If you are an RN who is interested in helping patients who suffer from brain injuries or disorders, you may be wondering how you can specialize a nursing degree in neurology. Neurological nursing is a very specialized branch of nursing, requiring skills beyond that of an already skilled and competent RN. To gain a nursing degree or certification in this area of specialization, you will need to gain more education and a good deal of experience in working with these kinds of patients.
Starting as an RN or FNP
Both Registered Nurses (RNs) and Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) may specialize as neuroscience nurses, so either starting point can take you down the right path. In both cases, it is important for the nurse to grain work experience with patients who suffer from such things as neurovascular disease, traumatic brain injuries, Alzheimer’s or seizure disorders, among many other disorders or injuries, according to All Nurses. Some of the colleges or universities where you may study for your original degree, in preparing to become an RN or FNP, may offer some classes in neurological trauma or other topics specifically related to neurology, such as neurological anatomy. If you think you may have an interest in pursuing specialization in this area, it would be a good idea to take those types of courses.
Work Experience and Certification
An RN who has passed the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) can look for work in acute or long-term care. Once the nurse has worked in a neuroscience area for at least two years, of the last five, then she or he can be eligible to take CNRN (Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse) exam. The two years experience must be full-time experience totaling at least 4,160 hours. Once you are certified, the certification lasts for five years, after which you will either need to show that you have participated in a certain amount of continuing education or re-take the test.
If you are an RN working with patients who have suffered from strokes, you may want to specialize specifically as a SCRN (Stroke Certified Registered Nurse). This involves a similar level of pertinent work experience, but involves a different certification exam. An FNP can take a year-long neurosciences fellowship in order to become a Neurology Nurse Practitioner.
Continued Education and Professional Development
Serving in such a specialized field, it will be important that you continue to stay abreast of developments in knowledge and patient care. The American Association of Neuroscience Nurses approves and accredits educational opportunities and events for neurological nurses. At their website, you can find out more about the Journal of Neuroscience Nursing and other educational opportunities like webinars.
Related Resource: Nephrology Nurse
For a highly skilled neurological nurse or nurse practitioner, there can be much satisfaction in working to assist patients who have suffered brain trauma, or who are recovering from neurosurgery or otherwise suffering the effects of neurological disease. Neurological nurses may work in clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities or other kinds of environments to ensure the best kinds of care for patients in need. A real desire to do this kind of important work will help you if you decide to specialize a nursing degree in neurology, which will take time and dedication.