What is a Pain Management Nurse?

Are you considering a career as a pain management nurse? This specialized branch of nursing is set for rapid growth as sweeping changes in prescription drug policies are implemented across the nation. The health care industry needs medical experts with dedicated training to help patients control their pain in a safe and non-addictive manner. With training and certification in pain management nursing, you could be one of those experts.

How To Become a Pain Management Nurse

The first step towards becoming a registered nurse (RN) is to complete an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. After graduation, you’ll need to pass your state’s licensing exam and uphold professional standards to maintain your license. Because pain management nurses need advanced assessment and pharmacology knowledge, you will ultimately need a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree for this specialized role. Some nursing students choose to earn their associate degree and then complete a RN to BSN bridge program once they’ve started working. Other nurses start in a bachelor’s program. This route means you’ll spend fewer total years in school, but won’t be able to start earning money as quickly as RNs who attend classes while working on their BSN. Once you’ve earned your bachelor’s degree and have at least two years of full-time experience, you can take the Pain Management Nurse Certification Examination from the American Society for Pain Management Nursing.

What Pain Management Nurses Do

As a nurse in a pain management role, you will deliver healing and relief to patients recovering from surgery, coping with chronic illnesses or managing a severe injury. You’ll consult with physicians to determine the best range of pharmacological and non-medical treatment options for patients. Because you work more closely with patients than your physician colleagues, you’ll be the one determining the exact steps of the pain management plan to implement. You will be evaluating patients’ need for pain management medications and educating them on alternative options like meditation, exercise and self-care. You might coordinate patient recovery groups in a long-term setting or perform rapid assessments in an emergency room or post-operative recovery ward.

Job Outlook for Pain Management Nurses

Improper use of prescription painkillers is drawing attention, because many experts link the overprescribing of opiates to the rise in heroin addictions and deaths. Patient safety advocates want to see massive reform in medical procedures and state laws. The Food and Drug Administration, a federal agency that regulates drug policies in the United States, is getting involved in the fight against painkiller abuse, according to NBC News. This focus on appropriate long-term strategies for helping patients use opiates responsibly is good news for nurses involved in pain management. The demand for trained paraprofessionals will continue to grow as policymakers search for ways to limit drug addiction stemming from the health care industry. Pain management nursing is a great career choice for you if you want to be involved in macro-level health care decisions.

Related Resource: Become an Occupational Health Nurse

You can make a difference in the immediate pain levels of your patients and in their long-term recovery efforts. As a pain management nurse, you will have a challenging and fulfilling role as a healer and a leader in health care policy.