Career Outlook: How to Become a Pain Management Nurse
Pain management nurses specialize in caring for patients with chronic or acute pain. In addition to providing pain medication, they may also educate patients on how to manage their pain effectively. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has called for the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) to be the standard for advanced practice nursing. Therefore, forward-thinking nurses may want to continue their education with a DNP now to ensure that they are fully eligible for pain management nursing jobs in the future.
Nurses Are In High Demand
Nursing is one of the fastest-growing fields in the nation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurse practitioner positions are projected to experience a 31 percent growth rate from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average rate for other occupations. Nurses who want to continue their education and take advantage of the demand for nurse practitioners might consider learning about how to become a pain management nurse.
After earning their MSN, nursing professionals are eligible to seek a DNP. In most cases, applicants must have a moderate amount of nursing experience and at least a 3.0 grade point average in their previous MSN coursework. Essays, letters of recommendation, and interviews with the admissions team may also be application requirements for a DNP program.
A typical DNP program features advanced nursing courses, such as Cultural Perspectives in Health Care, Epidemiology/Biostatistics, Advanced Research Methods, and Informatics for Health Care. The curriculum also might include practicum courses to allow students to practice their skills in a clinical setting.
Students who pursue a DNP are required to complete a set number of semester hours , and both online and in-person options are available. Online programs are generally designed to be flexible , so practicing nurses can work full-time while learning how to become a pain management nurse. In-person programs focus more on face-to-face interaction with faculty and classmates, but this comes at the cost of the time spent attending mandatory class sessions. Generally, students can complete either program in three to five years.
Many pain management nurses have years of experience before they pursue an MSN. Pain management is a specialty that requires precision and knowledge combined with interpersonal skills. Nurses must be able to relate to patients and assist them in determining the severity and type of pain they are feeling so it can be properly controlled. Patients in pain can be difficult to manage, so it is imperative that pain management nurses have patience. This type of nurse often works with seriously ill patients, so compassion and empathy are helpful attributes.
Duties and Responsibilities
Pain management nurses are responsible for the care of patients with chronic or acute pain. Once they have assessed a patient’s pain, they work closely with doctors and other nurses to create a treatment plan.
Pain management nurses administer medications and provide pain relief through other therapeutic methods. In addition, they teach patients and their families how to alleviate pain and make patients more comfortable. These nurses may work in large hospitals, university medical centers, clinics, rehabilitative care facilities, and nursing homes. They are a necessary part of a patient’s medical team. A pain management nurse may serve as a liaison between the patient and the doctor to determine a medication’s effect and to make changes to improve the patient’s comfort level.
Salary and Benefits
The salary of a pain management nurse may range widely, as it depends on many factors, such as education and experience. The median salary for a registered nurse is $70,000 per year. Pain management nurses with advanced degrees, such as those with an MSN or DNP, may expect to earn more. Salaries generally increase with experience. The median salary for a nurse practitioner is $92,000 per year, according to PayScale , which can make it an attractive profession for those wanting to learn how to become a pain management nurse.
Nurse practitioners can make a difference in the lives of patients who have unmanaged or poorly managed pain. Pain can be a barrier to patients’ productivity, wellness, and mobility, but with interventions from pain management nurses, they can experience real quality-of-life improvements and freedom from their chronic pain issues. Nurses who opt to continue their education and enroll in an MSN or MSN-DNP program are projected to find a favorable job market for the next decade and enter a field where good pain management practice can improve patients’ quality of life.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nurse Practitioners