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Pain Management Nurse

What is a Pain Management Nurse?

This nursing career involves working with patients who suffer from long-term or acute pain.  The job description includes finding the source to patients’ pain and implementing a treatment plan for them.  Your work in this career will often be in a hospital, rehab center, or elder care facility/rest home. 

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To Become a Pain Management Nurse

A pain management nurse is a registered nurse holding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN).  To become a registered nurse, you will need to obtain a nursing diploma in either an Associate Nursing program (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Once you have completed either of these nursing programs, you will need to pass your National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX – RN).

Once you have passed that test, you are qualified to work as a registered nurse. To continue into a pain management career, you will need practice in pain management nursing. The pain management certification exam requires 2000 hours work experience with in three years. The American nurses credentialing Center (ANCC) offers a certification (RN – BC).

There are a few ways to obtain a bachelors in nursing. By starting with an Associates degree, followed by your registered nurse exam, you’ll be able to begin working as an RN.  However, you’ll need to complete your nursing bachelor’s degree to become a certified pain management nurse.  To do this, you can enter a bridge nursing program entitled RN-to-BSN.  This degree program is widely available through most nursing schools and applies much of your associate work toward you BSN.  The benefit of doing a bridge nursing program is that you can begin working as a nurse while you continue school.  This can effectively allow you to complete your mandatory 2000 hours work experience while obtaining your bachelors. 

The other method for obtaining a bachelors in nursing is to go directly into a four-year BSN program. The benefits of a nursing program like this is that you will most likely graduate sooner. However, you will not be able to work as a registered nurse until you have completed your bachelors and your NCLEX exam.

If you choose to obtain your Masters of Science in nursing (MSN), you will have the option of obtaining your PA (physicians assistants). As a physician’s assistant, there is a great deal of autonomy within your career. Much of the work facilitated by a PA is like unto a physician.  You can hold your own practice and treat patients like a doctor would.  In a Masters nursing program, you also have the option to specialize in pain management or work toward your Nurse Practitioner (NP). 

Pain Management Nursing Schools

The ANCC offers a certification for pain management nursing entitled RN – BC. In order to obtain this nursing certification, you will need to hold an active RN license, practice two years as a registered nurse, have 200 hours practice in a pain management nursing within 3 years of applying, and complete at least 30 hours of continued education within 3 years of taking the test.  15 hours of this study must be related to pain management. 

According to U.S. News and World Report, some of the best nursing schools in the country include,  University of Pittsbursg, Yale University, University of Iowa, University of Maryland- Baltimore, University of California-San Francisco, University of Washington, Indiana University – Purdue University-Indiannapolis, Arizona State University, and Boston College, just to name a few. 

Check your perspective school for nursing classes in pain management. 

Online nursing school is widely available through even the top nursing schools in the country.  This is a great option or busy, working individuals that don’t have time to go back to school full time.  Online Pain Management nursing programs can be found at state or private nursing schools.  Also check online nursing programs through schools like Kaplan University.  This is a private school that specialized in online/distance learning.  Your study schedule is flexible, allowing you continue working or caring for a family while you complete your degree. 

Pain Management Nursing Salary

Registered nurse salary will vary greatly depending on your level of experience and education. While a physicians assistant or nurse practitioner can make over $200,000 per year, a bachelors level nurse will make between $45,000 and  $75,000 per year.