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What Skills does an Ophthalmic Nurse Need?

Higher Education Articles October 28, 2013

An Ophthalmic Nurse is one who has specialized in treating patients with eye disorders and conditions. These nurses face a lot of variety in their careers and they have great earning potential. In most cases, they work with an Ophthalmologist to diagnose and treat a number of different eye related issues. These nurses must have a number of skills including kindness, patience, and attention to detail among others.

The Work Environment of an Ophthalmic Nurse

An Ophthalmic nurse has a lot of options when he or she starts looking for an employer. These nurses may work in private clinics, at refractive surgery centers, in ophthalmology clinics, at laser treatment centers, or even with charitable organizations or as home care nurses. They typically have a consistent schedule that consists of regular day shifts although some nurse will work evening or weekend shifts in this field.

The Job Duties of an Ophthalmic Nurse

Ophthalmic nurses are usually the first person to examine their patients. They look over the patient’s eye before the doctor arrives, and they may check the following things:

•Regularity or Irregularity of the pupils
•Ocular Functioning
•Visual Activity

After assessing those things, the nurse may give the patient some drops or ointment. In some cases, the ophthalmic nurse may prepare the patient for their eye operation, and during the operation, they may assist the surgeon with various tasks. After an operation, the ophthalmic nurse will talk to the patient about their aftercare instructions, and they will administer medication or eye drops to the patient as needed.

Because vision problems can be connected to other types of diseases like diabetes or hypertension, and an ophthalmic nurse must be knowledgeable about those conditions. He or she must be willing to educate their patients about the risks and symptoms affiliated with those diseases. They must also be able to advise their patients on how to prevent and treat those issues. In addition, these nurses will also work with patients who suffer from cataracts, glaucoma, and eye trauma.

Becoming an Ophthalmic Nurse

In order to become a Certified Ophthalmic Registered Nurse (ORN), you will first need to become a registered nurse. This can be achieved by getting an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing and passing the NCLEX-RN. After passing this exam, you should start to look for work in the field of ophthalmology. If you cannot find a job in that field, you can gain your initial nursing experience working with other types of issues.

Once you have had a bit of experience as a registered nurse, you can register to take the ophthalmic nursing exam. This exam is administered by the National Certifying Board for Ophthalmic Registered Nurses, and it includes questions about ocular conditions, ophthalmology, pharmacology, and the tests that you will need to give your patients. Once you have passed this test, you will be an ORN, and you will see an expanded earning potential.

Job Outlook for an Ophthalmic Nurse

The job outlook for this specialty is positive. According to the University of Mary, the average annual wages of these professionals is about $62,000. However, this number can vary drastically based on where you work, years of experience, and the nature of your employer.

Most Ophthalmic nurses earn a great salary, have reasonable hours, and enjoy benefits like healthcare, retirement plans, and paid vacation. The number of jobs in this industry is expected to rise over the next decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistic collects data on this issue. Although they do not have any data that specifically addresses the job growth projections for ophthalmic nurses in particular, they have data for nurses in general. The overall number of nurses in the United States is expected to grow by at least 26% over the next ten years, and this projected growth should hold true for ophthalmic nurses as well. This indicates that it should be easy for most graduates to find a position in this field.

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