Rheumatology Nurse Job Description & Scope of Practice
A rheumatology nurse is a specialty nurse position that treats patients suffering from rheumatic diseases. Some of the most common rheumatic diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, Lyme disease, myositis, and spondylitis. It is important for these patients to receive specialized care by a nurse with an educational and working background in rheumatology. Nurses with a specialty in rheumatology may work in hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities.
The nurse assists the doctor in working with patient assessment, examinations, education, and treatment. These nurses must also be adept at dealing with patients and their families to provide education regarding their illness and its treatment.
How to Become a Rheumatology Nurse
All specialty nurses must first begin on a training path towards becoming a registered nurse. First, it is essential to complete an accredited nursing program. You may choose from an associate degree program or a bachelor degree program. Both will provide you with the initial background necessary to become a nurse. Once you have completed a program you must take the NCLEX-RN exam to become licensed in your state.
Those who specialize in rheumatology nursing may choose to join the Rheumatology Nurse’s Society. This is a professional organization that is committed educating and developing nurses in order to provide assistance to patients and their families. These nurses may work side by side with doctors to provide high quality care and education to rheumatic patients. Nurse practitioners may also specialize in treating patients suffering from rheumatic diseases. Nurse practitioners typically attain a MSN degree and may work as assistants to doctors who specialize in treating rheumatology patients.
Rheumatology Nurse Education Requirements, Certification, and Schooling Programs
The first step towards becoming a nurse is to attain a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN). When taking undergraduate nursing courses you should concentrate your electives on rheumatology and related subjects. Once you achieve a BSN degree, you will need to gain some experience by working in the nursing field. Choose an entry level nursing position that will give you the most exposure to rheumatology patients by working at either a specialized clinic or a private rheumatology practice. Many nurses go on to take additional courses to attain a Master’s degree in Nursing (MSN). The MSN degree will afford you additional opportunities and a higher salary throughout your career.
Currently rheumatology nurses do not have their own certification. However, rheumatology nurses can obtain a Registered Nurse-Board Certified (RN-BC) through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
Rheumatology Nurse Salary and Career Outlook
The outlook for all types of nursing positions is a good one. According to a recent study, nursing jobs are expected to rise by as much as 22% over the next ten years. The need for trained and skilled nurses is going to continue to go up. The demand for specialty nurses, such as a those specializing in rheumatology, will go up at a higher rate than for other nurses. The salary will range from $46,000 to $54,000 annually. Additionally, specialty nurses may receive competitive benefits packages. Nurses with the most experience and education should expect to receive a salary towards the high end of the pay range.