The most common pathway to gaining certification as a cosmetic surgery nurse is to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program with courses in surgical nursing, then gain a position as part of the plastic surgery nursing staff in a hospital or physician's office. A bachelor's degree program in nursing provides aspiring nurses with the basic educational background and clinical experiences necessary to pass the NCLEX-RN examination, gain nursing licensure, and find a position within a healthcare facility.
Students who are interested in becoming plastic surgery nurses might consider enrolling in a BSN program with a medical-surgical track so they can gain clinical experience working in a surgical department. All nursing students are required to complete clinical and laboratory experiences before graduating and going on to receive nursing licensure.
BSN programs require students possess a high school diploma or GED. Prerequisite courses in chemistry, human anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and general education are also commonly expected.
Bachelor's Degree in Cosmetic Surgery Nursing
Most 4-year bachelor's degree programs in nursing teach the basics of nursing theory, health assessment, patient care, medical terminology, and more. The first few semesters of a BSN program are comprised of introductory courses in nursing theory and health assessment techniques, while latter semesters are comprised of laboratory courses and clinical practicum hours. Some specific examples of courses include:
- Health assessment
- Nursing theory
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Medical-surgical nursing
- Pediatric nursing
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Cosmetic surgery nursing is not a relatively common career choice for registered nurses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were roughly 3.06 million RNs working in the United States in 2018 (www.bls.gov). However, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses, the organization had little more than 1,500 members in the early 2000's. The BLS reported registered nurses made a mean annual salary of $75,510 as of May 2018.
Graduates of a bachelor's degree program in nursing must first sit for the NCLEX-RN examination and gain nursing licensure before they can consider earning further certification in a nursing specialty such as plastic surgery nursing. Those individuals who are interested in gaining the Certified Plastic Surgery Nurse (CPSN) credential from ASPSN must be RNs who have at least two years of practical experience working on the staff of a cosmetic surgery team.
A cosmetic surgery nurse requires obtaining a bachelor's degree in registered nursing, work experience, licensure, and a specialty certification in plastic surgery.