Endocrinology is one of the popular areas of practice in medicine. It deals with a wide range of endocrine disorders and conditions such as diabetes, acromegaly, follicular thyroid cancer, growth disorders, hyperglycemia, low testosterone and many others. In order for endocrine treatments to run smoothly within a healthcare facility, there must be a team of qualified medical professionals who evaluate, diagnose, treat and offer care to patients. One of these professionals is an endocrinology nurse. An endocrinology nurse provides care to infants, children, adolescents and adults who are suffering from endocrine disorders. He works with endocrinologists to take care of such patients both physically and emotionally. He ensures the patient gets an accurate diagnosis, observers the right treatment course and copes well with his or her condition. He also focuses on education about endocrine conditions and teaches patients and their families about healthy lifestyle choices.
Salary for Endocrinology Nurses
Endocrinology nurses earn better salaries when compared with other nurses. According to NursingLink, endocrinology nurses earn $81,000 per annum on average.
Being a specialty area, the beginning salary for endocrinology nurses is $64,456, $20,000 more than that of an entry-level registered nurse. The earning potential increases with the level of experience, location and education.
Specific Roles and Responsibilities
The key responsibilities of an endocrine nurse include the following;
- Observe and assess the vital signs of patients, such as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate and body temperature.
- Perform physical examinations on the patient. These may include checking the thyroid glands, blood sugar levels, weakness, change in skin texture and abnormal pigmentation.
- Drawing blood from the patient and presenting it to the laboratory for testing.
- Communicating the test results to the endocrinologist to ensure an effective treatment plan for the patient.
- Maintaining and updating patient records.
- Administering medications and monitoring prescriptions.
- Educating the patient and his loved ones on the best health practices.
In order to function effectively, there are certain skills you must have as an endocrinology nurse. You must be able to communicate effectively with the patients, their loved ones and the members of your team. You don’t want to be someone who cannot listen to the patient effectively to know his problems and relay such information to the endocrinologist. Apart from excellent communication skills, you must show dedication, intelligence, endurance and the ability to work under pressure. You must also have good interpersonal skills. Endocrine patients need someone who is friendly and able to comfort them in their times of suffering.
Education and Degree Requirements
Everyone who wants to become an endocrinology nurse must first earn a bachelor’s degree and be a registered nurse (RN). Most employers prefer applicants who have a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN). A BSN degree will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to perform effectively and professionally in a nursing environment. It covers courses such as anatomy, microbiology, nursing assessment, lifespan, nursing research, nutrition and diet and statistics.
Once you obtain your nursing degree, you will be required to sit for and pass the National Council Licensure Examinations (NCLEX-RN) to become a registered nurse. This examination tests whether it is safe for you to begin working as an entry-level nurse. You will be tested on how well you can use your critical thinking skills to make nursing decisions.
You can also choose to increase your level of education in endocrinology by enrolling in a master’s degree or doctorate program. You will also need to take brief courses in diabetes education, endocrinology and internal medicine.
Pros and Cons of Working as an Endocrinology Nurse
Just like other careers, working as an endocrinology nurse has its benefits and drawbacks. On the benefits, we find that working as an endocrinology nurse is very lucrative. Depending on your level of experience, location and facility, you can earn as high as $135,856 per year. Working as an endocrinology nurse allows you to interact with a wide variety of patients. Helping such patients to recover and smile again gives you a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment in life. However, endocrinology is very demanding, especially if you work in a large facility. Sometimes you might be required to extend your working hours. The job can also be stressing, particularly if you deal with patients who have hormonal disorders and mental disabilities resulting from endocrine-related problems. Not to mention, the process of becoming an endocrinology nurse is very long. For instance, in order to become a pediatric endocrinology nurse, you must complete a four-year bachelor’s degree program, take four years in internal medicine and another three years in pediatric residency.
Apart from earning your bachelor’s degree in nursing and obtaining your RN certification, there are other things you must do to get started in your endocrinology nursing career. You must gain a considerable amount of experience working in areas such as pediatric nursing, internal medicine, diabetes education and endocrinology care. You also need certain certifications to help you qualify for more advanced job positions You can choose to become a Certified Diabetic Educator or Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Once you obtain the right certification, you must update your resume accordingly and look for employment. You can work in a hospital, children health center, home care center, cancer center or private practice. Talk to other nurses and people within your social circle to help you look for facilities that are hiring endocrinology nurses.
Just like other nursing jobs, the future looks so bright for those who want to specialize in endocrinology. The rate of employment is expected to increase by about 16 percent over the next one decade. This growth rate is very promising and represents good prospects for those who to specialize as endocrinology nurses. The demand for endocrinology nurses will be driven by the increasing number of children afflicted with endocrine disorders and diabetes in the US. Endocrinology nurses will be required to help such patients cope well and recover from their conditions. They will also be required to offer education on the best lifestyle choices needed to reduce the risk of developing diabetes and endocrine disorders.
Related resource: 30 Best Affordable RN to BSN Degree Programs
Endocrine nurses are an important figure in any healthcare facility. They work with other medical staff to help patients suffering from various endocrine-related conditions find relief. With the information provided about endocrinology nurses above, you are now able to determine if this nursing profession is the right fit for you.