A health institution’s neurosurgical ward presents a challenging yet rewarding place for nurses who choose this specialty, which is a sub-specialty within the field of medical-surgical nursing. Patients in this ward have a wide range of conditions and needs and many complex medical and social problems. Those patients have been in accidents, in emergency admissions due to a range of conditions such as brain hemorrhages, and elective surgical patients.

Complications that neurosurgical patients may develop include a high risk for infection due to the level of invasive monitoring required. Finally, the neurosurgical nurse faces political and government issues involve working out how to best decrease the waiting list and receive maximum funding for each patient are present daily; therefore, these nurses face unique ethical challenges as they assess patients with neurological illnesses or impairments.

Duties of a Neurosurgical Nurse

Neurosurgery helps patients with dysfunctions of the nervous system, which include problems with consciousness, communication, cognition, mobility, and sensation. While many nuerosurgical procedures are successful, patients often take some time to recover. Therefore, the neurosurgical, or neuroscience, nurse can develop a long-term relationship with a patient as that nurse develops a pain management plan, educates the patient and family, and becomes a patient advocate. Other roles that the neurosurgical nurse can take on include assessment, diagnosis, and administration of care for the patient. Post-operative care for the recovering patient is where this nurse will spend a majority of time and energy in research and communication with the patient and the patient’s family and other health care professionals.

While neurosurgical wards present the most common area for treatment, the neurosurgical nurse also can find employment in multispecialty and neuroscience intensive care units, general neuroscience units, combination units (neuro/ortho, neuromuscular/rehabilitation, neuropsychiatry, neurogerontology), rehabilitation units, medical-surgical units, pediatric units, emergency and trauma departments, and surgery. Neuroscience nurses work in clinical, research, administrative, and educational settings. No matter the setting, the neurosurgical nurse constantly stays in touch with ever-evolving news and practices within this field, including political and governmental issues that may affect the patient.

Neuroscience nurses may go on to become neuroscience nursing consultants. This job entails patient consulting, case management, life care planning, legal nurse consulting, hospital consultation and teaching. The consultant may be available for patients and families, health care institutions, other nurses and the legal profession.

Related Types of Nurses

With the legal and policy ramifications involved withing the neuroscientific nursing profession, nurses in this field can look to forensic nursing as a similar profession. Both specialties involve working with a case on a long-term basis, becoming a patient advocate and eventual career evolution to consultation.

Neurosurgical Nursing Degrees

The CNRN examination and certification is necessary for neurosurgical nurses, and the prerequisites include RN licensure. Applicants also must be engaged in neuroscience nursing clinical practice or employed as an administrator, consultant, educator or researcher. This means that at the time of application, a candidate will have completed the equivalent of at least two years within the last five years of full-time direct or indirect neuroscience nursing practice as an RN. Also, those roles usually expect applicants to hold at least an associate’s degree, if not a BSN or MSN.

Online Undergraduate Programs in Neurosurgical Nursing

  • Chamberlain College of Nursing: RN to BSN
  • Colorado Technical University: RN to BSN
  • Drexel University: RN to BSN
  • Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences: RN to BSN
  • Indiana State University: LPN to BSN
  • Kaplan University: RN to BSN
  • Liberty University: RN to BSN
  • South University: RN to BSN
  • University of Phoenix: RN to BSN
  • Walden University: BSN

Online Graduate Programs in Neurosurgical Nursing

  • American Sentinel University: RN to MSN
  • Benedictine University : MSN
  • Chamberlain College of Nursing: MSN
  • Grantham University: RN to MSN
  • Kaplan University: MSN
  • Keiser University: MSN
  • Ohio University: MSN
  • Spring Arbor University: MSN
  • South University: MSN
  • University of Phoenix: MSN
  • University of San Francisco: BSN to MSN
  • Walden University: BSN to MSN
  • Walden University: RN to MSN

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Top 10 Online Nursing Schools

University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix — BSN, MSN, and Certificate. The University of Phoenix is the nation's largest online university and currently offers several nursing programs at three different degree levels, based on previous nursing education and experience.

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Kaplan University
Kaplan University — Bachelor's, and Master's Nursing Degrees. Kaplan's School of Nursing offers specializations for nurse administrators and nurse educators.

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Grand Canyon University — BS in Nursing (BSN) and MBA/MS in Nursing. Grand Canyon University offers a unique MBA/MS in nursing degree program that teaches students about the business aspect of healthcare, specifically nursing healthcare. Current nurses who want more business experience will find this may be an ideal fit.

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Liberty University — RN to BSN Degree and MSN Degree. The Department of Nursing at Liberty prepares students for baccalaureate level nursing, putting strong emphasis on Christian ethical standards and viewing nursing as a ministry of caring.

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Walden University
Walden University — M.S. in Nursing (RN Track), M.S in Nursing (BSN Track). Walden offers a wide variety of nursing degrees and certificates that are all accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

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