Toxicology Nurse Job Description, Certification, and Schooling Programs
Toxicology nurses care for patients who are suffering from the effects of poisons or toxic substances. These types of nurses are specialty nurses that are trained to work with patients in a variety of situations. Some of the most common toxicology patients have ingested something toxic or something that they are allergic to. Other toxic situations may include such things as contact with hazardous materials, exposure to poisons, poisonous snake bites and similar problems.
Nurses with a specialty in toxicology are trained to work with patients in emergency situations as well as provide education on the hazards of toxic substances. They may work in hospitals, poison control centers, clinics, and other health care facilities.
How to Become a Toxicology Nurse
Those who are interested in becoming a specialized nurse should plan on taking an accredited nursing program earning either a two-year or four-year degree. Some nurses may earn a certificate through a local program or hospital. After completing a nursing program, nurses will take the NCLEX-RN exam to become licensed. Once you have your nursing credentials you should begin working in a hospital, poison control center, or other facility that deals with toxicology. One way to get the necessary experience is to work in a critical care or intensive care unit prior to getting into toxicology nursing.
Toxicology Nurse Education Requirements, Certification, and Schooling Programs
The first step towards going into toxicology nursing is to enroll in a good nursing program. Most specialty nurese should graduate from a good Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN). When taking undergraduate electives be sure to include some courses in toxicology and pharmacology. These courses will assist you later in your career. Those nurses who want to ensure the best paying jobs will elect to enroll in a Master’s degree program to attain a Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN). Take specialty courses throughout your master’s program that prepare you for a career in toxicology.
Certification is not currently available for toxicology nurses. Those who wish to become certified can obtain a Registered Nurse-Board Certified (RN-BC) credential through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). However, after working in the field of toxicology you may choose to become a Certified Specialist in Poison Information by taking the exam that is offered through the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC). This exam should be completed after gaining years of experience and knowledge as a nurse in the area of toxicology.
Toxicology Nurse Salary and Career Outlook
The career outlook for nurses is expected to grow considerably over the coming years. Nurses with a specialty, such as toxicology, will have an excellent future career outlook. The need for specialty nurses will certainly keep rising. These nursing professionals work in hospitals, health care clinics, pharmacies, and poison control centers. However, it is important to note that most of these facilities require only one or two nurse with a specialty in toxicology on staff at a time. For this reason, it may be difficult to get an initial position in the field. The expected salary for a nurse with a specialty in toxicology ranges from $45,000 to $60,000 annually. The salary you will get is commensurate with your education and your work experience.