Otorhinolaryngology Nurse

Otorhinolaryngology Nurse Job Description & Scope of Practice
An otorhinolaryngology nurse is also known as an ear, nose and throat nurse, or ENT nurse.  An ENT nurse treats patients who have head or neck injuries or disorders.  Many of the disorders are related to the ear, nose, and throat, and include such things as thyroid problems, tonsillitis, allergies, sinus problems, ruptured eardrums, and deformities that affect the head such as a cleft palette.

Ear, nose and throat nurses perform many varied duties including:

  • Patient diagnosis and assessment
  • Perform physical examinations
  • Assist with specialized treatments
  • Educate patients and their families
  • Provide assistance to the doctor or surgeon
  • Communicate with patients about their diagnosis


How to Become an Otorhinolaryngology Nurse

In order to become an ear, nose, and throat nurse you must first take a certification test to become a registered nurse.  The NCLEX-RN exam enables nurses to become registered (RN).  After completion of your education and after successfully becoming licensed the nurse must gain several years of nursing experience, preferably in the area of otorhinolaryngology.  It is advisable to work in the otorhinolaryngology department of the hospital or clinic, or for a private ENT doctor.

After gaining several years of nursing experience the aspiring ENT nurse may decide to pursue a Master’s degree in nursing.  This will improve the salary and employment options for the future.  The nurse specializing in otorhinolaryngology may also choose to become certified through the National Certifying Board for Otorhinolaryngology.  Applicants must fulfill eligibility requirements and must also pass a certification exam.


Otorhinolaryngology Nurse Education Requirements, Certification, and Schooling Programs

The nurse specializing in ear, nose, and throat medicine must attain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, BSN degree.  Choose an educational program that concentrates on the study of the ear, nose and throat.  Some of the areas of study should be focused on the areas of otology, audiology, laryngology, and rhinology.  Additionally, the student should take courses in clinical nursing.  In addition to a BSN degree, students may decide to further their education by attaining a Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN) or a doctorate degree.  The emphasis of study should be related to otorhinolaryngology.  In general, the higher the level of education achieved, the higher the expected salary will be.  Nursing students should spend some time practicing nursing before going on to achieve an advanced degree.

The National Certifying Board for Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Nurses (NCBOHN) offers the CORLN credential (Certified Otorhinolaryngology Nurse) to eligible applicants who pass the certification exam. Eligibility requirements include three years experience working in the field of Otorhinolaryngology. The exam, consisting of 250 multiple-choice questions, takes four hours to complete. The questions are written, reviewed and approved by experts in the field. While certification is not mandatory, many hospitals seek to hire certified individuals so it is highly recommended by the Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Nurses (SOHN).


Otorhinolaryngology Nurse Salary and Career Outlook

The need for ENT nurses, as with other types of nurses, is expected to grow substantially over the next decade or more.  People are living longer and so the need for high quality health care is on the rise.  Nurses with a specialization are in the highest demand. Nurses who specialize in otorhinolaryngology may work in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, cancer centers, allergy clinics, plastic surgery centers, specialty clinics, and private practices.

An ENT nurse may expect to earn between $51,000 and $65,000 annually based on education, experience, and knowledge.  Those nurses with the most experience and with a strong educational background in otorhinolaryngology will certainly exceed these salary estimates.