How to Become a Dermatology Nurse

Dermatology nurses may assist with plastic surgery procedures.

Dermatology nurses may assist with plastic surgery procedures.

Your skin is your body's largest organ, and it serves a multitude of purposes, not the least of which is helping keep your other organs in place. Dermatology nurses care for patients with wounds, injuries, conditions and diseases of the skin, including skin cancer. While all registered nurses can work in a dermatologist's office, only those with additional experience and training may become certified as dermatology nurses.

Earn your registered nurse degree. While lesser-trained licensed practical nurses can work in dermatology settings, credentials as a dermatology nurse are limited to candidates who hold a current and unrestricted registered nurse's license. Three primary educational pathways prepare you to sit for the required National Council Licensure Examination-RN. You can earn a bachelor of science in nursing degree; an associate degree in nursing; or a nursing diploma from an accredited program at a teaching hospital. It takes from two to four years of full-time study to complete such programs. You must be licensed by the state where you wish to practice, and each state's board of nursing might have additional licensing requirements.

Gain experience working in the dermatology field. The Dermatology Nursing Certification Board requires you to gain at least two years of experience working as an RN in a dermatology setting, and to have at least 2,000 hours of dermatology nursing work experience during the two years before taking the credentialing exam. This experience can be in a variety of capacities, including research, administrative, teaching or in staff dermatology nursing practice.

Pass the dermatology nursing certification examination. The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions and requires up to four hours to complete. The test includes a dermatology nursing practice section and a patient problem section. It covers such areas as general and surgical dermatology; skin diseases; disorders and conditions of the skin; infections; wounds; photo-therapy; and hair and nail treatments. Candidates who pass the exam are awarded the Dermatology Nurse Certified credential.

 

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