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What is a Neuroscience Nurse?
Neuroscience nurses work with patients who have diseases or disorders of the nervous system, including brain and spinal cord injuries, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. They typically work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and rehabilitation or elder care facilities. Their duties might include conducting neurological exams and physical assessments, managing patients' medication, caring for wounds and surgical sites, and updating patients' medical records. Neuroscience nurses also might assist patients with mobility issues and daily living activities, as well as guide them through physical rehabilitation exercises.
Neuroscience nurses work as part of a health care team to ensure patients are getting the best care for their individual needs. Additionally, they might educate patients and their families when patients are being discharged from medical facilities.
|Educational Requirements||Diploma or associate's degree in nursing required; bachelor's degree in nursing preferred|
|Job Skills||Assessment skills, communication skills, patience, motivational ability and compassion|
|Median Salary (2016)*||$68,450 (registered nurses)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||15% (registered nurses)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Prospective neuroscience nurses need a minimum of a nursing diploma or Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN); however, most employers prefer candidates with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Employers also might require Basic Life Support (BLS) certification or mandate that neuroscience nurses obtain such certification within a few months of being hired.
Upon graduation from a nursing program, prospective neuroscience nurses must earn state licensure. Requirements vary by state, but all states require passage of the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX).
Employers also might seek neuroscience nurses who have earned the Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse (CNRN) and/or Stroke Certified Registered Nurse (SCRN) credentials from the American Board of Neuroscience Nursing. Candidates for these certifications must meet experience requirements and pass an exam.
Neuroscience nurses need strong assessment skills to be able to identify patients' needs and determine whether those needs are being met by their current treatment. Additionally, they need excellent written and verbal communication skills to relay information about patients to other members of their health care team, as well as to interact with patients and their families. Because recovering from neurological issues is often a lengthy process, neuroscience nurses must have patience, and they must be able to motivate their patients to continue with their treatments. Additionally, neuroscience nurses must have compassion for patients and their families as they deal with difficult diagnoses and recovery processes.
Career Outlook and Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses in general could see job growth of 15% between 2016 and 2026. The bureau noted that growth could be faster at outpatient centers, including those that provide rehabilitation services, which are common places of employment for neuroscience nurses.
The BLS also reported that registered nurses made a median annual salary of $68,450 as of May 2016.
Those interested in neuroscience nursing might want to learn about these related careers in the health care field as well: