A surgical nurse practitioner is a nurse with highly specialized training who plays an important role in the operating room. Surgical nurse practitioners assist doctors and provide care for patients during all stages of the surgical process.
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In order to become a surgical nurse practitioner, you need to fulfill the educational requirements of a nurse practitioner and undergo extensive training in the operating room. Surgical nurse practitioner programs can provide you with skills and knowledge required to begin a career in this exciting field.
What does a surgical nurse practitioner do?
Surgical nurse practitioners are nurse practitioners who work in surgery by aiding doctors and taking care of patients throughout the entire process of surgery.
Some of their job requirements may include:
Assisting the surgeons throughout the surgery
Providing preoperative and postoperative care to patients
Helping with pain management
Providing support to the patient and their family
Most surgeries are very physically demanding and can require extended hours of work. Those individuals aspiring to become surgical nurse practitioners are also required to be very vigilant during the surgery. These are all the facts that you should be aware of before deciding to pursue this career path.
How to become a surgical nurse practitioner
In order to become a qualified surgical nurse practitioner, you will need to complete the educational requirements of a nurse practitioner as well as gain surgical experience and exposure. This is a specialty which requires adequate training and preparation.
Surgical nurses have many opportunities for advancement in the field as nursing is projected to be one of the fastest growing fields in the coming years.
Become a Registered Nurse
The first step to becoming a surgical nurse practitioner is becoming a registered nurse. Aspiring nurses are encouraged to enroll in an accredited Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program in order to get the requisite degree.
Afterwards, you must sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. The exam is intended to measure potential nurses’ abilities to apply and recall the information learned while in nursing school.
After passing the exam, applicants submit their scores and information to their local nursing board. If all the information is in order, a license may be issued and you may be eligible to practice as a nurse in the particular state you are living in. Licenses must be renewed periodically in order to ensure that you are up to date with all the latest developments in your field.
Gain Professional Experience
In order to further your career and get advanced qualifications in the field, you will need to work as a nurse for a certain duration of time. Many employers and advanced degree programs require applicants to have at least two years of professional experience. If you aspire to become a surgical nurse practitioner, it will help if you gain some experience in a surgical setting.
Get Certified To Practice in the Operating Room
In order to become a surgical nurse practitioner, you need to be able to demonstrate a certain amount of proficiency in the operating room. The Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN) is a widely accepted certification in the United States and it is often required in order to show that you have the expertise in the area of surgical nursing.
This certification may also increase your career options and advancement opportunities within the field. The certification also promotes a higher quality of patient care and documents knowledge and capabilities of the nurse in question.
Although certification is the preferred route to becoming a surgical nurse practitioner, individuals may also seek to obtain the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with surgical nursing concentration. The MSN degree will teach you all of the specialized skills and knowledge required in the specialty of surgical nursing.
Job Prospects and Salary
A surgical nurse practitioner may work in a variety of different settings including:
Home health care agencies
Ambulatory care units
Long-term care homes
Surgical nurse practitioners fall within the larger umbrella of nurse practitioners. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the data corresponding to nurse practitioners is as follows:
In 2014, nurse practitioners made an annual median salary of $95,350
The top ten percent of professionals in this field made $131,050
In summary, if you wish to become a surgical nurse practitioner, you must:
Become a registered nurse
Become licensed as a registered nurse
Get professional experience as a nurse
Get certification to show proficiency in the operating room
Earn the MSN degree to become an advanced nurse practitioner with a surgical specialty