Orthopedic is a branch of medicine that deals with the health of the entire musculoskeletal system. One of the most important healthcare professional in an orthopedic department is an orthopedic nurse.
What is an orthopedic nurse?
Orthopedic nurses are healthcare professionals who treat illnesses and injuries that mainly affect the bones or muscles. These professionals provide care for patients suffering from arthritis, injuries, fracture, and osteoporosis including birth defects which may affect the bone or muscles and care for patients undergoing a joint-replacement surgery.
Duties of an orthopedic nurse
- Orthopedic nurse provide care for patients suffering from various bone problems and give health teaching regarding some prevention measures for orthopedic conditions and diseases.
- Some skeletal conditions that an orthopedic nurse deals with are joint replacement, arthritis, broken bones, diabetes, and osteoporosis and bone malformation.
- Orthopedic nurses assess how a certain orthopedic problem affect patients with their activities of daily living and help patients meet the challenges that they are facing. Nurses in an orthopedic department are responsible in teaching their patients on performing self-care duties that are hindered by their bone problems, designing adequate home environment as they face these challenges and formulating support community and groups so as to support patient’s emotion.
- The roles of an orthopedic nurse may vary according to their positions. For instance, a staff nurse assists the orthopedic physicians during operations or examinations. The orthopedic nurse in clinical areas provides direct care during recovery and treatment. The head nurse as well as an orthopedic nurse supervisor oversees other healthcare professionals in the orthopedic department such as nurse assistants, medical assistants, orderlies and hospital volunteers. A case manager orthopedic nurse is responsible in treatments, therapies, coordinate testing and provide general care for orthopedic patients experiencing chronic diseases such as arthritis or diabetes. The orthopedic nurse practitioner provides primary healthcare to their patients and are responsible in writing prescriptions in the course of treatment.
Condition of Work
Orthopedic nurses are employed in an array of locations which includes specialty and general hospitals, orthopedists’ offices, outpatient/rehabilitation centers and home health agencies. Orthopedic nurses may perform different activities according to the patient’s musculoskeletal problems like inserting IVs, administering medications, monitoring site of injury or surgery and wound dressing or sound care.
In order to become an orthopedic nurse, it is beneficial to obtain a RN (registered nurse) program, a 2 year associate’s degree in nursing, 3 years hospital training or a 4 year bachelor’s program in nursing. Aspiring candidates should pass a written exam in order to gain a RN license in the particular state.
Occupation and Progress
According to United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average salary for an orthopedic nurse is about $72,000 per annum. A Job prospect for registered nurse is expected to increase by 18% between 2006 and 2018.