How Do You Become a Pulmonary Nurse?

If you would like to work as a nurse who specializes in respiratory care, you should research what it takes to become a pulmonary nurse. Pulmonary nurses, also known as respiratory care nurses, are professionals who care for patients who have complications that have an effect on the lungs or the respiratory system as a whole. Here is what you need to know before you start your journey to becoming a nurse specializing in pulmonary care:

Learn About Your Duties and Where You Will Work as a Pulmonary Care Nurse

Every nursing specialist performs a different set of duties while care for a different patient demographic. Before you jump at a specific specialty, it is important that you know what your responsibilities will be and where you might work once you are certified, according to Every Nurse. In general, pulmonary nurses assist patients who suffer from chronic and acute illnesses that have an effect on their respiratory system. Some of these illnesses include lung cancer, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and emphysema.

You can work in hospitals, private practice offices, emergency settings, health clinics, assisted living facilities, long-term care facilities, and home health agencies when you are a qualified respiratory nurse. In most of these settings, specialist nurses will assess patients, monitor vital signs, examine patients and measure lung capacity. It is also the nurses role to help patients make lifestyle changes so that they can reduce their lung problems in the future.

The First Step is to Become a Registered Nurse

All pulmonary nurses are registered nurses who have experience in clinical and emergency settings. If you are not yet a registered nurse, you need to earn a nursing diploma or a bachelor’s degree in nursing first. After you earn a diploma from an accredited institution, you need to sit for the National Council Licensure Exam. Once you pass the NCLEX-RN exam, you will have a license so that you can get the patient-facing experience that you need to eventually become a specialist.

Put Your RN License to Use

It is important to get experience in a setting where you can develop skills that you will need to work with respiratory care patients. Most prospective specialists will start by working in emergency departments or clinics that care for patients who have respiratory issues. After you gain work experience, you can start your training.

Take Specialty Coursework to Expand Your Knowledge

It is very important to take training that is specific to pulmonary care. You can enroll in a master’s degree program and focus your curriculum on areas that are relevant to the field. Some of the courses that you can take to help include: pulmonology, physiology, ventilation procedures, and administering oxygen.

Get Certified to Become a Specialist

The best path to getting qualified is to become a Certified Critical Care Nurse. With this credential, you can show that you are competent in the skills that you need to succeed when giving pulmonary care and other types of critical care in a clinical setting. To be eligible for your certification, you must be an RN who has given at least 1750 hours of bedside care, according to the American Association for Critical-Care Nurses.

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Breathing problems can take a serious toll on a patient’s quality of life. If you want to care for patients with breathing issues while offering them support, follow these steps and you can become a pulmonary nurse who specializes in respiratory care.