Certified Plastic Surgery Nurse Education Requirements

Aspiring plastic surgery nurses must earn their registered nurse (RN) licensure and gain at least two years of experience in the field before seeking voluntary national certification. They also might choose to pursue specialty training in plastic surgery nursing through a postgraduate program.

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Plastic Surgery Nurse Certification Requirements

Voluntary certification for plastic surgery nurses is offered by the Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board, part of the American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses. To be eligible to test for national recognition as a Certified Plastic Surgical Nurse (CPSN), applicants must meet three criteria. First, they must have current licensure as an RN in either the United States or Canada. Also, during two of the past five years, applicants must have gained experience in plastic surgical nursing as an RN, either in general staff, administration, research or teaching, and they must have spent at least half of their practice hours specifically in plastic surgical nursing.

Education Requirements

Becoming an RN

To become an RN, students must complete either a 2-year associate's degree or 4-year bachelor's degree in nursing. These programs often include studies in anatomy and physiology, biology, health assessment and basic pharmacology, as well as numerous supervised clinical experiences.

Every state requires prospective nurses to undergo licensing before they are allowed to practice in a hospital or other health care facility. In addition to meeting education requirements, RN applicants must pass the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). Other requirements vary by state.

Plastic Surgery Nursing Courses

Full programs in reconstructive or plastic surgery nursing aren't available; however, courses in this specialty are often included in postgraduate RN First Assistant and nurse practitioner programs.

Students in these classes learn to conduct pre- and post-operative assessments, observe plastic surgery patients' recovery and provide them with pre- and post-operative instructions. Specific topics covered in plastic surgery nurse training might include the following:

  • Burns and plastic surgery nursing
  • Liposuction nursing procedures
  • Aftercare for reconstructive surgery to the head and neck
  • Recovery and care for breast augmentation
  • Nursing techniques for abdomen patients
  • Medical terminology in plastic surgery nursing
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