 for Non-Acute Cardiology Care
  • CVRN Level 2 for Acute Cardiology Care

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Current, active RN licensure
  • A minimum of 2 years experience providing professional nursing care in a specialty-related setting.

This certification is valid for 3 years. Recertification requires 30 hours of cardiology-related continuing education. If this is not possible, the certification exam must be retaken.

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses offers further certifications; Cardiac Medicine Certification (CMC), and Cardiac Surgery Certification (CSC), for nurses who have a nationally recognized nursing specialty certification. In addition to a specialty certification, eligibility requirements include:

  • Current, active RN licensure
  • Professional practice for 1,750 providing direct care to acutely/critically ill adults, during the previous 2 years. Of those hours, 875 hours must be in providing care to acutely/critically ill adult cardiac patients (CMC), or for cardiac patients within the first 48 hours following surgery (CSC)

Additional Ways to Earn Your Nursing Degree

Where Do Cardiac Nurses Typically Work?

Cardiac nurses typically work in the hospital setting, providing professional nursing care for critically ill cardiac patients in cardiac intensive care units or post-operative care units, caring for patients recovering from procedures such as bypass, angioplasty, or pacemaker surgery. Other potential employment venues include; cardiac catheterization labs, telemetry care, private clinics, home health agencies, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and the military.

How Much Do Cardiac Nurses Earn?

Nursing, in general, is identified as one of the fastest growing professions in the US in terms of salary, with a projected growth of 16% +, much higher than the national average. Specialty certification can increase earnings significantly; Payscale.com quotes a median annual salary range of $46,000 to $106,000 for cardiac nurses, with an average salary of $66,000 – $68,000. This is dependent on the job, and the geographical area. Salaries are generally higher in urban areas, however, the cost of living is typically higher, as well. In addition, bachelor’s prepared nurses tend to earn higher salaries than nurses with associate degrees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the top five states for general nursing salaries are (range 96,470 – 81,380);

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Alaska
  • Oregon
  • Massachusetts

Cardiac Nurse Programs

At the undergraduate level, specialty-related education consists of continuing education activities, such as conferences or online CEU providers.

Becoming a cardiac nurse practitioner or clinical specialist requires earning a master’s degree in nursing (MSN). The typical program consists of offering an APRN sub-specialty in cardiovascular nursing, or post-graduate certificate or fellowship programs. Some examples of universities offering a cardiology advanced practice nursing (APRN) sub-specialty or post-graduate certification include:

What is a Typical Cardiac Nursing Curriculum?

Continuing education at the undergraduate level focuses on broad range of related topics, including;

  • Dysrhythmias and EKG interpretation
  • Cardiovascular system anatomy and physiology
  • Assessment and diagnostic tests
  • Hematology
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • AV node ablation

At the graduate level, nurses typically begin with pursuing an MSN as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) or Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). Some programs do include a sub-specialty for cardiac nursing, or a post-graduate certificate or fellowship program beyond the MSN. These programs focus on aspects of cardiovascular disease management, including;

  • Cardiovascular diagnostics
  • Interventional cardiology
  • Cardiac health and performance
  • Electrophysiology
  • Vascular disease
  • Structural cardiac disease
  • Advanced cardiac disease failure
  • Adult congenital cardiac disease
  • Cardiothoracic surgery
  • Cardiac transplantation
  • Advanced pharmacology

The Role of the Cardiac Nurse in the Healthcare Provider Shortage

 The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that employment for nurses will increase at a rate of 16% by 2024. There is a national shortage of nurses in general related to the Baby Boomer population entering retirement, and the increased health needs of the growing aging population. It is projected that the South and West will be hardest hit by the nursing shortage. The 12 states expected to have the most acute shortages are; Florida, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and New Mexico.

Given that cardiac disease in one of the leading causes of mortality in the U.S., and with advances in cardiac care technology and the growing elder population, nurses specializing in cardiovascular care are in high demand. Employment opportunities are expected to expand, making this specialty a very stable career path for professional nurses.

 Cardiac Nurse Resources

References

Geriatric Nursing

Geriatric Nursing Overview

  • What You Will Do: Provide professional nursing care for older patients, helping them maintain independence, mobility and quality of life
  • Where Will You Work: Typically geriatric nurses are primarily employed in hospitals,  assisted living facilities, and skilled nursing facilities/long-term care. Other venues include outpatient clinics, retirement centers, or home health agencies.
  • Employment Projections: Nursing is expected to be the fastest-growing professions, with growth projected at 16% – 23%. Nurses specializing in geriatric care are in high demand.
  • How Much Will I Earn: The average annual salary for geriatric nurses is $68, 534.
  • Requirements to Become One: Become an RN, obtain licensure, obtain experience in geriatric nursing, obtain certification as a geriatrric nurse.

 Steps to Become a Geriatric Nurse

  • Earn Your RN: You must earn an RN degree from an accredited Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor Degree in Nursing (BSN) program. Many hospitals prefer a BSN degree. To further advance as a geriatric nurse, a master’s degree (MSN) is recommended.
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam: All RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain licensure to practice nursing.
  • Specialize in geriatric nursing: On obtaining licensure, RNs seeking to specialize in geriatric nursing must first gain professional nursing clinical experience working with older patients.
  • Obtain Gerontological Nursing Certification: You must have a minimum of 2 years professional nursing experience, with a minimum of 2000 hours of clinical experience in geriatric nursing within the past 3 years. You must also document 30 hours of specialty related continuing education within the last 3 years.

What is a Geriatric Nurse?

Geriatric nurses specialize in providing professional nursing care for older patients, typically age 50 and over. The primary focus for geriatric nursing is to promote independence, mobility, and quality of life for the elder patient. Geriatric nurses address psychosocial as well as age-related physiological issues, working with primary care providers, social workers, and families to develop an individualized plan of care for elderly clients. In addition geriatric nurses are important advocates promoting the safety and well-being of older adults, including issues such as elder abuse and neglect.

How Do I Become a Geriatric Nurse?

The first step toward becoming a geriatric nurse is to become a Registered Nurse, earning an associate (ADN) or bachelor of science degree (BSN) from an accredited nursing program. It is important to note that many employers prefer at least a BSN. After graduation, you must obtain RN licensure by taking the NCLEX-RN examination in your state. Once you have achieved licensure, you will need to obtain professional nursing clinical experience in geriatric nursing.

 To be eligible to obtain Gerontologic Nursing Certification (RN-BC) certification offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) you  must:

  • Hold current, active RN licensure
  • Have a minimum of 2 years full-time professional nursing experience
  • Have a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice in geriatric nursing within the last 3 years.
  • Have completed 30 hours of continuing education in geriatric nursing within the last 3 years.

Certification is valid for 5 years, after which it must be renewed by meeting the renewal requirements in place at the time of renewal, such as specialty-related professional development and practice activities. If this is not possible, the certification exam must be retaken.

At the graduate/advanced practice nurse level, the ANCC offers two certifications; Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certification.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Current, active RN licensure
  • Graduate of MSN or DNP Adult-Gerontological Acute Care or Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program
  • A minimum of 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours in the related nurse practitioner role.

Certification is valid for 5 years, after which it must be renewed by meeting the renewal requirements in place at the time of renewal, such as specialty-related professional development and practice activities. If this is not possible, the certification exam must be retaken.

Where Do Geriatric Nurses Typically Work?

Geriatric nurses typically work providing health care services within facilities targeted to the senior population, such as; assisted living, skilled nursing, long-term care, retirement centers, ambulatory care clinics, and home health, as well as traditional hospital settings.

How Much Do Geriatric Nurses Earn?

Nursing, in general, is identified as one of the fastest growing professions in the US in terms of salary, with a projected growth of 16% +, much higher than the national average. Specialty certification can increase earnings significantly; the median annual salary range for geriatric nurses is 62,070 to $79,232, with an average salary of $68,534. This is dependent on the job, and the geographical area. Salaries are generally higher in urban areas, however, the cost of living is typically higher, as well. In addition, bachelor’s prepared nurses tend to earn higher salaries than nurses with associate degrees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the top five states for general nursing salaries are (range 96,470 – 81,380);

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Alaska
  • Oregon
  • Massachusetts

Geriatric Nurse Programs

At the undergraduate level, specialty-related education consists of continuing education activities, such as conferences or online CEU providers.

Becoming a geriatric nurse practitioner or clinical specialist requires earning a master’s degree in nursing (MSN). The typical program consists of offering a specialty adult-gerontology nursing, either in acute care or primary care. Some examples of universities offering a geriatric advanced practice nursing (APRN) specialty or post-Master’s certificate include:

Discover Related Geriatric Programs

What is a Typical Geriatric Nursing Curriculum?

Continuing education at the undergraduate level focuses on broad range of related topics, including;

  • Demographic characteristics related to older adults
  • Models of care for older adults
  • Physiologic, cognitive and psychosocial changes of aging
  • Current treatment and prevention
  • Functional assessment of older adults
  • Fall risk factors and assessment strategies
  • Management of medications
  • Risk factors and signs of elder abuse
  • Principles related to end-of-life care

At the graduate level, nurses typically begin with pursuing an MSN as an Adult-Gerontolgical Acute Care or Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. Some programs do include a post-graduate certificate program beyond the MSN. These programs focus on aspects of Adult-Gerontological Nursing including:

  • Acute and complex chronic disease management
  • Optimal wellness, health promotion
  • Advanced physiology and pathophysiology
  • Mental health issues
  • Research and evidence-based practice
  • Healthcare quality and patient safety
  • Advanced skin and wound management
  • Palliative care
  • Advanced pharmacology

The Role of the Geriatric Nurse in the Nursing Shortage

 The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that employment for nurses will increase at a rate of 16% by 2024. There is a national shortage of nurses in general related to the Baby Boomer population entering retirement, and the increased health needs of the growing aging population. It is projected that the South and West will be hardest hit by the nursing shortage. The 12 states expected to have the most acute shortages are; Florida, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and New Mexico.

Given the growing elder population, nurses specializing in geriatric care are will be in greater demand, with a higher than average growth rate than for nursing in general. Employment opportunities are expected to expand, making this specialty a very stable career path for professional nurses.

 Geriatric Nurse Resources

References

How to Become a Hospice Nurse

Hospice Nurse Overview

  • What You Will Do: Provide professional nursing care for terminally ill patients, ensuring their quality of life during their remaining time.
  • Where Will You Work: Typically hospice nurses are primarily employed in hospice centers or home care agencies, hospitals, or in long-term care facilities.
  • Employment Projections: Nursing is expected to be the fastest-growing professions, with growth projected at 16% – 23%. Similarly, the employment outlook for hospice nurses is excellent.
  • How Much Will I Earn: The median annual salary for certified hospice nurses ranges from $50,000 to $82,000. An advanced practice hospice RN makes an average salary of $96,000 per year.
  • Requirements to Become One: Become an RN, obtain experience in hospice and palliative care nursing, then obtain certification as a hospice and palliative care nurse.

 Steps to Become a Hospice Nurse

  • Earn Your RN degree: You must earn an RN degree from an accredited associate degree (ADN) or bachelor degree (BSN) program. Many employers prefer a BSN degree. To further advance as a hospice nurse, a master’s degree (MSN) is recommended.
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam: All RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain licensure to practice professional nursing.
  • Specialize in hospice and palliative care nursing: On obtaining licensure, RNs seeking to specialize in hospice and palliative care must first gain professional nursing clinical experience working with patients with cardiac disease.
  • Obtain Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing Certification: You must have a minimum of 2 years professional nursing experience in hospice/palliative care

What is a Hospice Nurse?

Hospice nurses provide professional nursing care for patients during the end of life. The term “hospice nurse” is used to denote both hospice and palliative care; the focus of palliative care is to provide relief from the symptoms and stresses associated with serious illness, improving the quality of life for patients and families. While palliative care is a component of hospice care, it is not restricted to end of life situations.

Hospice nurses provide holistic care beginning with admission to hospice care through the final stages of the end of life. On admission, the hospice nurse works to understand patients’ needs and establish eligibility for hospice care. The case manager direct and coordinate patient care, as well as care for the family, allocating resources and developing the plan of care. For care provided in the home, visit nurses follow up on the plan of care and related interventions, and ensure proper documentation of care and outcomes. Triage nurses act during an emergency, assessing the situation, identifying patient care needs and providing guidance. They inform the case manager, visit nurse and physician about the situation, to determine if an immediate visit is needed. Hospital liaison nurses work with hospitals and patients to identify potential hospice care providers and guide patient enrollment in hospice care.

Hospice nurses provide the highest quality of care for patients and for their families and caregivers. As a major tenent of hospice care is the principle that no one should die alone, hospice nurses work to ensure that at least one member of the hospice care team is present during the final hours of life.

How Do I Become a Hospice Nurse?

The first step toward becoming a hospice nurse is to become a Registered Nurse, earning an associate (ADN) or bachelor of science degree (BSN) from an accredited nursing program. It is important to note that many employers prefer at least a BSN. After graduation, you must obtain RN licensure by taking the NCLEX-RN examination in your state. Once you have achieved licensure, you will need to obtain professional nursing clinical experience in hospice/palliative care nursing.

To be eligible to obtain certification as Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPN), offered through the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center (HPCC), you must:

  • Hold current, active RN licensure
  • Have a minimum of 2 years full-time professional nursing experience
  • Have a minimum of 500 hours of clinical practice in hospice/palliative care nursing within the most recent 12 months, or 1000 hours within the most recent 24 months prior to applying to take the certification examination.

Certification is valid for 4 years, after which it must be renewed by meeting the renewal requirements in place at the time of renewal, such as specialty-related professional development and practice activities. If this is not possible, the certification exam must be retaken. HPCC also offers specialty certification related to pediatric hospice care and administration.

Advanced practice certification, as an Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (ACHPN) requires;

  • Current, unrestricted licensure
  • A master’s or doctor of nursing practice degree
  • Active practice as a nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist
  • A minimum of 500 hours of clinical practice in hospice/palliative care nursing within the most recent 12 months, or 1000 hours within the most recent 24 months prior to applying to take the certification examination.

This certification is valid for 4 years. Recertification requires meeting the renewal requirements in place at the time of renewal, such as specialty-related professional development and practice activities. If this is not possible, the certification exam must be retaken.

Additional Ways to Earn Your Nursing Degree

Where Do Hospice Nurses Typically Work?

Hospice nurses typically work with terminally ill patients expected to live 6 months or less, providing care in a variety of settings, most often in the patient’s home, or in a hospice care facility. Other venues for care include hospitals, and skilled nursing/residential care facilities.

How Much Do Hospice Nurses Earn?

Nursing, in general, is identified as one of the fastest growing professions in the US in terms of salary, with a projected growth of 16% +, much higher than the national average. This is dependent on the job, and the geographical area. Salaries are generally higher in urban areas, however, the cost of living is typically higher, as well. In addition, bachelor’s prepared nurses tend to earn higher salaries than nurses with associate degrees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the top five states for general nursing salaries are (range 96,470 – 81,380);

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Alaska
  • Oregon
  • Massachusetts

Specialty certification can increase earnings significantly. The median annual salary for certified hospice nurses (CHPN) ranges from $50,000 to $82,000. An advanced practice hospice RN (ACHPN) makes an average salary of $96,000 per year.

Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse Programs

At the undergraduate level, specialty-related education consists of continuing education activities, such as conferences or online CEU providers.

Becoming a hospice nurse practitioner or clinical specialist requires earning a master’s degree in nursing (MSN). The typical program consists of offering an APRN sub-specialty in hospice/palliative care nursing within an Adult/Gerontology care specialty. A post-graduate fellowship or certification are also potential options. Some examples of universities/programs offering hospice/palliative care advanced practice nursing (APRN) subspecialty or advanced practice fellowship or certification include:

What is a Typical Hospice Nursing Curriculum?

Continuing education at the undergraduate level focuses on broad range of related topics, including;

  • Clinical manifestations, expected progress, and prognosis for advanced disease states.
  • Evidence-based pain assessment and management interventions
  • Pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions available to manage symptoms
  • Ethical issues related to hospice and palliative care

At the graduate level, nurses typically begin with pursuing an MSN as an Adult Primary Care Nurse Practitioner or Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. Typically, hospice/palliative care is offered as a sub-specialty, or as post-graduate certificate or fellowship program beyond the MSN. These programs focus on aspects of hospice and palliative care, including;

  • Philosophy and principles of hospice/palliative care
  • Pain and symptom assessment and management
  • Patient advocacy
  • Chronic disease and prognoses
  • Education for patient, family and caregivers
  • Non-pharmacologic management of symptoms
  • Advanced pharmacology
  • Advanced hospice/palliative care clinical practicum

The Role of the Hospice Nurse in the Nursing Shortage

 The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that employment for nurses will increase at a rate of 16% by 2024. There is a national shortage of nurses in general related to the Baby Boomer population entering retirement, and the increased health needs of the growing aging population. It is projected that the South and West will be hardest hit by the nursing shortage. The 12 states expected to have the most acute shortages are; Florida, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and New Mexico.

Similarly, employment opportunities for nurses specializing in hospice and palliative care are expected to expand, making this specialty a very stable career path for professional nurses.

Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse Resources

References:

Parish Nursing

Parish Nurse Overview

  • What You Will Do: Provide care for the people of a faith community, working to promote wellness, with an emphasis on integrating faith and health.
  • Where Will You Work: Most parish nurses work in churches, but may work in other venues such as hospitals or social service agencies
  • Employment Projections: Nursing is expected to be the fastest-growing professions, with growth projected at 16% – 23%. However, there is no specific data regarding parish nurses.
  • How Much Will I Earn: While there is no specific data about parish nurse salaries, the average annual salary for professional nurses is $68,450.
  • Requirements to Become One: Become an RN; with a bachelor’s degree (BSN) preferred, then obtaining licensure as a professional registered nurse by passing the NCLEX-RN examination.

Six Steps to Become a Parish Nurse

  • Earn Your RN: You must earn an RN degree from an accredited associate degree or bachelor degree program. It is important to note that the BSN degree is recommended for parish nurses.
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam: All RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain licensure to practice nursing. See our NCLEX study guides.
  • Gain general medical-surgical nursing: The International Parish Nurse Resource Center (IPNRC) recommends that RNs should have 3 – 5 years or general med-surg nursing, and should also have knowledge about public health nursing and education, and patient counseling.
  • Seek Employment as a Parish Nurse: Parish nurses may be employed by or volunteer to work with a church ministry, or in another venue, such as a hospital, working with the chaplain services.
  • Obtain Parish Nurse Training: The IPRNC recommends that after gaining general nursing experience, RNs take courses related to parish nursing..
  • Obtain Parish Nurse Certification: Although certification is not a requirement for parish nurses, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers a registered nurse – board certified (RN – BC) credential in parish/faith community nursing.

What is a Parish Nurse?

Parish nurses provide care within parish/faith communities, incorporating religious beliefs, spirituality and heath care to promote healing and wellness among the members of that community. Parish nurses may provide health care services such as preventative health screening activities or may visit members of their community at home or in the hospital or long-term care facility. They may offer counseling about health care issues, or provide education, promoting preventative care and health maintenance. Other potential activities include leading support groups, making referrals for needed community resources, or volunteering in community service, such as shelters, or community kitchens. Parish nursing allows for autonomy, creativity and flexibility, and the opportunity to work with community health organizations, developing and enacting plans to establish healthy communities.

How Do I Become a Parish Nurse?

The first step toward becoming a parish nurse is to become a Registered Nurse, earning an Associate Degree in Nursing or Bachelor of Science degree from an accredited nursing program. The IPRNC recommends that individuals wanting to become parish nurses obtain the BSN degree, as BSN curricula include courses such as public health nursing, nursing management, nursing technology, and health care ethics.  After graduation, you must obtain RN licensure by taking the NCLEX-RN examination in your state.

The next step is to obtain 3 – 5 years general medical-surgical nursing experience, then work as a parish nurse, and seek training related to parish nursing. The IPRNC offers several courses that provide a better understanding about parish nursing. Some schools may also offer related courses. Also, it is important to have an understanding of differing religions, and how spirituality, religious beliefs, and culture combine to affect health care decisions

While certification is not a requirement, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) does offer a registered nurse – board certified (RN – BC) credential in parish/faith community nursing. Eligibility requires:

  • Current, active professional nursing licensure
  • 2 or more years of practice as an RN
  • A minimum of 1000 hours experience as a parish/faith community nurse within the past 3 years.
  • Meet two professional development categories, such as
    • Related academic credits
    • Presentations
    • Publication or research
    • Act as a preceptor
    • Professional service

Certification, valid for 5 years, is awarded by presenting s portfolio and completing an online application

Where Do Parish Nurses Typically Work?

Parish nurses typically work with faith-based ministries, but may also work in other venues such as hospitals or long-term care agencies, working with the chaplain services in those organizations. Many hospitals and other agencies are faith-based organizations, as well. Parish nurses can also work independently, providing spiritual guidance and health care for members of their own faith community

How Much Do Parish Nurses Earn?

Although there are no published data related to parish nurses salary, nursing, in general, is identified as one of the fastest growing professions in the US in terms of salary, with a projected growth of 16% or higher, much higher than the national average. Specialty certification can increase earnings significantly; Salaries are generally higher in urban areas, however, the cost of living is typically higher, as well. In addition, bachelor’s prepared nurses tend to earn higher salaries than nurses with associate degrees. The median annual RN salary for nurses is 68,450, but the range of potential salary can vary, depending on degrees and certifications held, and job location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the top five states for general nursing salaries are (range 88,770 – 102,700);

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • Oregon

Parish Nurse Education

Additional nursing specialty education for parish nurses include university or hospital-based post-RN parish nurse preparation courses as well as Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) level programs that integrate nursing and faith-based ministry.

Some examples of parish nursing programs include:

What is a Typical Parish Nursing Curriculum?

The IPNRC – Westberg Institute Foundations of Faith community Nursing Program curriculum, serves as a template for many parish nursing programs. Modules include:

  • Spiritualty
  • Professionalism
  • Holistic Health
  • Community

Specific topics addressed include;

  • Spiritual care
  • Prayer
  • Self-care
  • Ethical issues
  • Documenting practice
  • Behavioral health
  • Health promotion
  • Life issues of violence
  • Suffering and grief
  • Assessment
  • Care coordination

The Role of a Parish Nurse in the Nursing Shortage

The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that employment for nurses will increase at a rate of 16% by 2024. There is a national shortage of nurses in general related to the Baby Boomer population entering retirement, and the increased health needs of the growing aging population. It is projected that the South and West will be hardest hit by the nursing shortage. The 12 states expected to have the most acute shortages are; Florida, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and New Mexico.

Just as there is an increasing demand for nurses, in general, the need and demand for parish nurses is increasing, Faith-based nursing is especially attractive to more seasoned nurses, interested in a work environment that promotes body, mind, spiritual, interpersonal and community connections with a focus on holistic health care.

Parish Nursing Resources

References

Public Health Nurse

Public Health Nurse Overview

  • What You Will Do: Provide care for the people of a whole community, working to promote and protect the community’s health, with an emphasis on prevention and health education.
  • Where Will You Work: City/county/state health departments, Federal health-related agencies, correctional facilities, schools, and occupational health facilities
  • Employment Projections: Nursing is expected to be the fastest-growing professions, with growth projected at 16% – 23%. Opportunities for health educators and community health workers are expected to increase by 13% by 2024.
  • How Much Will I Earn: The median annual salary for Public Health Nurses (PHNs) is $51,000 – 60,000. This will vary according to degree and certifications, and the city/county/state of employment.
  • Requirements to Become One: Become an RN; this typically requires earning a 4-year bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN), then obtaining licensure as a professional registered nurse by passing the NCLEX-RN examination. Nurses seeking public health certification should contact the state Board of Nursing for information about requirements.

Five Steps to Become a Public Health Nurse

  1. Earn Your RN: You must earn an RN degree from an accredited associate degree in nursing or Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) program. It is important to note that the BSN degree is recommended for public health nurses, although some public health agencies will employ nurses with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN).
  2. Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam: All RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain licensure to practice nursing.
  3. Specialize in public health nursing: Obtain a staff nurse position in a public health-related agency or organization, such as a local regional health department or community clinic.
  4. Obtain Public Health Nurse Certification: BSN programs incorporate courses specific to public health concerns within the program, and graduates can then apply for certification through the state Board of Nursing (BON). Nurses seeking certification should contact their state BON. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers an Advanced Public Health Nurse – Board Certified (APHN-BC) credential, which requires, in part, a graduate degree in nursing or public health.

What is a Public Health Nurse?

Public Health Nurses (PHNs) provide care for populations and communities as a whole, recognizing that one’s health is affected by many factors, such as environment, lifestyle and genetic makeup. Rather than focusing on acute health care, PHNs work to help improve health and safety, prevent illness, and improve access to care. PHNs also provide direct health care services such as health screening activities or in community clinics, preventative care such as providing immunizations, and current and reliable health education for individuals or community groups. PHNs may also be involved in research and policy-making endeavors. The scope of practice for public health nurses include policy reform, health promotion and disease prevention, promotion of system-level change, and community-building.

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How Do I Become a Public Health Nurse?

The first step toward becoming a PHN is to become a Registered Nurse, earning an associate or bachelor of science degree from an accredited nursing program. The American Public Health Association Nursing Section recommends the BSN degree for entry-level public health nurses. However, some agencies will employ ADN-prepared nurses. After graduation, you must obtain RN licensure by taking the NCLEX-RN examination in your state.

Where Do Public Health Nurses Typically Work?

Public health nurses typically work in non-profit government agencies, such as county, state or federal Departments of Health. Other venues include community clinics, outpatient clinics, schools, correctional institutions, or with voluntary organizations, including the American Red Cross, the Peace Corps, and Doctors Without Borders.

How Much Do Public Health Nurses Earn?

Nursing, in general, is identified as one of the fastest growing professions in the US in terms of RN salary, with a projected growth of 16% +, much higher than the national average. Specialty certification can increase earnings significantly; Salaries are generally higher in urban areas, however, the cost of living is typically higher, as well. In addition, bachelor’s prepared nurses tend to earn higher salaries than nurses with associate degrees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the top five states for general nursing salaries are (range 96,470 – 81,380);

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Alaska
  • Oregon
  • Massachusetts

At present, the median annual salary for PHNs is $51,000 – 60,000, somewhat lower than for nurses in general. However, opportunities related to community health and health education are projected to increase by 13% by 2024, a promising trend for those with an interest in public health nursing. The range of potential salary can vary, depending on degrees and certifications held, and job location.

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Public Health Nurse Programs

The top 4 colleges offering a major in Public Health or Public Health Nursing, are;

These programs are advanced degree level programs, with requirements which include, in part a BSN degree and RN licensure. Public health/public health nursing programs may be offered online as well as in a campus-based venue.

Find additional nursing specialties.

What is a Typical Pubic Health Nursing Curriculum?

The focus of public health nursing programs include health policy and advocacy, population assessment, prevention strategies, program planning and evaluation, and multidisciplinary collaboration. Doctoral programs also address executive leadership, development of systems, generation of research evidence and the translation of research into professional practice.

Learn about nursing resumes.

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The Role Public Health Nurse in the Nursing Shortage

The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that employment for nurses will increase at a rate of 16% by 2024. There is a national shortage of nurses in general related to the Baby Boomer population entering retirement, and the increased health needs of the growing aging population. It is projected that the South and West will be hardest hit by the nursing shortage. The 12 states expected to have the most acute shortages are; Florida, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and New Mexico.

Just as there is an increasing demand for nurses, in general, the need and demand for public health nurses is increasing, as well, especially in areas that are medically underserved, and among vulnerable populations, such as in low-income areas. There is increasing awareness among government agencies of the role of the education and preventative services provided by public health nurses in the reduction of health care costs, over all.

Want to become a nurse leader? Find out more with these guides:

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Public Health Nurse Resources

References