How To Become A Dermatologist Nurse

Caring for people’s skin and ensuring that it is healthy and flawless makes dermatology one of the most interesting nursing fields. As a dermatology nurse, you can become a part of someone’s life who needs special care to their skin, while getting paid at the same time. To learn more about dermatology nurse salary and how long does it take to become a dermatology nurse, browse the article below!

A position as a dermatology nurse requires an ADN or BSN degree in addition to an active RN license. Generally, an advanced degree is not required for dermatology nurses, but those interested in becoming a Dermatology Nurse Practitioner will need to complete a Master’s of Science in Nursing degree. In addition to an active RN license, dermatology nurses may choose to attain the Dermatology Nursing Certification offered by the Dermatology Nurses’ Association.

How To Become A Dermatologist Nurse

  1. As with any nursing career, students must first complete and receive either an Associate’s Degree in Nursing or Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited university.

2. After passing the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) exam, individuals must become licensed in their state of practice. The NCLEX is a nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses in the United States and Canada. This schooling may take 2-4 years depending on the length of the program.

3. Once licensed, registered nurses can apply for jobs in the dermatology field. Most physician offices will want nurses with prior work experience which may be obtained on a general medical-surgical hospital inpatient floor.

Education and training

Whether you want to become a registered nurse or a nurse practitioner, the first step is to graduate from an accredited registered nursing program. The next step includes passing the national council licensing exam. Although it may vary, nurses may be hired directly out of school to work in dermatology.

If you want to continue and become a nurse practitioner, additional education is needed. Requirements to get into a nurse practitioner program vary, but usually a bachelor’s of nursing degree is needed. Most nurse practitioner programs are between two and four years, and a master’s degree is awarded after graduation.

An optional certification is available through the Dermatology Nurse Certification Board. The requirements to become certified include a minimum of 2000 hours of experience working in dermatology. Although certification is currently not mandatory, it does show a certain level of competency and knowledge in the field.

Along with formal education and certification, there are certain skills, which dermatology nurses need. For example, nurses should be detail-oriented and have good communication skills.

The responsibilities of a Dermatology Nurse

In general, both registered nurses and nurse practitioners may perform exams and assess a patient’s condition. They may also review diagnostic tests and record medical histories. Nurse practitioners in the field can also diagnose a condition and prescribe treatment.

Some nurse practitioners also remove moles and perform other surgical procedures. Nurses may provide preoperative and postoperative care for patients. Education may also be part of the job. Nurses educate patients on how to take care of skin problems at home.

Skin cancer screening and acne treatment are also part of the job of a dermatology nurse. Nurses in the field of dermatology may also specialize in cosmetic procedures. This may include performing microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser treatments. Most dermatology nurses work in a doctor’s office or dermatology clinic. In addition, nurses may also work in a cosmetic surgeon’s office.

CEU Requirements for Dermatology Nurses

Dermatology nurses do not necessarily have specific requirements beyond state-mandated continuing education. However, DNC recertification does.

Certified nurses must obtain 45 contact hours with a minimum of 30 contact hours specifically related to dermatology nursing. These hours can be used for state licensure recertification and vice versa. 

All dermatology nurses are required to maintain an RN license.

Continuing education requirements for the license differ for each state. Monetary fees and other state-specific criteria are also associated with all license and certification renewals.  

Examples of continuing education requirements for RNs are as follows: 

  • Arkansas – 15 contact hours every 2 years
  • Illinois – 20 contact hours every 2 years
  • Florida – 24 contact hours every 2 years
  • Iowa – 36 hours every 2 years
  • Pennsylvania – 30 contact hours every 2 years 

Some states do not require CEU’s to maintain an RN license. Examples include Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, and Indiana. Several states also require HIV/AIDS education such as New York, Minnesota, and Kentucky. It is important for nurses to check their state’s RN credentialing body for exact CEU requirements.  

Pros and cons of dermatology nursing

Some areas of nursing, such as working in the emergency or operating room, can be stressful. Life and death situations are a frequent occurrence in certain medical specialties. Although nurses may treat patients with skin cancer, many conditions treated are not serious or debilitating, which can mean less stress.

Because emergencies in dermatology are uncommon, hours worked are usually during the day, which can also be considered a pro. If you are someone who thrives on excitement and a fast-paced work environment, you may find dermatology unexciting, which can be a con for some.

Career Outlook for Dermatology Nurses

The BLS predicts that employment for registered nurses will grow 16 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Overall growth will occur for a number of reasons, but primarily due to the increased emphasis on preventive care, including regular dermatology check-ups, and the increase in skin cancer in the United States.

Furthermore, the demand for healthcare services from the baby-boom population will cause a dramatic need for nurses in specific nursing fields, such as dermatology. 

Additionally, advancements in cosmetic dermatology have resulted in a very positive career outlook for nurses interested in specializing in dermatology.

What is a Dermatology Nurse?

Dermatology nurses are a type of Registered Nurse that work specifically in the treatment and care of patients with diseases, wounds, injuries, and other skin conditions. 

Dermatology nurses have the ability to work in a wide range of settings, including, but not limited to, private practice offices, hospitals, infusion centers, clinics, plastic surgeons’ offices, and burn centers. 

Dermatology nurses can also find work in day spas or cosmetic dermatology offices as this is currently on the rise. These nurses will assist performing procedures such as laser treatments, tattoo removal, chemical peels, and other various treatments. 

PART TWO What Does a Dermatology Nurse Do?

Dermatology nurses work with the medical team to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of different skin injuries and conditions. Dermatology nurses assist in performing skin exams, documenting current patient’s conditions, taking vital signs, recording medical history, and obtaining lab specimens and results. They work very closely with physicians on a daily basis and responsibilities can vary depending on the skill level of the nurse. 

Dermatology nurses are responsible for educating patients and their caregivers on how to care for skin conditions and recover from treatments once the patient has returned home.

Some of the most common skin conditions they help diagnose and treat are:

  • Burns
  • Skin Cancer
  • Warts
  • Acne
  • Impetigo
  • Rosacea
  • Psoriasis
  • Moles

COSMETIC DERMATOLOGY

Cosmetic Dermatology, while not entirely a new field, has become one of the fastest-growing medical fields in the last decade. According to statistics, in 2011, more than 12 billion minimally invasive cosmetic dermatology procedures were performed.

The goal of cosmetic dermatology is to attain and maintain healthy, natural skin. Treatments can range from deep cleansing, refreshing, rejuvenating, and restoring skin texture and tone, to reducing skin imperfections. These imperfections can be caused by:

  • Acne
  • Age Spots
  • Birthmarks
  • Lines and wrinkles
  • Melasma
  • Moles
  • Skin discoloration (sun spots)
  • Skin tags
  • Stretch marks

Cosmetic dermatology nurses will also assist with the following procedures:

  • Laser Hair Removal
  • Tattoo removal
  • Chemical peels
  • Scar removal
  • IPL photofacials
  • Laser skin resurfacing
  • Dermal fillers and injectables
  • Hair loss restoration
  • Laser skin tightening

An increasing number of general dermatology practices and branching into cosmetic dermatology due to the demand and endless financial possibilities.

For this reason, the growth in this aspect of the field is exponentially greater than conventional dermatology practices. A general rule of thumb is the increase in the number of services an office can provide to patients – the greater the opportunities for the nursing staff. 

dermatologist nurse salary

Due to the diversity of work settings, salaries for dermatology nurses can also vary greatly. With any career in nursing, it is important to research geographic areas of interest and the requirements to understand the salary for specific job opportunities.

According to payscale.com, the average salary for a dermatology nurse is $23.96 with a median yearly salary of $52,035. This figure is ever changing as it is directly related to a limited number of current job opportunities reported in the field. 

Payscale.com does report the average salary range of dermatology nurses at a handful of hospitals throughout the country. Five hospitals and/or healthcare systems on the list include:

HospitalStateSalary Range
Comanche County Memorial HospitalOklahoma$39,000 – $49,000
Bayhealth Medical CenterDelaware$54,000 – $72,000
Midland Memorial HospitalTexas$48,000 – $56,000
Shady Grove Adventist HospitalMaryland$66,000 – $81,000
Stanford Hospital and ClinicsCalifornia$86,000 – $124,000

Despite information reported on Payscale.com there is very limited information regarding specific salaries for dermatology nurses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2016, the mean hourly wage for registered nurses in was $32.91 while the average annual salary was $68,450

The BLS identifies the following as the highest paying states for nursing: 

StateHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
California$48.92$101,750
Massachusetts$42.82$89,060
Hawaii$42.75$88,910
Oregon$41.83$87,000
Alaska$41.56$86,450

In the same year, the BLS ranked the highest mean annual salaries for nurses, and the top ten were in California. The top five from the list are as follows: 

Metropolitan AreaHourly AvgAnnual Avg
San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA$65.68$136,610
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA$60.06$124,920
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA$59.80$124,380
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA$58.02$120,680
Salinas, CA$57.75$120,120

how long does it take to become a dermatology nurse?

Obtain nurse practitioner certification by passing a comprehensive test that assesses your knowledge, skills, and understanding of nursing best practices. Nurses who pursue a dermatology NP license full time can complete the process in 5 to 8 years.

how to become a dermatology nurse uk

Step 1: Earn Your Degree

As with any nursing career, students must first complete and receive either an Associate’s Degree in Nursing or Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited university. This schooling may take 2-4 years depending on the length of the program.

Step 2: Become Licensed

After passing the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) exam, individuals must become licensed in their state of practice. The NCLEX is a nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses in the United States and Canada. 

Step 3: Earn Experience

Once licensed, registered nurses will want to earn experience, preferably in the field of dermatology. Most physician’s offices will also want nurses with prior work experience which may be obtained on a general medical-surgical hospital inpatient floor.

Step 4: Get Certified

Earning your certification can lead to increased job opportunities and increased earning potential. 

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