Orthopaedic nursing might include more options than you thought.
From birth to death, people can have musculoskeletal problems. And you can be the one to help them through the roughest part and get them on the road to a more normal life.
What types of patients might orthopedic nurses see?
Most people have a good idea, but let us just list some of the musculoskeletal conditions which ortho nurses typically serve:
- Arthritis and Osteoporosis
- Genetic malformations
- Degenerative Joint Disease
- Joint replacements
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Back Surgeries
- Muscular Dystrophy
Of course, ortho patients also typically bring their other ailments with them – and the list of those conditions is almost limitless. Be sure – your med-surg skills will still be needed.
How might you engage with your ortho patients?
If you work on the ortho floor you can expect to:
- Create and follow care plans according to condition
- Administer transfusions
- Drain care
- Control post-op pain
- Monitor response to anticoagulation therapy
- Educate, demonstrate, reinforce, explain, and teach again
- Manage and assist with equipment use
On a rehab unit, you will do more of the same with more emphasis on dismissal preparedness.
What roles might you consider as an orthopaedic nurse?
Of course, you will be highly sought after if there is a local or national disaster and there are bone injuries. But in a more traditional sense, the roles of the orthopaedic nurses are quite varied as seen below:
- Floor nurses
- Charge nurses
- OR ortho nurses
- Clinical nurse specialists
- Nurse managers
- Nurse directors
- Nursing educators
- RN first assistants
- Case managers
- Nurse practitioners
- Office managers
In what settings might orthopaedic nurses work?
Besides the two mentioned above, orthopaedic nurses may work in a variety of settings. Some of these include:
- Emergency departments or trauma units
- Operating rooms
- Orthopaedic units for adults
- Orthopaedic units for peds
- Traditional med/surg units
- Med/surg units for peds
- Geri units
- Rehab units
- Nursing homes
- Oncology units
- Home health agencies
- Nursing colleges or universities
If you like equipment, ortho nursing will be fun for you. It utilizes a variety of assistive and therapeutic devices.
Nurses may enter the orthopedic field as either RN or LPN/LVN. Many nurses become Orthopaedic Nurse Certified (ONC) by passing a certification exam, after two years of ortho experience, through the Orthopaedic Nursing Certification Board (ONCB).
Some may choose to earn their advanced practice nursing certifications as either Orthopaedic Nurse Practitioner (ONP-C) or Orthopaedic Clinical Nurse Specialist (OCNS-C). Still others go on farther.
What is an orthopaedic nurse worth in dollars?
Orthopaedic nurses are said to enter the field at an average salary of $80,000 to $81,000/year (compared to the national average of $65,000/year for med/surg nurses.) They say it is the sixth highest paid nursing specialty.
Of course, some orthopedic nurse salary elements that should be taken into account are the actual duties and responsibilities of the nurse.
Here is a link to one of the very best YouTube videos on various types of ortho surgeries. It explains why sometimes similar ortho cases are treated so differently – especiall as it pertains to specific weight bearing orders. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOPemoiWDgE