Pulmonary Care Nurse


Pulmonary Care Nurse Job Description & Scope of Practice
A pulmonary care nurse is also known as a respiratory nurse.  The respiratory nurse is a specialty nurse who cares for patients who suffer from lung or respiratory diseases.  Pulmonary care is a particularly demanding area of health because of the importance of the lungs and respiratory system in the health of a patient.  Nurses who specialize in pulmonary care take care of patients who suffer from respiratory problems including asthma, tuberculosis, and cystic fibrosis.

Patients may suffer from a number of other illnesses that affect the respiratory system.

Respiratory nurses work and have roles with patients in a number of settings including hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation facilities, long-term care facilities, and in homes.  The nurse works with the doctor to assist patients with their examination, education about the illness, medication, and rehabilitation.  Nurses assist patients and their families when dealing with life threatening illnesses such as lung cancer or emphysema.

How to Become a Pulmonary Care Nurse

Specialty nurses must first become registered nurses (RN).  The first step in the path towards becoming a respiratory nurse is to attain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.  Once this is attained, the aspiring nurse should take a nursing position in the pulmonary care field, either in a public or private setting.  The nurse should gain some experience in the field of pulmonary care by working side-by-side with an experienced pulmonary care doctor and nurse.  Nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become licensed to practice nursing.   Hands-on experience is very important in attaining the necessary skills needed to work in the pulmonary care field.

Pulmonary Care Nurse Education Requirements, Certification, and Schooling Programs

A nurse who wants to specialize in respiratory care must begin with education towards a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.  Nurses who are particularly interested in pursuing a career in respiratory care should take undergraduate courses that are specifically designed to provide training in the area of pulmonary diseases and care.  After attaining a BSN degree, nurses should seek job experience by working in a respiratory care facility or hospital.  Once you have attained some practical experience, you may choose to return to school to get a Master’s Degree in nursing (MSN).  You can choose your area of specialty to provide you with the specific training you need to offer patients a high quality pulmonary care.  Nurses with a MSN degree generally can expect to receive an average of $15,000 to $20,000 more annually.

Currently there is no certification for pulmonary-care nurses. However, nurses working in pulmonary care can become certified in other areas pertaining to their field like Certified Pulmonary Function Technician (CPFT).

Pulmonary Nurse Salary and Career Outlook

Nurses and other health care professionals are in high demand and will continue to be in demand for the next decade.  Pulmonary care is a highly specialized nursing area so you can expect to get an annual salary of between $55,000 and $75,000.  The salary will depend on your nursing credentials, education, and the location and setting where you work.  Those with advanced degrees (MSN) will achieve a salary on the upper end of the range. Specialty areas of nursing are likely going to be in much higher demand than general nurses. 

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