Pain Management Nurses are advance care nurses who typically have a Bachelors or Masters degree of Science in Nursing. Pain management is one of the most complex and involved skills in the nursing profession.
While pain management nurses do not prescribe pain medicines, they do administer them per orders of the physician. Being in more frequent contact with the patients than the doctor is, the pain management nurse is skilled at monitoring and assessing the patients condition and are also skilled at being able to asses pain levels via verbal and non-verbal methods and if needed will consult with the physician to recommend a change in dosage or in the type of medication currently being administered if the patient is not getting the pain relief that they should be getting.
They are also very knowledgeable and familiar with pain medications and non-pain medications not just because they have a need due to their profession, but also due to the fact that patients can suffer adverse side effects from them and pain medications can become addictive to the patient and the fact that pain medication can also conflict with other medications that the patient may be on which also can create very adverse reactions and severe consequences to the patient.
These nurses deal specifically with treating acute and chronic pain. Many people suffer chronic or acute pain stemming from an injury or disease. It is these nurses, that in conjunction with pain management physicians, lay out a plan and treat the symptoms. They also acts as a liaison between the patient, various medical specialists and multiple medical facilities in order to better coordinate a solid plan of treatment for the patient.
Where chronic pain is in play, there is a higher risk of addiction by the patient, as well as cumulative damage from the more potent pain medications. Pain management nurses must be fully aware and knowledgeable of the many potential complications that can result from long-term pain management therapy such as hypertension and damage to various internal organs that sometimes result from long-term pain management care.
Another aspect of them is to educate their patients on the various side effects and potential damage to internal organs as well as shifts in behavior and mental state resulting from pain medications, including any potential conflicts with other non-pain medication that the patient may be taking.
Chronic pain management is also involved with hospice and palliative care. In these cases, the patient’s condition and health will steadily decline and the pain management nurse is then tasked with helping maintain a balance of mental clarity and quality of life for as long as possible.
Often times pain will manage to break through the pain medication that the patient is already under and this is what as termed as breakthrough pain. These nurses are trained to asses and deal with breakthrough pain and to consult with physicians in order to address the spike in pain and treat it accordingly.
There are three main categories to pain that cover a broad area of conditions that the nurse will treat during his or her career:
1: Acute Pain – Acute pain is specific and has a transient cause such as from an injury or from a recent surgery.
2: Chronic Pain- Chronic pain is pain that lasts a long time, long-term, and stems from problems such as various forms of arthritis or neurological conditions.
3: Breakthrough Pain – Breakthrough pain is a sudden return and spike in pain in a patient that is already medicated with pain medicine. When Breakthrough pain occurs, the patients’ pain medication dosage may need to be altered, or the pain medication itself may need to be changed. In some cases a second type of pain medication may have to be administered along with the first and primary pain medication to keep the pain at bay.
Anyone wishing to become a nurse and specialize in pain management will attend and graduate from an accredited nursing school with a bachelor’s degree. Associate degree holders are not eligible and must attend continuing education and obtain their full bachelors degree of science in nursing. From this point, they will work as a Registered Nurse in whatever department they are hired in, and if not directly hired in a pain management department, they will have to wait until they can transfer into one before their 2,000 hours can begin to accumulate.
Pain Management Nurses require specialized training for their profession. They must also be board certified. To become board certified, a Registered Nurse needs to have a minimum of 2,000 hours of on the job training in a pain management setting over the preceding three years and have a minimum of 15 hours of pain specific continuing education.
Due to their specialized skills Pain management nurses earn on average between $75,000.00 and $105,000.00 annually and the average median income for a pain management nurse resides in the $85,000.00 per year range. It is one of the highest paying specialties, approaching the pay for Nurse Practitioners.
Latest posts by George Tall (see all)
- California Kaiser Nurse Strike Cancelled - January 19, 2015
- Ohio Set To Ax School Nurses - January 14, 2015
- Tuscaloosa CNA Arrested for Punching 93 Year Old Patient - January 12, 2015