Plastic Surgery Nurse

Plastic Surgery Nurse Job Description & Scope of Practice
A plastic surgery nurse is a registered nurse who specializes in working with plastic surgery patients.  They provide treatment to patients throughout the plastic surgery process including pre-care, surgical assistance, and post-operative care.  Surgical nurses work with doctors and surgeons to provide high quality care to patients receiving surgery.

Some of the important job duties and roles of the surgical nurse include:

  • Explain plastic surgery procedures to patients
  • Prepare the surgical room and instruments
  • Assist the surgeon during the procedure
  • Help patients through recovery after surgery
  • Educate patients on aftercare
  • Work with patients during office visits


How to Become a Plastic Surgery Nurse

Plastic surgery nursing is a specialty nursing segment for highly skilled nurses.  Surgical nurses may need to attend patients before, during, and after surgical procedures. The position requires that you first become a licensed nurse.  You may take the NCLEX-RN exam after graduating from a nursing program at a university.  Passing the exam allows you to practice nursing, earning you the title of registered nurse (RN).  These credentials must be renewed throughout your career.

Those who are interested in becoming surgical nurses should have an interest in caring for patients throughout the surgery process.  You will need to have excellent communication skills and be able to assist patients and answer their questions.  You must also be able to ensure their health and safety while they are having a surgical procedure performed.


Plastic Surgery Nurse Education Requirements, Certification, and Schooling Programs

In order to become a surgical nurse you must earn a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN).  You should also take undergraduate courses that focus on surgical skills and anatomy.  Many nurses choose to continue their education by attaining a graduate or doctorate degree.  This will enhance job opportunities and salary options in the future.  A surgical nurse choosing to specialize in plastic surgery performs all the same functions as any other surgical nurse with the sole focus on patients who are receiving plastic surgery.

Nurses may choose to join the American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses (ASPSN).  This organization is dedicated to the promotion, education, research, practice excellence and leadership of nurses with a specialization in plastic surgery.  ASPSN  offers the Certified Plastic Surgical Nurse (CPSN) credential to qualified individuals through the Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board (PSNCB). In order to sit for the exam, applicants must have a minimum of two years experience in plastic surgery within the five years prior to the test. The ASPSN offers preparatory courses to help applicants prepare for the exam. Plastic-surgery nurses are not required to become certified, but certification is preferred by employers.

Plastic Surgery Nurse Salary and Career Outlook

The area of plastic surgery is increasing by leaps and bounds.  Plastic surgery is becoming more accessible to everyone; therefore, the demand for these procedures is quite high.  The outlook for nurses is expected to keep rising over the next two decades.  Many surgical nurses earn more than $75,000 per year.  Some are paid hourly and others also earn commission.

The need for nurses with a specialization in plastic surgery is expected to continue to rise substantially over the next decade. Technological advances have improved plastic surgery and have made it accessible for people of all ages and income levels.  There will be an increased need for high quality patient care before, during, and after plastic surgery procedures.