How to Become an Orthopedic Nurse

Written by

George D. Baker


August 14, 2014


Orthopedic nursing is a branch of the nursing field that specializes on preventing and treating a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. Orthopedic nurses are registered nurses that provide care for many different patients suffering for muscular and skeletal conditions.

What does an orthopedic nurse do?

Orthopedic nurses care for patients with a variety of musculoskeletal conditions such as bone fractures, arthritis, joint replacement, and muscular dystrophy. They obtain medical histories, perform examinations and assessments, provide pain management, and perform treatment procedures. They also administer medication, check injury and surgery sites, and change bandages and dressings. They provide care to patients that undergo orthopedic surgery and help them regain their mobility and strength. They help patients feel as comfortable as possible and perform efforts to prevent complications. Orthopedic nurses also provide education to patients and families about follow-up care, self-care tasks, and the use of specialized equipment such as prosthetics and braces to help patients deal with their conditions.

What kind of training does an orthopedic nurse need?

Orthopedic nurses must become registered nurses by completing a diploma, associate degree, or bachelor degree in nursing. All nursing programs provide intensive classroom and laboratory instruction and supervised clinical experiences. All registered nurses must become licensed by passing the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). Many orthopedic nurses gain voluntary professional certification from the Orthopaedic Nursing Certification Board. Certification requirements include minimum work experience and passing a written examination. Orthopedic nurses must complete regular continuing education to maintain their licenses and certifications, keep their skills up to date, and stay abreast on advancements in the field. They often participate in seminars, workshops, and conferences.

What are the prospects for a career as an orthopedic nurse?

Employment of all registered nurses is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 23% through 2016. The growing and aging population and increased need for orthopedic care will drive job growth for orthopedic nurses.

Job prospects are expected to be great especially for orthopedic nurses with extensive experience. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace orthopedic nurses that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do orthopedic nurses make?

As of 2015, the average annual salary for orthopedic nurses is $46,000; average annual orthopedic nurse salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits.

A career as an orthopedic nurse is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in orthopedics and providing care to a variety of patients. Orthopedic nurses must have a solid understanding of the care and treatment of many different musculoskeletal disorders. Physical stamina, patience, determination, detail orientation, and compassion are essential characteristics. Orthopedic nurses must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and ability to interact with a variety of patients and other healthcare professionals. They must be able to effectively work under stress and pressure and make effective decisions in emergency situations.

Becoming an Orthopedic Nurse Requires Training, Start Today

Are you serious about becoming an Orthopedic Nurse? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Degree Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you! 

Also, check out our list of the 10 top nursing schools & best nursing colleges. If you already have a nursing degree, find out what to do with a nursing degree and what kind of jobs you can get after you’ve graduated from nursing school. Check out our list of the best paying nursing jobs if you’re still not sure you want to be a nurse! 

Written by:  George D. Baker

George D. Baker is a long-time contributor to College Mouse. Now retired, Mr. Baker volunteers at adult education programs in his local community.

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