A urological nurse is a registered nurse who specializes in caring for patients with urologic health problems or diseases. They focus on the urinary tract and kidneys for men and women and on male reproductive organs, and care for patients with infections, kidney and bladder stones, and cancers, as well as bladder dysfunctions and incontinence. Urological nurses can work in a variety of healthcare settings, and can treat patients of any age.
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Some of the everyday tasks of a urology nurse include patient assessment, obtaining medical histories, running exams, giving medication, and monitoring treatment. They often help run and interpret diagnostic studies and research. In addition to the standard examinations and care, an important part of this job is patient guidance, education, and helping with preventive care.
Becoming a certified urologic registered nurse (CURN) demonstrates a commitment to the specialization and advanced knowledge in the field. The Certification Board for Urologic Nurses and Associates (CBUNA) helps set a standard of quality care for urology patients by promoting higher education and continual study to keep abreast of scientific developments in the field. Certification is voluntary but has many advantages for the nurse working in urology. It ensures your potential employers as well as your future patients that you are committed to a higher nursing standard and have the knowledge you need to successfully work in this specialty. Renewing your certification also ensures that you are aware of developments in the field. The certification exam consists of 200 questions, and certification needs to be renewed every three years.
To take the certification exam, you must be a registered nurse (RN), have a current license as an RN and at least one year of working experience in a urology nursing practice. You can become a registered nurse by either earning your associate degree in nursing (ASN, ADN) which requires just two years of schooling, or your bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) which requires four years of study. Once you are an RN, you must become licensed by passing the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). Additionally, with advanced nursing education, you could also become a certified urologic nurse practitioner (CUNP), certified urologic clinical nurse specialist (CUCNS), certified urologic physician’s assistant (CUPA), or certified urologic associate (CUA). These certifications require existing credentials such as nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or physician’s assistant degrees, in addition to a certification.
Nursing is projected to be one of the fastest growing careers for many years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and specialty nurses with advanced education will continue to be the most in demand. According to simplyhired.com, the average salary for urology nurses in 2010 is $48,000, though this can vary based on employer, experience, and geographic location. Once you become a CURN, there are professional organizations you could join such as the Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates (SUNA). These professional groups provide the opportunity for networking, continuing education opportunities, as well as just keeping abreast of the latest studies and developments in the field of urological nursing.
This is a great specialty for the nurse committed to his or her career and looking for a more focused career. If you are interested in this area of nursing and would like to work with a variety of patients in a field that is often changing and benefiting from new research, this could be an excellent choice.
(SOURCES: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Society of Urologic Nurses & Associates)