Otorhinolaryngology Nursing / Head and Neck Nursing

Otorhinolaryngology nurses are also known as head-and-neck nurses, and care for patients with chronic illness, disease, or medial disorders related to the head, neck, ear, nose, or throat. This can encompass a variety of issues, such as thyroid problems, tonsillitis, ruptured eardrums, allergies, sinus disorders, cancer, cleft palate or injuries. Otorhinolaryngology nurses or head and neck nurses see patients of all ages, as is typical of nurses who focus on specific body systems. Some of the typical duties for otorhinolaryngology nurses include patient assessment, taking medical histories, and physical examinations of the ears, nose, throat, cranial nerves and neck. Duties also include assisting with treatments like chemotherapy, counseling, medication administration, and providing education and support to the patients and their families. As an otorhinolaryngology nurse or head and neck nurse, you could work in surgical centers, office practices, hospital operating rooms, clinics, or residential facilities. Generally, nurses who specialize in specific areas of the body, such as head and neck work in hospitals or specialty clinics.

The first step toward entering the otorhinolaryngology nursing specialty is becoming a registered nurse. There are a few different routes to becoming a Registered Nurse. The options include earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (BSN) from a college or university, or by earning your Associate Degree of Nursing from a community college, or by completing a hospital nursing diploma program. Passing your state’s board of nursing NCLEX-RN, which stands for National Council Licensure Examination is the second step. Passing this exam will make you a licensed nurse in your state, ready to practice once any additional state requirements are met.

Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Nursing Certification is voluntary, unlike earning your license, which is legally required to practice. However, most employers deem Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Nursing certification necessary to be hired, so earning your Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Nursing certification will help get you more respect while looking for jobs in this specialty. Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Nursing Certification demonstrates to your future employers and patients that you are committed to your specialty and that your training is up-to-date and on par with national standards. There are sometimes different certifications offered by different professional organizations. Be sure to pursue your options and make this important step once you earn your degree and license, which will definitely provide a well-rounded resume. The National Certifying Board for Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Nursing provides one certification exam. In order to take the exam, you must be a registered nurse and ideally have three years of experience in otorhinolaryngology.

The Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Nurses (SOHN) is a professional organization that could help you network and locate continuing education courses as you pursue your education in this field. Professional organizations, such as The Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Nurses, are great resources and aids in keeping up with the research, practice guidelines and changes in the specialty, and often have local and regional chapters. Be sure to start investigating the local or regional chapters for otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Nurses once you complete your degree and begin working.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wages of registered nurses in 2008 was $62,450, and this will increase with specialized training and experience. The outlook for all nursing specialties is quite good. Nursing is one of the fastest growing professions in an already booming healthcare industry. As medicine becomes more and more specialized, nurses with added training will naturally earn more and have a more secure future in their chosen nursing specialty. If you think otorhinolaryngology and head and neck nursing is for you, get started on the appropriate nursing degree and start making a difference. You’ll find the largest selection of nursing programs from the associate’s to doctorate level by navigating through the NSD website.

(Sources: The Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Nurses (SOHN), Professional Testing Corporation - National Certifying Board For Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Nurses, National Council of State Boards of Nursing, BLS)

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