The pulmonary nurse works primarily in the critical care unit of hospitals where patients suffer from a wide variety of diseases associated with their lung function. These conditions can include: asthma, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, and other problems that diminish lung function. This type of nurse needs to have a college degree as well as either a graduate-level degree or a certificate earned through continuing education courses. The main function of this nurse is to monitor patients and provide them with the tools required to help them regain their full lung function.
Patient Care Responsibilities
The pulmonary nurse provides high-quality patient care to all patients in the critical care unit who are suffering from a disorder that results in a decrease of lung function. This nurse may be required to administer lung function tests which provide the doctor with the needed information that will determine how much lung function the patient has or does not have. A large part of the patient care responsibility also includes educating the patient in understanding ways that he can increase his lung function on his own. This can be a trying part of the job as the nurse will often need to advise patients to stop using tobacco products that are providing them with lung problems. This can be difficult since the nurse cannot go home with the patient and watch him to ensure he stops smoking. In the end, the decision is up to the patient to increase his overall lung health.
The key to becoming qualified as a pulmonary nurse is the four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing. This degree program provides enough education and hands-on training for the nurse to be able to work in any specialty they strive for; however, once the nurse begins working in the critical care unit of the hospital, they may also be required to undergo additional training. If the nurse wants to work in the nursing capacity in the unit, they may choose to attend the required continuing education courses that are usually provided by the hospital at no cost to the nurse and are completed in the distance learning format. On the other hand, should the nurse have the ultimate goal of becoming a charge nurse or administrator in the pulmonary field, they will be required to also earn a master’s degree in either pulmonary medicine or critical care nursing which will encompass all of the conditions found in the critical care unit.
The pulmonary nurse’s work is responsible for the care of patients who are in life-threatening situations. This can be a very rewarding job as well as a difficult job when the patient does not make it through his treatment plan. It is up to the nurse in this field to educate and care for these patients to ensure they make the best possible recovery from their lung disorders. With the education and experience required to be a nurse in the pulmonary specialty, the nurse will be fully prepared for any type of pulmonary disorder that comes her way.