Becoming a Dermatology Nurse

February 23, 2015

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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The field of dermatology involves diagnosing and treating a variety of skin conditions and injuries. There are several conditions, which could affect the skin including psoriasis, rosacea, and warts. Other common conditions, which may be treated by a dermatologist include burns, skin cancer, and impetigo.

There are opportunities for both registered nurses and nurse practitioners to work in the field of dermatology. The responsibilities of a nurse may vary depending on education and training. For example, nurse practitioners have an advanced degree and may have more responsibilities than a registered nurse.

The responsibilities of a dermatology nurse

In general, both registered nurses and nurse practitioners may perform exams and assess a patient’s condition. They may also review diagnostic tests and record medical histories. Nurse practitioners in the field can also diagnose a condition and prescribe treatment.

Some nurse practitioners also remove moles and perform other surgical procedures. Nurses may provide preoperative and postoperative care for patients. Education may also be part of the job. Nurses educate patients on how to take care of skin problems at home.

Skin cancer screening and acne treatment are also part of the job of a dermatology nurse. Nurses in the field of dermatology may also specialize in cosmetic procedures. This may include performing microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser treatments. Most dermatology nurses work in a doctor’s office or dermatology clinic. In addition, nurses may also work in a cosmetic surgeon’s office.

Education and training

Whether you want to become a registered nurse or a nurse practitioner, the first step is to graduate from an accredited registered nursing program. The next step includes passing the national council licensing exam. Although it may vary, nurses may be hired directly out of school to work in dermatology.

If you want to continue and become a nurse practitioner, additional education is needed. Requirements to get into a nurse practitioner program vary, but usually a bachelor’s of nursing degree is needed. Most nurse practitioner programs are between two and four years, and a master’s degree is awarded after graduation.

An optional certification is available through the Dermatology Nurse Certification Board. The requirements to become certified include a minimum of 2000 hours of experience working in dermatology. Although certification is currently not mandatory, it does show a certain level of competency and knowledge in the field.

Along with formal education and certification, there are certain skills, which dermatology nurses need. For example, nurses should be detail-oriented and have good communication skills.

Pros and cons of dermatology nursing

Some areas of nursing, such as working in the emergency or operating room, can be stressful. Life and death situations are a frequent occurrence in certain medical specialties. Although nurses may treat patients with skin cancer, many conditions treated are not serious or debilitating, which can mean less stress.

Because emergencies in dermatology are uncommon, hours worked are usually during the day, which can also be considered a pro. If you are someone who thrives on excitement and a fast-paced work environment, you may find dermatology unexciting, which can be a con for some.


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