Pain Management Nurse Job Description & Scope of Practice
A pain management nurse is a nurse who specializes in assessing, treating, and monitoring patient’s pain. This highly specialized nursing position is responsible for assessing the level of discomfort a patient is experiencing. Then, the nurse helps to determine the source and reason for the pain. Pain management nursing is a complex medical field that requires a high level of training and experience.
Nurses work with patients who have acute or chronic pain due to various causes. The nurse must be able to properly assess the patient’s need for pain relief and works with other medical professionals, including doctors, to administer the proper pain medication for each patient. Nurses work side-by-side with doctors to assess a patient’s medication requirements and pain thresholds.
How to Become a Pain Management Nurse
The first step towards becoming a nurse with a specialty in pain management is to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN). After attaining the BSN degree, nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become registered or certified. It is extremely helpful for a specialty nurse to earn a Master’s or Doctorate degree. Those who wish to improve their careers will also become certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements and must pass a certification test.
Additionally, a nurses may choose to join the American Society for Pain Management Nurses (ASPMN). These nurses may work in a variety of places including hospitals, surgical centers, clinics, emergency rooms, rehabilitation centers, outpatient services, and private practices.
Pain Management Nurse Education Requirements, Certification, and Schooling Programs
Nurses who have a specialty in caring for patients in pain are very specialized nurses. This type of nurse starts the education process by attaining a BSN degree. Be sure to include specific coursework that focuses on pharmacology and anesthesia. These areas will help you to better understand the pain management requirements of patients in various settings. Pain management applies to all types of patients including patients of varying ages ranging from infancy to the elderly.
Nurses will need to take an entry level nursing position that will provide plenty of opportunity to learn the area of pain management for patients. Experience is necessary before entering an advanced degree program to earn a Master’s or Doctorate degree.
The American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN) recommends credentialing through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for pain-management nurses. Nurses who meet eligibility requirements and pass an examination are awarded the Registered Nurse-Board Certified (RN-BC) credential. Qualified individuals have practiced for two years as an RN, possess 2,000 hours pain-management experience and are up to date in regards to continuing education hours with 15 of those hours spent in pain-management classes. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions on the topics of foundation of pain, pain assessment and reassessment, interventions and patient education. Certification validates knowledge and skills in the pain-management field, but it is not mandatory.
Pain Management Nurse Salary and Career Outlook
The salary for those who work in specialized areas of medicine such as pain management can expect a salary higher than that of a general nurse. The typical salary range is from $55,000 to $75,000. Those with the best qualifications and the most experience in pain management will receive the highest salaries.
The outlook for all medical professionals is expected to be quite good in the coming years. More and more nurses are needed to care for patients as more people are joining the ranks of senior citizens. The need for a nurses who specialize in pain management will continue to rise and they will be necessary in many different medical care facilities.