Because of its nature, orthopedic nursing is a specialized field, as it focuses on the treatment of muscular skeletal diseases and disorders. Orthopedic nurses are trained in the taking care of patients with chronic disorders, such as arthritis or osteoporosis, genetic malformations and injuries such as fractures and joint replacements. They are needed in a wide variety of settings, such hospital and surgical units, private practices and clinics. An orthopedic nurse may also find a career in sports medicine practices.
Successfully completing training in orthopedic nursing will give you the distinction of an Orthopedic Nurse Certified (ONC) title, which is presided over by the Orthopedic Nursing Certification Board, located in Chicago, Illinois. This organization has been active since 1986 and continues to promote the highest standards among orthopedic medical workers.
Job Descriptions for Orthopedic Nurses
To become an orthopedic nurse, you must first obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and pass the registered nurse licensing examination, known as the NCLEX-RN. Key skills are patience, emotional stability, critical thinking, organizational abilities and good communication. Undergraduates should have a good knowledge base of computer technology and familiarity with orthopedic equipment, such as orthopedic beds, traction apparatus and assistive devices.
Schools training program for orthopedic nurses will teach medical terminology needed for students’ specialized field, and prepare the undergraduates in medical procedures for performing and assisting in orthopedic treatment.
Requirements in the Field
Employers frequently desire orthopedic nurses with one or two years of experience in the field. While attending a university, you can apply for clinical experience that will allow you to work with orthopedic patients, or patients with limited mobility. Opportunities for gaining experience can be found with emergency departments, rehabilitation clinics and health care facilities, among others.
Some of the duties of the orthopedic nurse include the administration of pain medications, assisting orthopedics and assessing the patient, the creation and enactment of a patient care plan, monitoring the patient’s physical health, repositioning patients, and changing dressings. The complexity and level of the duties an orthopedic nurse is expected to perform is dependent on the degree of skill and experience. Degree of responsibility can also be determined by location. Orthopedic nurses are sometimes given leadership roles as staff supervisors where they handle public relations, provide informative lectures and public service workshops.
Health Conditions Involved in the Field
For those interested in muscular and skeletal disorders, a career in orthopedic nursing is an opportunity to learn how to help patients rebuild muscle tissue and regain their strength and mobility. They learn how to assist in surgeries and become a crucial part of the recovery process. There is a high demand for registered nurses with specialized training. As the largest generational population ages, there will be a greater demand for orthopedic nurses to assist with crippling bone diseases, arthritis and joint displacement. Orthopedic nursing is an ongoing study, with a chance to add your contribution to the knowledge of muscular and skeletal rehabilitation.
Why not look into this subfield of nursing? You may be able to find a top paying job by limiting yourself to one focus.