Urologic nurses, or urology nurses, assist patients with urinary tract difficulties in a variety of care settings. For those seeking to become a urologic nurse, it can be helpful to get an idea of the kind of education, as well as the salary and job outlook, of urologic nurses. This position, as with all nursing positions, is expected to experience significant growth in the future as the nation continues to face a shortage of nursing professionals.
Urologic nurses specialize in the urinary tract, including various problems that affect the urinary system. Diseases related to the human urinary system, including the kidneys, urethra and bladder, are all addressed by the urology nurse. They also often deal with issues related to the male and female reproductive system, as it is so closely tied with the urinary system.
A good urology nurse is interested in maintaining the overall health of a patient, of which the urinary system and reproductive system are vital components. Nurses must be able to work under pressure and deal with human discomfort, because urinary issues can be accompanied by significant pain and embarrassment. A urology nurse must understand how to make patients feel as comfortable as they can in difficult situations.
Kidney stones are an excellent example of the challenges faced by a urologic nurse. Most people have at least heard of how painful a kidney stone can be. Made from solidified substances found in urine, kidney stones can cause agonizing pain in those who are passing them, and urologic nurses must be there to assist in the process.
Work Environment and Job Duties
Urologic nurses can work in a variety of settings. Hospitals, urology clinics and everyday doctors require the assistance of urologic nurses to treat patients affected by urinary system problems. A well-trained nurse is often capable of providing routine checkups for patients without the input of a physician, although this is not always the case. Some patients face significant difficulties, including cancers and prostatitis, which require the attention of a fully trained urologist.
Urologists are considered specialists, and patients tend to come with a referral from their primary physician. When patients first enter the treatment area of a doctor’s office or hospital, they will encounter the urologic nurse. The nurse will measure vital signs and request information from the patient on his or her symptoms, as well as perform an examination. All of this information is then conveyed to the urologist.
The urologic nurse will also often close out the examination, after the doctor has moved on to another patient. The nurse will ensure the patient understands what is required of them.
Requirements and Education
The path to becoming a urologic nurse requires a specialized education. In some areas, nurses can begin working with just an associate’s degree, although a bachelor’s will give one more options in his or her career. Nursing students will be given the option for specialization while in school, which is where one can choose the path of urologic nurse. Schooling is not necessarily enough to get one’s foot in the door at a urology clinic, but it is a start.
Nurses are typically required to gain a few years of experience before they are allowed to become fully specialized. It will take some time to gain a full understanding of what the job entails and gain the knowledge necessary to get hired on in a specific area. Many urologic nurses also take certification exams with organizations such as the Certification Board for Urologic Nurses and Associates.
Salary and Career Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses made an average of $64,690 in 2010. This was an average number, however. The lowest ten percent of nurses on the pay scale made less than $44,190. A urologic nurse just starting out should expect to make a salary on the lower end of the spectrum. As he or she gains experience, the salary should increase accordingly.
Nursing is a fantastic field to enter at the moment, with an expected growth rate of 26% from 2010-2020. This is considered faster than average, and is good news for those considering an education in nursing. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics rates the overall job opportunities for registered nurses as “excellent”. Many states are facing severe nursing shortages, which indicate that nursing graduates should have no trouble finding gainful employment.