Orthopedic Nurse

Orthopedic nurses work with patients suffering from musculoskeletal conditions, like joint replacement, arthritis, fractures, and muscular dystrophy. They are responsible for assisting orthopedic physicians and surgeons in their day to day work, so they must have a general knowledge about this specialization before working in the field. If you enjoy learning about skeletal disorders and caring for patients suffering from them, you may do well in orthopedic nursing. The orthopedic nurse job description below will hopefully provide you with enough information to figure out if you would do well in this career.

Orthopedic Nurse Job Duties

The job duties of an orthopedic nurse will depend on his or her location, years of experience, position, and many other factors. Some orthopedic nurses have more responsibilities than others, but this career as a whole will require a lot of effort no matter where you work. Common job duties for orthopedic nurses include:

  • Administering medications to patients
  • Inserting IVs into patients that are on an extended stay
  • Changing dressings in a way that will not hurt patients
  • Monitoring the vital signs of orthopedic patients
  • Checking on the site of an orthopedic surgery
  • Assisting orthopedists in their everyday activities
  • Communicating with patients about the status of their condition
  • Changing bed pans for patients staying in the hospital

You may not know the exact duties for your job as an orthopedic nurse until you get hired somewhere, but that should give you an idea of some of the responsibilities you will have in the future. The more experience you have in this field, the more responsibilities you will pick up. You just have to be prepared for that working in a health care facility. At the end of the day though, that will give you a chance to be better at your job and make more money to support your family.

Orthopedic Nurse Salary Levels

Different sectors of nursing provide for different income levels, so you may want to research your future earnings to find out which area you want to specialize in. In the case of orthopedic nursing, your salary will vary by specialty, industry, years of experience, and many other factors. If you want to figure out what your orthopedic nurse salary may be, you may want to review some of the national averages at the moment. Here are a few charts to keep in mind, courtesy of PayScale.com:

Salary by Specialty

  • Acute Care: $78,987 per year
  • Case Management: $72,000 per year
  • Medicine or Surgery: $81,779 per year
  • Operating Room: $60,750 per year
  • Orthopedics: $76,250 per year
  • Quality Improvement: $85,814 per year

Salary by Years of Experience

  • Less than 5 years: $70,567 per year
  • 5-9 years: $74,497 per year
  • 10-19 years: $74,880 per year
  • 20 years or more: $90,000 per year

Salary by Industry

  • Acute Care Hospital: $79,950 per year
  • Hospital: $60,300 per year
  • Orthopedic Surgery: $70,500 per year

Salary by Hospital Setting

  • Extended Care or Nursing Home: $92,500 per year
  • General Hospital: $76,639 per year

Orthopedic nurses make great money, especially after they have worked in the field for a while. You could start off as a registered nurse and then move into orthopedics after you have some hands-on training. That is what a lot of people do in order to make more money. Whatever you choose to do, you at least now know that you could make a good living working in orthopedic nursing.

How to Become an Orthopedic Nurse

If you would like to be a part of orthopedic nursing, you will need to first become a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing degree (BSN). Once you have passed your licensure exam to work as an RN, you will then need to complete a master’s degree program in orthopedic nursing. That will give you the specialized training you need to work in this field. You will take classes related to orthopedics so you can understand medical procedures and terminology you may come across in your career. As long as you pay attention during your degree program, you should be able to go through your career with all the knowledge you need for success.