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What is the Role of the Orthopedic Nurse?

The roots of orthopedic nursing can be traced all the way back to Victorian England. The first individual who can be considered an orthopedic nurse was Dame Agnes Hunt who suffered from severe septic arthritis in her hip. She went on to devote her entire life to helping crippled children and individuals who had been injured during war. Modern-day orthopedic nurses can be found in a variety of hospital settings ranging from operating rooms to dedicated orthopedic units. Specialized orthopedic units currently care for a very diverse patient population including individuals of all age groups who are suffering from a variety of different ailments.

Many orthopedic nurses specialize in helping patients who suffer from musculoskeletal injuries. These nurses must have the right knowledge and set of skills in order to serve these individuals. They are one of the most important factors when it comes to promoting orthopedic research and education and can be found in positions ranging from staff nurses to clinical specialists and can even be administrators, RN first assistants, office managers, case managers, educators and nursing instructors. Because of the wide range of skills that orthopedic nurses have, they are often in high demand in hospitals and clinics throughout the country.

Qualified orthopedic nurses have a range of choices when it comes to employment. From nursing homes to teaching institutions and, of course, hospitals, these qualified individuals may find their practice includes working in emergency departments, operating rooms, orthopedic units, trauma units, rehabilitation units and even oncology units. The skill set that orthopedic nurses have make them a valuable asset in virtually every corner of a hospital or clinic. Because of their specialized skills they also generally earn a higher wage than many of the general nurses that are employed in medical facilities.

Orthopedic nurses generally start out as a registered nurse or as an LPN. After receiving their licensing to practice as a registered nurse, they then go on to complete higher levels of education ranging from Masters Degrees to Doctorate Degrees. They then take a certification exam provided by the National Association of Orthopedic Nurses. This credential provides proof that the orthopedic nurse has a high level of proficiency with in his or her specialty and is currently the only certification available for the documentation of expertise in the field of orthopedic nursing. It is easy to understand why so many hospitals and clinics are eager to hire these qualified professionals.