The nervous system is perhaps the most complex and important system in the human body. Injury or dysfunction to this system can have devasting consequences for the afflicted. Neuroscience nurses are nursing professionals who care for patients who have problems related to the nervous system. These nurses play an integral role in assessing, diagnosing, and managing the disease process in patients who are experiencing a wide variety of neurological issues. Common illness that neuroscience nurses my encounter in the nursing practice include Parkinson's disease, encephalitis, multiple sclerosis, meningitis, strokes and other brain injuries, dementia, spinal cord injuries, epilepsy, birth defects that have affected the nervous system, and others.
Some of the duties carried out by neuroscience nurses include:
Neuroscience nurses often find employment in the following settings:
Neuroscience is one of the most complex and difficult to learn disciplines in the biomedical science field. Those who are considering becoming a neuroscience nurse should have an exceptional understanding of the inner workings of the nervous system as well as the potential pathologies that may arise from it. Technological capability is also important in neuroscience nursing since most of the equipment used in the field of neuroscience has come about due to recent advances in technology.
Individuals who are considering a career as a neuroscience nurse should be prepared to first earn an ADN or BSN degree, with the BSN strongly preferred. After completing an accredited nursing program, the next step is to successfully pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain licensure. After this, some experience in the field will be required. Once everything has been completed, you will then be permitted to sit for the Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse examination.
Neuroscience nurses will need to hold an unencumbered RN license and have some experience in the field in order to obtain a specialty certification as a Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse (CNRN). The complexity of the specialty means that a BSN at minimum will be preferred, though ADN-educated nurses may work in the role on occasion.
Those looking to become certified as neuroscience nurses can do so through the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (AANN) or the American Board of Neuroscience Nurses.
If you opt for certification through the AANN, in order to be eligible to take the Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse (CNRN) exam, you will need to have two years of full-time experience with direct or indirect neuroscience nursing at a minimum. Direct experience involves working in a clinical setting directly with patients, whereas indirect experience can be defined as administrative, research, or consultations within some kind of neuroscience setting.
To be eligible for The American Board of Neuroscience Nurses certification in neuroscience nursing you must have the following:
Because of modern technology, the discipline of neuroscience is one of the most rapidly expanding fields in the biomedical sciences. Individuals who are interested in a career as a neuroscience nurse should have an intense interest in the functionality of the human nervous system (i.e. the brain, spinal cord, and nerve cells). Neuroscience nurses should also have a vast nursing science knowledge base and should be well skilled in a number of different areas. Because the field of neuroscience is dynamic and everchanging, neuroscience nurses will need to be constantly continuing their education in the field to stay current on all emerging trends and developments.
According to PayScale, Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurses (CNRN) make an average yearly salary of about $123,000. Of course, this figure will vary widely depending on a number of factors, such as the number years of clinical experience the nurse has, the city or state they are employed in, their education levels and certifications, and their employer. The same factors will also determine the benefits that a CNRN receives. Full-time CNRNs can expect to receive dental, medical, vision, prescription and sometimes life insurance coverage in their employment packages. A couple to a few weeks of paid time off every year is also normal for this professional, although this will also depend on the employer.