Hello everyone, welcome to another interesting guide on Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners!
This article will not just define what the role is but also explain other things you need to know about this exciting professional Nursing career.
By the time you are done reading this guide, you will have understood what this career involves and if you are cut out for this.
Here are some questions that will be answered in this guide:
- What is an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner?
- What are some duties of an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner?
- What skills must you cultivate in order to make a success of this career path?
- What is the job outlook for Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners?
Let’s start right away!
What is an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner?
The word “orthopedic” is a division of medicine that deals with the prevention or correction of deformities of bones and muscles or the musculoskeletal system.
So, an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner is an individual trained to treat and care for people suffering from musculoskeletal disorders.
Some of these disorders are; arthritis, fractures, clubfoot (which is common in babies), stiffness, and inflammation of the joints and connective tissues.
These disorders are usually caused by one or more of these; infections, sustained injuries, congenital abnormalities, and deformities.
The most common abnormalities Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners see on a daily basis are; acute or chronic pain in the jaw, arthritis, weakness, and loss of muscle mass, fibromyalgia, stretching, ligament tear (commonly known as a sprain), and fractures.
An Orthopedic Nurse conveniently carries out the duties of a regular Nurse such as, caring generally for different patients with various health conditions, administering medications, treating injuries, making reports, and others.
However, Orthopedic Nurses focus on various musculoskeletal disorders:
- Genetic disorders
- Muscular dystrophy
- Spinal decompression and fusion
- Bone tumors
- Ankle replacement
- Sports medicine
- Joint care and reconstruction
- Metabolic disease
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), as well as others who take on Orthopedic Nursing, have prior knowledge and understanding of the field before starting the course, as such it is a subspecialty for many.
According to a 2010 report by the AANP, the percentage of Nurses practicing sports medicine and orthopedics is just about 2 percent.
Still, musculoskeletal disorders are the main cause of deformities in the middle-aged and a general cause of patients’ visits to Healthcare Providers.
Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners demand severely refined knowledge, intense training, and acquisition of skills and years of experience, yet there is just a small number of them in the United States.
Duties of an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner
Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners carry out all sorts of orthopedic care, whether for muscles, bones, joints, and ligaments.
Nevertheless, they can specialize in one of the following areas:
- Genetic disorders
- Sports medicine
- Joint care and reconstruction
- Metabolic disease
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Bone tumors
- Spinal decompression and fusion
- Ankle replacement
Other Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner Specialties are:
- Working with the health care team to examine patient primary care and decide the most suitable plans to use
- Working as a Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Physician Assistant
- Complying with The Joint Commission in administering pain management methods and other medications
- Providing and interchanging treatment plans as needed, for musculoskeletal convalescent and aesthetic surgery patients
- Prepare patients ahead of surgery, assist during surgery, and give supportive treatment after surgery as necessary to aid in quick recovery
- Helping in the orthopedic convalescent joint reconstruction process, day patient minor joint surgery, and major surgeries such as Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstructions
- Enlightening patients and their families on health analysis, curative procedures, and pain management skills
- Regularly guiding and attending to subsequent inquiries on orthopedic patient care as well as a continuous reexamination of patients after treatment
- Planing with the patient’s Healthcare Provider and surgical unit and fix the patient for surgery
- Administering Preoperative care to patients
- Requesting conduct or assess diagnostic and laboratory reports
- Single-handedly prepare a plan of treatment and administer medication or consult with a medic before doing so
- Administering, removing, and educating on protective and supportive components used for patients with fractured or injured bones and joints
- Administering Acute care to patients suffering from musculoskeletal disorders
Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners work alongside Orthopedic Surgeons in making routine rounds on their patients.
They also perform pre-operative checks and post-operative checks as well as give intraoperative care sometimes.
All these depend largely on their assigned domain.
Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners work hand in hand with Orthopedic Surgeons in caring for patients as well as regularly connect with other healthcare professionals to ascertain their patients receive adequate and effective treatments to improve their condition.
Where Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners work
You can work in several clinical settings as a Registered Orthopedic Nurse.
You administer care to sufferers of musculoskeletal problems at the hospital as well as monitor the health progress of outpatients on a long-term basis.
As an Orthopedic Registered Nurse, you also evaluate a patient, start procedures for treatment and inform the Healthcare Providers of significant changes in the patient’s health.
You may give post-operative care at the hospital so as to guarantee successful recuperation.
You are an active part of the group of healthcare professionals.
Your function is vital to smooth communication among team members as you make sure every health professional participating in the care of a particular patient is adequately informed of steps carried out by others on the team thus resulting in the best care and outcome for the patient.
You also maintain good communication with patients and their families so as speak for them when necessary.
As an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner, you have received intense education and training and passed the Board certification exam which makes you qualified to practice in a wide variety of settings.
You can examine, analyze, estimate, and handle patients suffering from orthopedic disorders.
You can also interpret diagnostic test reports such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans, X-rays, and the Computed Tomography scan (CT scan) amongst others.
An Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner administers treatment such as cryotherapy or calefaction, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic medications, controlled and non-controlled medications, physiotherapy, etc.
You work hand-in-hand with Surgeons in the surgical room, rendering assistance as needed, you can make routine rounds on patients and maintain contact with outpatients to make sure a chosen treatment plan is effective.
Your work conditions thus differ a little from that of a Registered Nurse as you do all the aforementioned in one position.
Being a Certified Orthopedic Nurse is an option available to both Orthopedic Registered Nurses and Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners.
There are many advantages of being an Orthopedic Nurse.
First, you have a rare opportunity to specialize in different forms of patient care that you love.
Second, you do not have to work weekends or holidays, mostly (although this depends on the organization you choose to work with).
You may need to work more than your regular work days weekly depending on the needs of patients or the number of patients on the ground, so leave your weekends and holidays open.
You can become a Certified Orthopedic Nurse which demonstrates your capability and commitment to your career.
This is an added advantage because it is not available to all Nurse Practitioners.
Mostly, you can work in different sections; surgical unit, clinical unit, and making routine rounds on inpatients who undergo surgery.
This makes you have not only a busy but enjoyable schedule week-in, week-out.
Sample Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner Job Description
The following job description was advertised by the Sacred Heart Healthcare facility in Sacramento, California recently.
While the job may no longer be open, it will give you an idea of what the job description of Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners looks like.
“Sacred Heart Healthcare facility is requesting an outstanding Orthopedic Nurse practitioner or Medical Assistant for its ultra-modern facility in Brian’s Ville Sacramento, California.
All applying, must have training and experience in joint reconstruction, musculoskeletal disease, and assessment and be able to prepare a detailed report of patients’ medical background.
We are presenting to you a chance to acquire additional knowledge and skills from top Orthopedic Surgeons as well as work closely with a host of other healthcare professionals committed to giving the best quality care to both in and outpatients.
Working with Sacred Heart Healthcare Facility is working in the most enjoyable environment!
- You should have more than 2 years of orthopedic work experience in both day patients and inpatients
- Your work will be with 70% convalescent and 30%-day patient
- This is not an Assistant (to a Surgeon) position
- You work 5 days a week- Monday through Friday
- You will be required to perform occupational therapy and take on-call duties
Where You’ll Work
Sacred Heart Healthcare facility is furnished with 362 beds, as well as ultra-modern diagnostic equipment and a strong workforce committed to delivering a wide variety of primary and secondary healthcare services.
Sacred Heart Healthcare facility has received various awards from The Leapfrog Group, The Joint Commission Group and also the Orthopedic Surgery Excellence Award for its devotion to evidence-based and scholarly-proven care.
Sacred Heart Healthcare facility also has the most popularly known cancer Institute – a front-liner in medical discoveries and progress in the care of cancer patients.
Where You’ll Live
Sacramento is one of the most serene environments to live in California for at least 3 reasons; it is home to a host of Hollywood stars as well as just 10 miles from the city’s center, it has a beautiful relaxation beach, a sunny climate, and a mountain view scenery which is a mile from the city’s center.
Its beautiful relaxation centers and closeness to nature make it a perfect habitat for you.
Who You’ll Work For
Sacred Heart Healthcare facility is known nationwide with different annexes in 12 states.
We are recognized for administering exclusive and tender care to all patients in need of such, especially the destitute.
We have well over 140000 employees and Care Providers working in about 69 hospitals, 900 clinics, and a wide realm of health and social services.
Our mission statement – is “life is Sacred, all humans are”.
Sacred: life is, health is, we are!
There’s equal opportunity for both veterans and newbies.
Job ID Number: 12604.”
Required Skills and abilities needed to succeed as an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner
You need good collaborative, managerial, and analytic skills to be an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner.
These skills impact patient care, so they are all equally important.
The must-have skills of an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner are listed below:
1. Clinical Skills
The Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner should be effective and bold in using acquired skills and experiences in administering patient care.
The Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner must be able to examine various orthopedic conditions and administer suitable treatment, even in the emergency room.
The Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner must be able to explain Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) results (and the likes) and subsequent procedures for the patient as well as examine post-operative wounds for infections, make necessary stitches, place or remove a cast and use the required brace for a different injury.
Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners must also obtain a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) to gain some Advanced Practice experience in delivering patient care.
Teamwork is highly vital in orthopedics as in other areas of healthcare.
An Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner works cooperatively with other medical experts to provide both the most effective care and the choice results for patients.
From time to time, they will need to consult with other Healthcare Practitioners to come up with the best treatment plan.
At other times, people who suffer from musculoskeletal disorders might need more than one Medical Practitioner to work on them before positive results can be seen.
If an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner lacks the ability to collaborate with other Practitioners, this can impact the health of their patients negatively.
3. Strong communication skills
Strong communication skills and effective teamwork go hand in hand, there cannot be teamwork without good communication.
The Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner communicates with other healthcare experts to make sure patients get a choice to care.
The Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner also communicates with the patient and his/her family to explain the result of the analysis or tests carried out and the suitable treatment options available to get the best result for the patient.
4. Professional Development
The Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner must set attainable goals for career development.
Some healthcare establishments require their Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners to go for career development programs yearly while others do not attach a specific time to it.
Still, it is all-important that Nurse Practitioners engage in personal development like participating in the different Continuing Education programs (CEU) so as to hone already acquired skills, develop new ones and stay updated on recent developments in healthcare and orthopedics.
Use the above-mentioned skills as a foundation for your career as a confident, skilled, and successful Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner.
There are however other skills required to be an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner.
- Physical strength
Although the road might seem far, becoming an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner is rewarding and profitable.
A review of this guide has reminded you of the duties of an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner, what it takes to succeed in the profession, and what skills you need to cultivate.
A look at the demand for Nurses generally has also impressed on your mind you can work in several settings.
So, if this guide has really helped you, start your journey right away!
And if you are interested in any other career path, feel free to check out other guides on the site for an in-depth explanation of what you need to do.
Are Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner jobs stressful?
Not exactly. Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners work closely with other healthcare professionals. The responsibilities of an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner are similar to those of a Registered Nurse; however, they may be responsible for a fairly heavy caseload, but they have acquired skills and experiences that help them manage these well.
How long does it take to become a licensed Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner?
On average, it can take 8 years to become an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is 2 years, the BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) Program is 4 years, while MSN Nursing Programs take 2 years. Orthopedic Nursing education will also take at least 2 years.
What is the annual average salary of Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an Orthopedic Nurse can make an annual salary of $155,000 in the United States. Although, how much they make annually will depend on certain factors like clinical experience, certification, location, the medical center, licensure (NCLEX-RN), and other special skills.
What Nursing degree do you need to qualify as an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner?
You need at least a Master of Science degree from an MSN Program in a relevant Nursing or Nurse -related discipline. Be sure to obtain your Nursing degree from a CCNE accredited institution of higher learning. A BSN program is not enough to become an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner.
What is the Job Outlook for Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners?
There is currently a great demand and career opportunities for Nurses. As the human population grows older, there will continue to be more need for Orthopedic Nurses. With old age comes a need for specialized musculoskeletal treatments and surgeries. More need for conditions like hip replacements, arthritis, and osteoporosis.
What is the Orthopedic Nurses Certification Board?
The Orthopedic Nursing Certification Board (ONCB) is a national association that awards certification to Orthopedic Nurses. The certification is the Orthopedic Nurse Certified (ONC-P and ONP-C certification) credential which requires applicants to write a certification exam.