101 Careers in Nursing

By Jeanne M. Novotny; Doris T. Lippman et al. | Go to book overview
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Burn Nurse
1. Basic description —Nurses who work with burn patients perform comprehensive, highly specialized critical care to adults, geriatric, and pediatric patients who have sustained burn injuries involving up to 100% of total body surface area. The working environment on a burn unit is very intense. The nurse must continually be involved in assessment, planning, and evaluation of care. As part of a highly functioning interdisciplinary team, the nurse must recognize physiological and behavioral changes and know their significance to patient survival. Burn nurses administer pain and other medications, operate special equipment specific to the burn unit, and must maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in their patients.
2. Educational requirements—RN preparation.
3. Core competencies/skills needed—Most burn units require 1 year of general medical-surgical or critical care experience, as well as the following:
Knowledge of the pathophysiology of burns
Complete understanding of fluid and electrolyte balance
Technical competency involving complex equipment
Ability to work with patients on ventilators
Knowledge of pain management
Skilled in the use of aseptic technique
Interpersonal competency dealing with patients and families in life-threatening situations
Ability to work with interdisciplinary teams
4. Compensation —Similar to nurses in other specialty units such as critical care; starting RN salary is approximately $40,000.
5. Employment outlook—High
6. Related Web sites and professional organizations:
American Burn Association: www.ameriburn.org
Nurse Friendly: www.nursefriendly.com/burn/


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101 Careers in Nursing
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