How to Become A Dermatology Nurse

Dermatology Nurse

Why Become A Dermatology Nurse

become a dermatology nurseRegistered Nurses can work in a variety of settings. Some love the fast paced scene of an ER while others prefer the flexibility a 24/7 assisted living center offers, but some RN’s want a regular 9 to 5 with weekends off. If you are an RN wanting to work in an atmosphere with less stress and have regular working hours then becoming a Dermatology Nurse just might be what you have been looking for.

Still not sure if this is the right fit? Take a look at what exactly a dermatology nurse does and what opportunities this avenue offers.

Nurses in dermatology will be working with all areas that pertain to the largest organ, skin. Nurses will be the first line of accurate education for patients whether they are treating wounds, injuries, diseases, or surgical recovery. The responsibilities of these nurses can be varied depending on what type of office they choose to work in. These nurses can screen for skin cancer, assist with dermatological surgery, teach, conduct research and perform such procedures as biopsies, mesotherapy, microdermabrasion and chemical peels. The dermatology field is very vast and offers a different fields to specialize in such as cancer research, private dermatologists, burn units, or plastic surgeons, most of which work in private doctor’s offices. Nurses in private dermatologist offices usually screen for skin cancer, treat and dress wounds, and screen for diseases of the skin. Those that work in plastic surgery offices generally assist with surgical and nonsurgical procedures for cosmetic issues, congenital deformities or injuries. Nurses wanting to work specifically in burn units are usually employed in hospital burn wards. Their duties would include but not be limited to cleaning and dressing the wounds of burn patients, carefully monitoring and controlling pain, ensure patients breathing abilities and prohibiting the spread of infection.

How do I to become a nurse of dermatology or Dermatology Nurse Certified (DNC)?

Currently becoming a dermatology nurse does not require you to take any specialized courses at the onset of your nursing education. You first pursue a degree in nursing LPN, associate’s (RN) or bachelor’s (BSN) degree in nursing from an accredited school with an accredited nursing program. Upon graduation you need to apply and pass the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) to become a licensed nurse. The exam tests applicants general knowledge of nursing theory and practice with topis such as knowledge of controlling infection, patient care and education, risk reduction and pharmacology.

Next, to become certified as a nurse of dermatology you need to work for a minimum of two years in a dermatological setting, such as thoe mentioned above. The next requirement is to participate in over 2,000 hours of clinical experience in dermatology. Last, once you have met the first two criteria, you need to take and pass the certification exam. This exam is in a multiple choice format and tests a student’s knowledge of dermatology, surgical dermatology, infections, acne, wounds and other skin related medical conditions. Successfully passing this exam allows a nurse to be Dermatology Nurse Certified (DNC). After this certification is issued, nurses must earn a set number of continued education hours in order to keep the certification or renew it. The certification must be renewed every 3 years. This ensures all medical professionals are up to date on the latest breakthroughs in their field. While certification is not necessary to work as a dermatological nurse, it does increase potential employment opportunities and potential income increase.

What type of patients would I be working with?

Patients of a nurse of dermatology can vary greatly depending on the specific clinic specialization in which the nurse works. There are three specializations under a dermatologist; cosmetic, surgical, and pediatric. A nurse working in a cosmetic dermatologist clinic tend to work with adults who are voluntarily meeting with a dermatologist. Nurses working in either surgical or pediatric dermatological settings will be engaged with cancer patients and preventative cancer care. If a nurse is employed with a general dermatologist they will work with a variety of patients across the lifespan.

What would a typical day look like?

Many nurses of other specialties are familiar with a high volume of patients, high stress, long hours, and demanding schedules. Nurses of dermatology experience a more flexible and less demanding schedule while still earning a comfortable income and helping others in need.

A dermatology nurse will be preparing assessments on a regular basis, most of their day is spent seeing and consulting with patients while diagnosing and treating skin issues along with check-ups. Minor procedures that tend to be part of their schedules include mole removals, skin peels, acne treatments, and micro dermabrasion.

Unlike other areas of nursing, nurses working with dermatologists work with patients that can generally care for themselves, they will not be required to lift, carry or assist with basic needs of patients. Many general nurses work with significant tragedies on a regular basis. While a dermatology nurse will likely encounter patients with skin cancer, when treated at an early stage, even the most aggressive forms of skin cancer (e.g., melanoma) can be cured completely, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). All this means that the emotional demands for a dermatology nurse are overall less significant that those of a general nurse. For the day to day work of dermatology nurse, they work with overall healthy patients and offer consultation and healing treatments for their patients.