Radiology Nurse

Radiology Nurse Overview

  • What You Will Do: Provide nursing care for the patient undergoing diagnostic imaging procedures and radiation therapy.
  • Where Will You Work: Radiology nurses typically are employed by hospitals, outpatient care facilities, and diagnostic imaging facilities.
  • Employment Projections: Nursing is expected to be the fastest-growing professions, with growth projected at 16% – 26%; similarly, the employment outlook for radiology nurses is on an upward trend, with an expected increased job growth of 19% over the next decade.
  • How Much Will I Earn: The median annual salary for radiology nurses ranges from $41,217 to $165,914, with an average annual salary of $91,000 for Certified Radiology Nurses.
  • Requirements to Become One: Become a Registered Nurse (RN) by completing an accredited nursing program earning an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), then passing the NCLEX-RN examination to obtain licensure.

Steps to Become a Radiology Nurse

  1. Earn Your RN: You must earn an RN degree from an accredited nursing program, earning an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). It is important to note that many employers prefer to hire BSN-prepared nurses.
  2. Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam: All RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain licensure to practice nursing.
  3. Gain Clinical Experience as a Professional Registered Nurse: It is important to gain clinical experience as a professional nurse, in preparation for moving into a specialty role.
  4. Seek Employment in a Radiology Nursing Role. You must have a minimum of 2 years’ experience to be eligible for specialty certification.
  5. Obtain Radiology Nursing Certification: Obtain this certification from the Association for Radiologic and Imaging Nurses (ARIN).
Become a Radiology Nurse

What is a Radiology Nurse?

A radiology nurse provides nursing care for the patient undergoing diagnostic imaging procedures and radiation therapy, as a member of the interdisciplinary team that includes physicians, specialists, and radiology technicians. Primary responsibilities in this role include assessment, planning, and caring for patients who undergo diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Radiology nurses also educate patients about what to expect during and after radiology procedures, counsel patients regarding their concerns about procedures, and educate patients and families about procedures and other treatment options. Other specific duties include:

  • Preparing the patient on the day of procedure
  • Initiating intravenous access lines
  • Monitoring vital signs and oxygen saturation during procedures
  • Administering special dyes/contrast mediums into patients
  • Administering barium enemas/solutions prior to procedures
  • Administering analgesia and sedation as ordered by physicians.
  • Operating radiology machines and at times reading diagnostic images
  • Reassessing patients after their procedure and providing care until they are ready to be discharged

How Do I Become a Radiology Nurse?

The first step toward becoming a radiology nurse is to become a Registered Nurse, earning at minimum an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) from an accredited nursing program. Note that many employers prefer to hire BSN-prepared nurses for this role. After graduation, you must obtain RN licensure by taking the NCLEX-RN examination in your state. Once you have achieved state licensure, you will need to gain clinical experience as an RN. Following gaining this experience, then seek employment in a radiology nursing role, in order to progress toward the Certified Radiology Nurse (CNR) credential.

The CNR credential is offered by the Association for Radiologic and Imaging Nurses (ARIN). Eligibility requirements are:

  • Current, unrestricted professional nursing licensure
  • Have completed a minimum of 2,000 hours of experience in radiology nursing within the past 3 years.
  • Have obtained 30 contact hours of continuing education applicable to nursing care of radiology patients within 24 months of the date the candidate sits for the exam. A minimum of 15 of the 30 contact hours must be specifically related to radiology nursing.

Certification is valid for 4 years, and must be renewed by meeting the eligibility requirements for recertification in effect at the time recertification is due, or, if certification is allowed to lapse, the candidate must meet all requirements for initial certification, including taking the exam, in order to become certified again.

Where Do Radiology Nurses Typically Work?

Radiology nurses work within a variety of health care settings;

  • Hospital/medical centers
  • Diagnostic Imaging centers
  • Outpatient facilities such as;
    • Wound Care Clinics
    • Endovascular Clinics

How Much Do Radiology 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 for radiology nurses ranges from $41,217 to $165,914, with an average annual salary of $91,000 for Certified Radiology Nurses. This is dependent on the specific job and employer, 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 – $102,700);

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Alaska
  • Oregon
  • Massachusetts

Radiology Nurse Programs

At the undergraduate level, specialty-related education consists of continuing education activities, such as conferences or online CEU providers. For example, the Association for Imaging and Radiology Nurses (ARIN) offers continuing education activities for radiology nurses. Examples of related topics include:

  • Imaging Review
  • MRI Safety and Patient Management
  • Asbestos Related Disease
  • Percutaneous Transluminal Angioplasty
  • Mass Casualty Incidents
  • Interventional Radiology Techniques
  • Enhancing Patient Safety
  • General Anesthesia vs Conscious Sedation
  • Imaging Modalities for Breast Cancer Screening
  • Interventional Radiology Patient Safety

At the graduate level, nurses pursuing radiology as a component of their advanced practice specialty earn a master’s or doctoral level degree in nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner, an Adult Nurse Practitioner, or a Clinical Nurse Specialist. Within the chosen program students may complete additional coursework in radiological sciences, and complete rotations in radiology and interventional radiology as part of the clinical practice component of the program.

Another option is to pursue a master’s degree in Radiologic and Imaging Sciences. Examples of programs for a master’s degree in Radiologic and Imaging Sciences include:

What is a Typical Radiology Nurse Curriculum?

For nurses pursuing radiology as a component of their advanced practice specialty earn a master’s or doctoral level degree in nursing, master’s level courses needed to achieve additional specialty education in radiology include:

  • Advanced Radiation Protection and Biology
  • Advanced Radiation Physics
  • Advanced Radiologic Quality Assurance
  • Pathology Across Radiology Modalities
  • Medical Imaging in the Digital Environment
  • Case Studies in Medical Imaging
  • Radiology Management
  • Advanced Imaging Modalities

Curricula for Master of Science in Radiation Sciences include courses such as:

  • Management of Imaging Informatics
  • Advances in Technology: Educational and Managerial Issue
  • Advance Practice of Radiologic/Imaging Sciences
  • Seminar in Radiologic/Imaging Sciences
  • Physics & Instrumentation
  • PET Procedures/CT Procedures
  • Noninvasive Testing Principles & Procedures
  • Invasive Procedures
  • Radiographic Physics & Instrumentation
  • Radiobiology & Health Physics

The Role of the Radiology Nurse in the Healthcare Provider Shortage

The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that employment for nurses will increase at a rate of 16% – %20 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.

The field of radiology and diagnostic imaging is a rapidly advancing area of healthcare, playing a critical role in diagnosing, managing, and treatment of a variety of conditions and diseases. As such, the employment outlook for radiology nurses remains very positive, with high demand for their specialty skills and knowledge.

Radiology Nurse Resources

References

Research Nurse

Research Nurse Overview

  • What You Will Do: You will work as a part of a team involved in clinical research studies evaluating patient care practices.
  • Where Will You Work: Research nurses may work in a variety of settings, such as hospital/medical centers, universities, pharmaceutical companies, research organizations and government agencies.
  • Employment Projections: Nursing is expected to be the fastest-growing professions, with growth projected at 16% – 26%; similarly, the employment outlook for research nurses is excellent, with a projected growth rate of 19% by 2022.
  • How Much Will I Earn: The median annual salary for research nurses ranges from $74,177 to $91,107, with an average annual salary of $82,708.
  • Requirements to Become One: Become a Registered Nurse (RN) by completing an accredited nursing program earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN),  then passing the NCLEX-RN examination to obtain licensure.

Steps to Become a Research Nurse

  1. Earn Your RN: You must earn an RN degree from an accredited nursing program, earning Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The BSN is the base level education for research nursing. Nurses with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing would need to bridge into an RN to BSN program.
  2. Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam: All RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain licensure to practice nursing.
  3. Gain Clinical Experience as a Professional Registered Nurse: It is important to gain clinical experience as a professional nurse, in preparation for moving into a specialty role. In addition, seek opportunities to participate in research-related activities, such as Quality Assurance or Infection Control.
  4. Seek Employment as a Research Nurse: You must have a minimum of 3000 – 6000 hours experience in clinical research nursing to be eligible for certification.
  5. Obtain Certification as a Research Nurse: Obtain this certification from the Association for Clinical Research Professionals.
Become a Research Nurse

What is a Research Nurse?

Research Nurses are involved in conducting healthcare related scientific research with the goals of improving patient care services and patient outcomes. Research nurses have knowledge of informatics, research design, and data collection and analysis. Research nurses may participate in research design within a research team, or for their own studies, as well as securing funding, recruiting participants and providing direct care for participants. When a research project has been completed, research nurses report findings to nurses and other healthcare professionals through written research reports or articles, or in speaking opportunities such as conferences or workshops. Specific roles and duties include;

  • Design and implementation of research studies
  • Observing patient care related to treatment or procedures,
  • Collecting and analyzing data, including managing databases
  • Reporting findings of research, presenting findings at industry conferences, meetings and other speaking engagements
  • Writing grant applications to secure funding for studies
  • Writing articles and research reports in nursing or medical professional journals or other publications
  • Assisting in the recruitment of participants for studies and
  • Providing direct patient care for participants

How Do I Become a Research Nurse?

The first step toward becoming an infection control 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 gain clinical experience as an RN. Following gaining this experience, then seek employment in a research nursing role, in order to progress toward certification.

The Association of Clinical Research Professionals offers two certifications for research nurses; Certified Clinical Research Associate (CCRA) or Certified Clinical Research Coordinator CCRC).

Eligibility requirements for CCRA are:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (or higher)
  • Minimum of 3000 hours performing Essential Duties;
    • Verify adherence to the clinical protocol, appropriate clinical practices and regulatory requirements related to the protection and ethical treatment of human subjects.
    • Ensure identification and reporting of safety issues.
    • Perform monitoring activities per the monitoring plan.
    • Review accuracy and completeness of research site records.
    • Ensure accountability of Investigational Product and related supplies.
    • Ensure complete reporting and correct documentation of monitoring activities.
    • Conduct routine monitoring visits independently from the investigative study staff.
    • Ensure the research site staff is identifying issues and implementing corrective and preventive actions to ensure inspection readiness.

Eligibility requirements for CCRC are:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (or higher)
  • Minimum of 3000 hours performing Essential Duties;
    • Report and document safety issues.
    • Participate in the preparation or review of documents exchanged with the Institutional Review Board (IRB).
    • Participate in protocol review or planning of study procedures.
    • Participate in conduction subject visits.
    • Collect accurate, verifiable data, source documents, and essential documents.
    • Prepare for and participate in audits and/or regulatory inspections.
    • Participate in the informed consent process.

Certification is valid for 2 years, after which it must be renewed by participating in continuing education/involvement activities, reporting 24 contact hours every 2 years, or successful completion of the current certification exam.

Where Do Research Nurses Typically Work?

Research nurses work within a variety of health care settings, including;

  • Hospital/medical centers
  • Universities
  • Healthcare research organizations
  • Pharmaceutical corporations
  • Government agencies
  • Research laboratories

How Much Do Research 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% – 26%, much higher than the national average. Specialty certification can increase earnings significantly. The median annual salary for research nurses ranges from $74,177 to $91,107, with an average annual salary of $82,708. This is dependent on the specific job and employer, and the geographical area. Salaries are generally higher in urban areas, however, the cost of living is typically higher, as well. In addition, research nurse with a Master’s degree (MSN) or higher, tend to earn higher salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the top five states for general nursing salaries are (range $96,470 – $102,700);

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Alaska
  • Oregon
  • Massachusetts

Research Nurse Programs

At the undergraduate level, specialty-related education consists of continuing education activities, such as conferences or online CEU providers. For example, the Association of Clinical Research Professionals offers basic level education, and resources needed for maintaining certification. Examples of related topics include:

  • Introduction to Clinical Trials
  • Introduction to Good Clinical Practice
  • Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC)
  • CDISC standards related to collection and submission of data
  • Implementing a Patient-centered Informed Consent Process
  • Best Practices for Clinical Trial Inspections
  • Ethics and Human Subject Protection
  • Understanding Clinical Trial Protocols
  • Managing Clinical Trials in an Electronic Environment

At the graduate level, research nurses have at least a Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN), or may progress to a PhD or Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree. An MSN curriculum will include courses related to reviewing and conducting research in conjunction within the specialty area. A more specific focus on research will be found in terminal degree (PhD or DNP) programs. Examples of graduate programs include;

  • Duke University, Durham, NC; MSN, PhD and DNP programs. PhD program focus on interdisciplinary research. https://nursing.duke.edu/
  • Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA; MSN in Clinical Research, Online Program – https://nursing.duke.edu/
  • University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL; Master of Research administration, Online Program – https://www.ucf.edu/online/
  • Ohio State University College of Nursing, Columbus, OH; Master of Applied Clinical and Preclinical Research, Online Program  – https://nursing.osu.edu/
  • University of Cincinnati College of Nursing, Cincinnati, OH; PhD in Nursing Research – https://nursing.uc.edu/

Related Careers: Nursing Informatics

What is a Typical Research Nurse Curriculum?

Topics addressed in Research Nurse curricula include:

  • Research Methods and Biostatistics
  • Evaluation and Translation of Health Research
  • Foundations of Good Clinical Practice in Clinical Research
  • Concepts of Clinical Research Management
  • Human Subjects Research in Biomedical Sciences
  • Management of Clinical and Preclinical Studies
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation
  • Descriptive and Inferential Statistics
  • Responsible Conduct of Research
  • Ethics and Research Integrity
  • Research Design and Methods

The Role of the Research Nurse in the Healthcare Provider Shortage

The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that employment for nurses will increase at a rate of 16% – %20 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.

Research nurses will be in continued demand, as their knowledge and expert skills are needed in the growing field of healthcare research. Research nurses will be pursued by pharmaceutical companies, research laboratories, universities, private companies, independent research organizations, and hospitals/medical centers.

Research Nurse Resources

References  

OR Nurse / Perioperative Nurse

OR Nurse Overview

  • What You Will Do: As a Operating Room (OR) Nurse / Perioperative Nurse, you will provide nursing care for the patient being prepared for surgery, work with the family, and as a member of the interdisciplinary surgical team.
  • Where Will You Work: OR nurses work in a variety of healthcare settings, such as hospitals, outpatient surgery facilities or physician’s offices.
  • Employment Projections: Nursing is expected to be the fastest-growing professions, with growth projected at 16% – 26%; similarly, the employment outlook for OR nurses is on an upward trend, expected to increase by 19%.
  • How Much Will I Earn: The median annual salary for OR nurses ranges from $61,500 to $124,000, with an average annual salary of $88,894.
  • Requirements to Become One: Become a Registered Nurse (RN) by completing an accredited nursing program earning an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), then passing the NCLEX-RN examination to obtain licensure.

Steps to Become an OR Nurse / Perioperative Nurse

  1. Earn Your RN: You must earn an RN degree from an accredited nursing program, earning an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Note that many employers prefer to hire BSN-prepared nurses, or may require an applicant to complete the BSN degree within a certain timeframe.
  2. Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam: All RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain licensure to practice nursing.
  3. Gain Clinical Experience as a Professional Registered Nurse: It is important to gain clinical experience as a professional nurse, in preparation for moving into a specialty role.
  4. Seek Employment in a OR Nursing Role. You must have a minimum of 2 years’ experience to be eligible for specialty certification.
  5. Obtain Perioperative Nursing Certification: Obtain this certification from the Competency and Credentialing Institute.
Become a Perioperative - OR Nurse Overview

What is an OR Nurse?

OR nursing is an umbrella term, related to differing nursing roles within a surgical department:

  • Pre-Op RN – performs duties related to preparing the patient for surgery, such as collecting vital signs, reviewing the health history, head-to-toe assessment, intravenous catheterization, confirming consents and other paperwork, providing emotional support and teaching for patient and family.
  • Intra-Op RN –
    • Instrument or scrub nurse – works with the surgeon, in the sterile field, selecting and passing the various instruments, sponges, and other supplies used during the procedure
    • Circulating nurse – manages patient care throughout the procedure form outside the sterile field, making sure that all supplies and personnel are at hand, ensuring a controlled environment and that anyone entering the OR is needed and documenting their presence.
    • RN first assistant – reviews the patient’s case before the procedure, positioning and draping the patient, and during the surgery assist with exposure, retraction, closure of the incision and other technical duties.
  • Post-Op or PACU RN – receives the patient in the recovery room immediately following surgery, monitoring the patient for complication as the patient is waking from anesthesia.

Specific duties related to OR nursing include:

  • Coordinate use of supplies, instrumentation and equipment for operative care
  • Ensure equipment is functioning correctly
  • Maintain patient safety standards
  • Monitor, and record patient’s condition and needs, and communicate with the interdisciplinary team
  • Manage overall care of the patient before, during and after the surgical procedure
  • Advocate on behalf of the patient
  • Document preoperative and intraoperative care to be delivered in accordance with the surgeon, hospital, and regulatory agencies
  • Evaluate, remediate and document the surgical environment
  • Provide patient care with an understanding of age, culture-specific needs
  • Address the biological, emotional, developmental, psychosocial and educational status of the patient and family, and address concerns
  • Coordinate professional development within their practice

    Performs core job functions with minimal supervision

How Do I Become an OR Nurse / Perioperative Nurse?

The first step toward becoming an OR nurse is to become a Registered Nurse, earning at minimum an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) from an accredited nursing program. Note that many employers prefer to hire BSN-prepared nurse for this role, or may require an applicant to complete the BSN degree within a certain timeframe. 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 gain clinical experience as an RN. Following gaining this experience, then seek employment in a perioperative nursing role, in order to progress toward the CNOR credential. CNOR is unique in that it is not an acronym, but a definition – “the documented validation of the professional achievement of identified standards of practice by an individual registered nurse providing care for patients before, during and after surgery.”

The CNOR credential is awarded by the Competency and Credentialing Institute (CCI). Eligibility requirements are:

  • Current, unrestricted professional nursing licensure
  • Have completed a minimum of 2 years and 2,400 hours of experience in perioperative nursing, with a minimum of 50% (1,200 hours) in the intraoperative setting.
  • Be currently working full-time or part-time in perioperative nursing in the area of nursing education, administration, research, medical-surgical nursing or clinical practice.

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 clinical practice activities. If this is not possible, the certification exam must be retaken.

CCI also provides the Certified Surgical Services Manager Credential, for those in a management role. Eligibility requirements are:

  • Current, unrestricted professional nursing licensure
  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree
  • Be currently employed (either full-time or part-time) and have a minimum of two years’ experience in a surgical services management role if CNOR certified, or four years’ experience for a non-CNOR certified RN.
  • Have completed a minimum of 30 or 50 continuing education contact hours depending on CNOR certification status in the two years prior to application.

CCI also provides the Clinical Nurse Specialist Perioperative Certification credential (CNS-CP) for advanced practice registered nurses who have completed graduate preparation (Master’s or Doctorate). 

Certification as a Registered Nurse First Assistant, for registered nurses working in an expanded role as a first assistant, is offered by the National Assistant at Surgery Certification (NASC). Eligibility requirements include:

  • Current unrestricted professional nursing licensure
  • Minimum education – bachelor’s degree
  • Current CNOR credential

Or

  • Master’s, doctoral, or post-master’s certificate in an advanced practice program and certification as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) by an accredited certification program.
  • Currently working full time or part time as an RNFA.
  • A minimum of 2,000 documented hours of practice as an RNFA
  • Completion of an acceptable formal RNFA program that meets the AORN standards for RN first assistant education programs.

Certification is valid for 5 years, and must be renewed by completion of the method of recertification in effect at the time recertification is due and meeting recertification eligibility requirements.

Where Do OR Nurses Typically Work?

OR nurses work within a variety of health care settings;

  • Hospital/medical centers
  • Outpatient/Ambulatory Surgery facilities
  • Physician’s Offices

How Much Do OR 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 for perioperative/OR nurses ranges from $61,500 to $124,000, with an average annual salary of $88,894. This is dependent on the specific job and employer, 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 – $102,700);

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Alaska
  • Oregon
  • Massachusetts

OR Nuring Programs

At the undergraduate level, specialty-related education consists of continuing education activities, such as conferences or online CEU providers. For example, the Association of perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN) offers continuing education activities for OR nurses. Examples of related topics include:

  • Emergency preparedness
  • Aseptic practice
  • Sterile technique
  • Perianesthesia nursing
  • Endoscopic and minimally invasive surgery
  • Safe administration of moderate sedation
  • Preoperative skin antisepsis
  • Perioperative assessment
  • Perioperative safety
  • Perioperative health care information management
  • Positioning the patient
  • Laser safety certification
  • Equipment and product safety
  • Cleaning, disinfection and sterilization
  • Barriers and personal protective equipment

At the graduate level, programs may offer a perioperative/OR nurse specialty as a primary track, or as a sub-specialty related to adult health or family health nursing. Examples of graduate programs offering perioperative-related nurse tracks include:

Typically, perioperative nursing is offered as a sub-specialty within an adult health or family health nursing track. Such a program must include advanced pharmacology, pathophysiology, and physical assessment, with role-specific content and classes, and a 500-hour clinical practicum with an approved preceptor

Another related advanced practice option is that of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). Examples of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist programs include;

What is a Typical OR Nurse Curriculum?

Programs offering specialty or sub-specialty tracks for perioperative nursing must include advanced pharmacology, pathophysiology, physical assessment with role-related content embedded, as well as role-specific courses, and a 500-hour clinical practicum with an approved preceptor.  Specialty course topics include:

  • Surgical techniques
  • Advanced perioperative nursing
  • Anesthesia care/pain management
  • Advanced technology
  • Hemodynamic monitoring
  • Emergency scenarios
  • AORN standards, practices and guidelines
  • Patient positioning and draping
  • Exposure techniques/wound classifications
  • Suture selection/surgical dressings
  • Radiation safety
  • Wound classifications

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist programs will include courses such as:

  • Anesthesia Pharmacology
  • Advanced Pathophysiology for Nurse Anesthetists
  • Advanced Health Assessment for Nurse Anesthetists
  • Advanced Principles of Anesthesia
  • Anesthesia Specialty Techniques
  • Professional Aspects of Nurse Anesthesia Practice

The Role of the OR Nurse in the Healthcare Provider Shortage

The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that employment for nurses will increase at a rate of 16% – %20 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.

Although there is a current emphasis on preventative care, OR nurses will be in continued demand, as their knowledge and expert skills are increasingly needed regardless of the potential setting. Even with a focus on reducing inpatient care, millions of inpatient surgical procedures are performed annually; in addition, similar numbers of outpatient surgical procedures are performed in ambulatory surgery facilities or as physician office-based procedures.

OR Nursing Resources

References  

Occupational Health Nurse

Occupational Health Nursing Overview

  • What You Will Do: Provide health care services in the workplace, promoting health and safety programs and services.
  • Where Will You Work: Most occupational health nurses work in venues such as manufacturing and production facilities, within corporations and businesses throughout the US.
  • Employment Projections: Nursing is expected to be the fastest-growing professions, with growth projected at 16% – 26%; similarly, the employment outlook for occupational health nurses is excellent, with an growth rate of 19%.
  • How Much Will I Earn: The median annual salary for occupational health nurses ranges from $76,810 to $94,783, with an average annual salary of $85,266..
  • Requirements to Become One: Become a Registered Nurse (RN) by completing an accredited nursing program earning an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), then passing the NCLEX-RN examination to obtain licensure.

Steps to Become a Occupational Health Nurse

  • Earn Your RN: You must earn an RN degree from an accredited nursing program, earning an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). It is important to note that many employers prefer a minimum of a BSN degree.
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam: All RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain licensure to practice nursing in your state.
  • Gain Clinical Experience as a Professional Registered Nurse: Typically nurses entering the field of occupational health nurse come to the specialty with experience in emergency, critical care, community health or ambulatory care.
  • Seek Employment in an Occupational Health Venue. You must have 3000 hours experience over five years as an occupational health nurse in order to progress to certification.
  • Obtain Certified Occupational Health Nurse (COHN) Credential: Obtain this certification from the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHN).
Guide to Occupational Health Nursing

What is an Occupational Health Nurse?

The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses defines an occupational health nurse as one who “provides for and delivers health and safety programs and services to workers, worker populations and community groups. The practice focuses on promotion and restoration of health, prevention of illness and injury, and protection from work-related and environmental hazards. Occupational and environmental health nurses have a combined knowledge of health and business that they blend with health care expertise to balance the requirement for a safe and healthful work environment with a ‘healthy’ bottom line.”

Occupational health nurses are engaged in working in concert with employers and employees to identify health risks and safety concerns within the workplace. Specific nursing actions include:

  • Coordination and delivery of  related services and programs
  • Promoting an interdisciplinary approach to health care
  • Act as an advocate for the employee’s right to prevention-oriented, cost-effective health and safety programs.
  • Encouraging workers to take responsibility for their own health through health education, promoting wellness strategies and disease prevention/management programs.
  • Monitoring the health status of workers, worker populations and community groups.
  • Conducting research by gathering health and hazard data, such as on the effects of workplace exposures,

How Do I Become an Occupational Health Nurse?

The first step toward becoming an occupational health 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 gain clinical experience as an RN, preferably in an area such as emergency or critical care, community care or ambulatory care. Following gaining this experience, then seek employment in an occupational health setting, in order to progress toward the COHN credential.

The Certified Occupational Health Nurse (COHN) credential is awarded by the American Board for Occupational Health, Inc (ABOHN). Eligibility requirements are:

  • Current, unencumbered licensure
  • 3000 hours in occupational health nursing in the past 5 years; or
  • Completion of a certificate program in occupational health nursing for academic credit; or
  • Completion of a graduate level of education with a concentration in occupational health.
  • Successful completion of the certification examination.

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. The next level of certification is the Certified Occupational Health Nurse-Specialist (COHN-S) credential. While eligibility requirements are similar, a Bachelor’s degree is a requirement. The roles associated with this credential include Clinician, Manager, Educator, Consultant and Case Manager.

A third certification offered by the ACOHN is the Certified Occupational Health Nurse – Case Management (COHN-CM). Eligibility requirements include:

  • Current RN licensure
  • Occupational health nursing certification (COHN or COHN-S) in good standing (Active Status) with ABOHN;
  • 10 documented contact hours of occupational health nursing case management related continuing education earned within the five years prior to the date of application.

Where Do Occupational Health Nurses Typically Work?

 While occupational health nurses may work in the hospital/medical center venue, most will be employed within corporations or businesses, or in the government sector. Typical workplace activities include; development and implementation of workplace safety procedures, case management, infection control, disaster preparedness, in roles such as clinicians, case managers, educators, consultants or corporate managers.

Specific activities include; treating occupational injuries and illness, referring workers to emergency or other medical services as needed, performing pre-employment physical examinations, providing screening activities such as vision and hearing screening, and administering flu vaccinations. The occupational health nurse maintains employee medical records and ensure medical record confidentiality, and administers workers’ compensation, disability, family and medical leave, and various health and safety programs.

How Much Do Occupational Health 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 average annual salary for occupational health nurses is of $85,266 annually, with a range of $76,810 and $94,783. 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

Occupational Health Nurse Programs

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

  • Wellness and safety
  • Public health emergencies
  • Disaster preparedness
  • Mental health issues
  • Chronic disease
  • Infection control
  • Physical assessment

Certified Occupational Health Nurses can access field training programs through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, offers an academic Occupational Health Nursing Certificate.

The Global Program in Occupational Health Practice (GPOHP), Chicago, Illinois, offers the Occupational Health track of courses, available to physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals involved in screening, providing care, return to work, and disability management.

Course topics include:

  • Occupational safety and ergonomics
  • Occupational exposure
  • Occupational health surveillance
  • Management of occupational safety, health and hygiene programs

At the graduate level, programs may offer an occupational nursing specialty as a primary track, or as a sub-specialty related to adult health nursing. Examples of graduate programs preparing Occupational Health Nurse Practitioners include:

What is a Typical Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner Curriculum?

Topics addressed in OHNP curricula include:

  • Advanced health assessment
  • Advanced pathophysiology
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Occupational health, hygiene and safety
  • Advanced pharmacology
    • Contraception prescription and indications
  • Aging and palliative care
  • Clinical prevention and population health
  • Management of Clinical Occupational Health Problems
  • Counseling for behavioral change
  • Complex health problems
  • Occupational Biomechanics

The Role of the Occupational Health Nurse During 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.

Occupational Health Nursing represents one of the fastest growing specialty areas, with a projected growth rate of 19%, as employers seek to avoid illness and injury in the workplace, take precautions against potential litigation, keep abreast of related employment legislation, and mitigate high costs related to health care. In many states, healthcare funding has been shifted to support home-based care, for follow-up after hospitalization, long term care, home health nursing, and hospice care.

Occupational Health Nurse Resources

References  

Home Health Nursing

Home Health Nurse Overview

  • What You Will Do: Provide professional nursing care for patients in their homes, when a patient or the family is unable to provide needed care.
  • Where Will You Work: Employers of home health nurses include hospital/medical center systems, retirement communities, insurance agencies, and home health or hospice agencies.
  • Employment Projections: Nursing is expected to be the fastest-growing professions, with growth projected at 16% – 26%. Nurses specializing in home health care are in much higher demand as home health employment is projected to grow by 60%.
  • How Much Will I Earn: The median annual salary for a home health registered nurse is $79,632, with a range of $72,411 – 87,850.
  • Requirements to Become One: To become a home healthcare registered nurse, you must first complete an accredited program to earn either an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science degree (BSN), then pass the NCLEX – RN exam to obtain licensure.

Steps to Become a Home Health Nurse

  • Earn Your RN: You must earn an RN degree from an accredited associate degree (ADN) or bachelor degree (BSN) program. To further advance in this specialty, a master’s degree (MSN) is recommended. RN vs BSN degree.
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam: All RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain licensure to practice nursing.
  • Certification: While currently there is no specialty certification related to home health nursing, obtaining other specialty certifications may improve employability and enhance opportunities for advancement.
  • Gain Nursing Experience: On obtaining licensure, RNs seeking to specialize in home health care must first gain professional nursing clinical experience. Most employers prefer at least one year of experience, preferably in critical care, or emergency care areas.
Guide to Become a Home Health Nurse

What is a Home Health Nurse?

Home health registered nurses provide professional patient care services within the home setting, providing follow-up care following discharge from the hospital. Home health nurses must be able to be self-directed, working autonomously and managing their time and resources effectively. Interaction with both patients and families as well as with referring primary care providers requires strong communication skills. The duties performed by registered nurses in home health care may include;

  • Develop a plan of care with the referring primary care provider
  • Monitor patient’s health and update the care plan as needed
  • Instruct patient/family regarding proper home care
  • Provide teaching regarding home safety
  • Perform head-to-toe assessments
  • Detect early symptoms that indicate the need for inpatient care
  • Document symptoms and vital signs
  • Supervise home health aides
  • Wound care/dressing changes
  • Intravenous infusions and medication administration
  • Obtaining specimens for diagnostic testing
  • Assisting with mobility and activities of daily living
  • Communicate with other members of the interdisciplinary healthcare team, such as primary care providers, physical therapists or social workers.

To be successful, the home health nurse must be very knowledgeable, organized, detail oriented, and possess effective problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

How Do I Become a Home Health Nurse?

The first step toward becoming a home health 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 at least one year of clinical experience as a professional nurse before venturing into home health care. Employers prefer experience in areas such as critical care or the emergency department.

While there is no specific certification related to home health nursing, other specialty certifications may be helpful in terms of employment and the potential for advancement. Examples include; certification such as infusion nurse, pediatric nursing, gerontology, psychiatric/mental health nursing, or adult or pediatric critical care.

For further advancement, you may pursue a graduate degree, (masters or doctoral level) to become a home health care nurse practitioner or clinical specialist.

 Where Do Home Health Nurses Typically Work?

Home health nurses provide professional nursing care for patients in the home setting, providing care the patient or family members unable to perform themselves. Employers of home health nurses include hospital/medical center systems, retirement communities, insurance agencies, and home health or hospice agencies.

How Much Do Home Health 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. The current salary range for home health nurses ranges from $72,411 to 87,850, dependent on factors such as the type of employer, 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, and related specialty certification may also increase salary. 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

Home Health Nurse Programs

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

  • Advanced clinical skills
  • Leadership strategies
  • Various therapies
  • Legislative issues and concerns
  • Financial management

Becoming a home health nurse practitioner or clinical specialist requires earning a master’s degree in nursing (MSN), or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. At present there are no specific home health nurse practitioner programs, as this is a very new and expanding specialty discipline. However, most home health nurse practitioners are certified as adult or family nurse practitioners, providing a broad base of knowledge of health care concerns across the lifespan.

The Role of the Home Health Nurse in the Face of Nursing Shortages

 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 addition to the effect of the aging population, with people living longer with more complex disorders, the increasing costs of inpatient care contributes to the increased importance of home health care. Prospective reimbursement practices have led to patients being discharged earlier than in previous years, often needing follow-up care in the home.  Many states have shifted funding for health care to the home setting, allowing patients needing complex care to receive care in their own homes, rather than in higher-cost settings. Home care is significantly less expensive than inpatient care services.

Benefits to the patient include reduced risk for healthcare errors, and reduced exposure to infectious agents. Patients are able to dress as they please, have visitors they want, maintain their own daily schedule, eat what they want, and have their pets. Many patients with terminal diseases prefer to end life at home, rather than in an inpatient setting.

Home Health Nurse Associations & Resources

References

RN vs BSN Degree

RN vs BSN Education

In the United States, there are three different educational programs in becoming a registered nurse. The three different types of nursing programs and nursing schools are; Diploma programs, associate’s degree programs and baccalaureate degree programs. All programs prepare students to take the national exam for registered nurses NCLEX. NCLEX stands for National Council (of State Boards of Nursing) Licensure Examination. The differences between the programs are the amount of education and course you take and the length of time to complete the program.

  • Diploma and associate programs will take 2-3 years to complete
  • Baccalaureate program will take 4-5 years to complete.

One major difference between the programs is the amount of classes required for a BSN Degree for Nursing. For example, nutrition is a core competency requirement for nursing education. In a baccalaureate program, students will often take a 2 or 3 credit nutrition class. In a diploma and ADN programs, nutrition content is often integrated thought-out the different nursing classes, and although the content is covered it is not a separate class. Nutrition is often a class that a diploma or ADN nurse will need to take in an RN to BSN program.

RN vs BSN Guide

RN vs BSN Work and Career

All students who pass the NCLEX exam and become a registered nurse. All programs prepare nurses to practice at an entry level nursing position. However, there are fundamental differences in work and job opportunities between the educational preparation of an RN with a BSN degree and RN with an ADN or Diploma degree.

The differences in job opportunities are usually not significant at the beginning of a nurse’s career or if you work in an area with an extreme shortage of registered nurses. All nursing programs prepare nurses to care for patients in the hospital setting.

The difference in opportunities comes later as the nurse considers the opportunities for career advancement, for positions that are highly competitive, and/or for positions that are beyond bedside nursing. The BSN has had a more expansive educational preparation, their education prepares them for a broader scope of nursing and includes essential aspects such as management, leadership, community, and case management to name a few.

RN vs BSN Salary

American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) statistics from January 2014 show that the average salary for an RN was $66,620, while the average for BSN-educated RNs was $75,484. Learn more about RN Salaries.

RN vs BSN Career Advancement

One major incentive for getting a BSN is for the many career advancement opportunities. Hospitals and healthcare organizations are now listing a BSN as a requirement for many positions including some entry level positions. This is a major change from previous positions “preferring” nurses with a BSN and now many “requiring” a BSN degree.

As this change occurs registered nurses with a diploma or an ADN degree will have a much harder time obtaining positions than an RN with a BSN. Nurses with a BSN degree will be able to apply for a greater number of positions and have a much easier time getting a position. This will soon change the landscape of where nurses can work and soon fewer

Diploma and ADN nurses will be working in hospitals and will be working in other healthcare sectors, such as skill nursing facilities and nursing homes. Having a BSN also can mean a difference in pay. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual income for a registered nurse working in a hospital $71,640, and the average annual income for a registered nurse working in a skilled nursing facility is $62,440.

Another serious concern for non-BSN nurses are fewer job options, even in a hospital. If hospitals and healthcare institutions are moving towards having available positions requiring a BSN degree in nursing, then nurses without a BSN may be stuck in their current position and not able to change departments or specialties. Issues with morale can occur because BSN nurses with only a few years’ experience may be chosen for specific positions over nurses without a BSN despite their years of experience.