Burn care nurses are nursing professionals who primarily care for individuals who have suffered burn injuries. These nurses assist burn victims throughout all stages of their recovery - from initial trauma treatment to recovery to any post-trauma therapy that may be required. Without a doubt, the work of a burn care nurse occupies one of the most challenging specialties in the nursing field - both physically and emotionally. Nursing professionals working in the specialty should have a broad range of clinical skills in critical care, pain management, psychological counseling, triage, and trauma recovery. Not only does the burn care nurse treat and monitor the physical injuries that have resulted from different kinds of burns, but they also play an integral role in assessing the psychological and emotional trauma that often follows a serious burn injury.
What Are Some Burn Care Nurse Duties?
Some duties carried out by burn care nurses include:
Evaluate, dress, and monitor different kinds of burn injuries (i.e. fire, chemical, electrical, etc.)
Stabilize severely burned patients
Work as a part of an interdisciplinary care team which includes doctors, nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists, pain-management experts, and respiratory therapists
Help to maintain the patient's comfort
Evaluate pain levels
Pay close attention to the patient's psychological well-being and determine whether they require any mental health intervention
Educate patients, their families, and the wider community about techniques that can be used to prevent burns
Administer medications and topical ointments
Educate the families and caregivers of patients in wound care for various kinds of burns
Where Do Burn Care Nurses Work?
Burn care nurses can find employment in a variety of specialized or general medical settings, to include:
Hospital Burn Care Unit (BCU)
Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
Emergency Room (ER)
How to Become a Burn Care Nurse
Burn care nurses are compassionate caregivers who have completed the necessary education and field experience to care for this vulnerable population. Some ambitious individuals, if they wish to reach the highest levels of the specialty or would like to be in a supervisory position in a burn unit, will go on to earn graduate degrees in intensive care nursing, emergency nursing, trauma or critical care, and other pertinent specialty disciplines.
Step 1: Educational Requirements
Burn care nurses are required to hold either an ADN or BSN degree from an accredited institution and an RN license. Additional credentials that employers may require potential employees to have will vary from organization to organization. Many employers in the healthcare field will require those who work in burn care units to possess certifications like Advanced Burn Life Support, Certification for Adult, Certification for Pediatric and Neonatal Critical Care Nurses, Trauma Nursing Core Course, as well as a Pediatric Advanced Life Support Certification, and others. Some clinical work experience in the intensive care unit or other kinds of critical care experience may also be required by employers.
Do Burn Care Nurses Need an RN Degree?
Burn care nurses are required to hold active and unrestricted RN licenses and should have some experience in the field in order to obtain the various certifications that one should possess for the profession. An ADN or BSN degree is appropriate, though many hospitals are beginning to require a BSN at a minimum.
Step 2: Required Burn Care Nurse Certification and Credentials
In the field of burn care nursing, there is no single certification that is considered mandatory for or specific to the ‘burn care nurse'. However, that's not to say that holding certain certifications won't make you - as a potential candidate - more desirable to employers. These certifications or courses that will make you more desirable to employers include the following:
Advanced Burn Life Support (ABLS)
Basic Life Support (BLS)
Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC)
Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS)
Pediatric Advanced Life Support Certification (PALS)
Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC)
Certification for Adult, Pediatric, and Neonatal Critical Care Nurses (CCRN)
Burn Care Nursing Jobs, Salary & Employment
Unfortunately, incidents that result in burn injuries are unlikely to stop happening. Because of this, it's quite unlikely that the burn care nursing specialty is going to be phased out anytime soon. Presumably, for the foreseeable future, healthcare organizations will continue to hire burn care nurses regularly.
Job Description & Information
Essential Skills Needed - Critical care skills, ability to maintain a patient's fluid balance, triage, ability to work under intense pressure, critical thinking, empathy and compassion, strong interpersonal communication abilities, extensive knowledge in trauma recovery and rehabilitation, teaching skills, detail-oriented
Job Outlook - The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job opportunities for RNs will increase by 16% between 2014 and 2024. It's reasonable to assume that job opportunities in the field of burn care nursing will grow at a rate similar to the one mentioned above.
What Is the Average Salary of a Burn Care Nurse?
According to PayScale, an RN with burn care skills will earn average hourly of the wage of $27.36, or approximately $73,500 annually. The salaries of burn care nurses, of course, will depend on factors like educational credentials and certifications, years of clinical experience, the geographical location of employment, and the employer. Similar factors are also likely to contribute to the contents included in the employee benefits packages of burn care nurses.