What Is a Neuroscience Nurse?

The field of neuroscience is considered one of the most specialized aspects of the medical arena. If you have been considering a nursing career as a certified neuroscience registered nurse, it is likely that you have already researched how to become a neuroscience nurse – more than once.

Although your questions might have differed somewhat, these are a few of the questions that need answers if you are to determine if a neuroscience nursing career is a good fit for your skills and career objectives.

  • What does a neuroscience nurse do?
  • What is a neuroscience nurse responsible for on a daily basis?
  • What is neuroscience nursing, and how does one become certified for one of the available neuroscience nurse jobs?
  • Is there a neuroscience nursing certification that can help improve your chances of landing the right job?

The field of neuroscience primarily focuses on the human body’s nervous system, which includes the spinal cord and the human brain, among miles of networks of nerve fibers. Medical professionals, like a certified neuroscience nurse, work professionally to treat injuries and illnesses that impact the nervous system.

The human body’s nervous system is perhaps one of the most complex systems in the human body. The nervous system plays a critical part in every bodily function through its network of neurons, nerve cells, and fibers. Typically, a nervous system injury can have devastating consequences that leave patients without the ability to talk, walk, full paralysis, or even close to death.

What Is a Neuroscience Nurse?

A neuroscience nurse helps patients who are suffering from an illness or an injury involving the head or spine. Neurological diseases include epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, meningitis, and encephalitis, among others. Other neurological issues can occur from an individual who has had a stroke or from a congenital disability.

Neuroscience is considered one of the most challenging of medical specialties. Neuroscience nursing professionals are trained to work with the complex nervous system using sophisticated, cutting-edge technology in their professional treatment of patients. Neuroscience nursing professionals often participate in diagnostic testing like MRIs or CT scans and are often trained to read and interpret the results of these tests.

Patients with neurological issues can be somewhat challenging to work with as their behavior – from the neurological malady – can be unpredictable and erratic. For this reason, neuroscience nurse jobs require nursing professionals to have exceptional communication skills and patience.

A certified neuroscience nurse generally works with other neuroscience specialists in rehabilitation centers, home care facilities, brain injury units in hospitals, as well as in operating rooms.

How to Become a Certified Neuroscience Nurse

The first step in obtaining a neuroscience nurse certification is to earn a Registered Nurse (RN) license by enrolling in a nursing diploma program or academic nursing degree program that leads to a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Nursing degree (BSN).

To become an RN, a nursing candidate must pass the NCLEX-RN exam, also known as the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

The next step in obtaining a neuroscience certification for nurses would be to become eligible to take the certification exam offered by the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (ANNN).

The American Association of Neuroscience Nurses

The American Association of Neuroscience Nursing is recognized as the leading authority in the field of neuroscience nursing and in the neuroscience certification for nurses. To be eligible to sit for the Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse examination, one must meet these requirements –

  • Have two years of full-time RN experience working indirectly or directly with patients in a medical neuroscience setting. This experience must have occurred with the previous five years.
  • Examples of direct experience include working with patients.
  • Examples of indirect experience include working as a consultant, supervisor, or researcher in the field of neuroscience.

Neuroscience Nursing Salary Information

The Occupational Outlook Handbook issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes the statistics on a neuroscience nurse salary in several categories.

According to the BLS’s Medical Scientist category, of which a neuroscience nursing job is one, the median neuroscience nurse salary for 2019 was $88,790 per year, which translates to $42.69 per hour.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the BLS denotes that in 2019, Registered Nurses had an annual median salary of $73,300, which translates to $35.24 per hour. This category is an accurate indicator of the amount one can expect for a neuroscience nursing salary.

Many neuroscience nurses choose to become a Nurse Practitioner. According to the BLS, Nurse Practitioners had a median neuroscience nurse salary in 2019 of $115,800 per year, which translates to $55.67 per hour.

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