How to Become a Dermatology Nurse

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Dermatology is a medical discipline that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions and diseases. Dermatology nurses are specially trained registered nurses that provide care to patients suffering from skin conditions and assist dermatologists with a variety of treatment procedures.


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What does a dermatology nurse do?

Dermatology nurses provide care and treatment for patients with many different skin disorders such as psoriasis, skin cancer, and acne. They perform medical examinations, obtain patient medical history, administer medication, and perform treatments such as chemical peels. They also assist with dermatological surgical procedures. Many dermatology nurses focus on skin cancer and early detection and treatment. They obtain thorough patient history such as exposure to the sun, radiation, and phototherapy, past and present lifestyle habits, past and present residences, and recreational activities. They educate patients on the warning signs and ways to prevent skin cancer. Dermatology nurses often provide education to patients and families regarding follow-up care and treatment and how to prevent the skin conditions from worsening.

What kind of training does a dermatology nurse need?

Dermatology nurses must become registered nurses by completing a diploma, associate degree, or bachelor degree program in nursing. All nursing programs provide intensive classroom and laboratory instruction and supervised clinical experiences. Prospective dermatology nurses typically complete courses in anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, nursing ethics, conditions affecting the skin, and human development. Many also complete internships in dermatology settings to gain practical experience in the field. All registered nurses must become licensed by passing the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). Dermatology nurses must also pass the Dermatology Nurse Certified (DNC) examination. Dermatology nurses must regularly complete continuing education and additional training to maintain their certifications and licenses and stay up to date with the advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as a dermatology nurse?

Employment of all registered nurses is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 23% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The growing and aging population and increased need for dermatology services will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be excellent, especially for dermatology nurses with extensive experience and advanced education. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace dermatology nurses that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do dermatology nurses make?

As of December 2009, the average annual salary for dermatology nurses is $55,000; average annual dermatology nurse salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as a dermatology nurse is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in dermatology and providing care to a variety of patients. Dermatology nurses must have a solid understanding of many different skin conditions and treatment options. Patience, compassion, critical thinking, determination, detail orientation, and good problem solving skills are necessary characteristics. Dermatology nurses must have excellent communication and ability to help patients feel at ease.

Joshua T Osborne

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