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Urology nurses work with renal (i.e., kidney disorder) patients and those with other conditions, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), cancer of the urinary tract, and kidney stones.
Becoming a urology nurse takes two to four years and may involve pursuing a certification, such as a Certified Urology Registered Nurse (CURN).
According to May 2022 Payscale data, the average salary (based on 42 profiles) for a registered nurse (RN) with urology skills is $29.94 per hour. The job outlook for urology nursing is solid, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting growth of 9% from 2020 to 2030.
Discover more about what a urology nurse does, the steps to becoming a urology nurse, and more.
What Is a Urology Nurse?
Urology nurses practice more independently than many other RN specialties; they help healthcare providers treat, diagnose, and educate patients with mild to severe urinary and male reproductive system conditions. These conditions include infections, kidney stones, and cancer.
Urology nurses work autonomously under minimal supervision, and must be comfortable following standard orders to administer tests, diagnose, and treat common conditions. They must also use technical skills, assisting with biopsies, performing routine examinations and medical procedures (e.g., catheter insertion).
Because of the expertise level becoming a urology nurse requires, urology nursing is not an entry-level position. RNs need a license and a minimum oftwo years' experience working in urology or a related field to qualify for CURN credentials.
Steps to Becoming a Urology Nurse
The initial steps to becoming a urology nurse include completing an accredited nursing program, taking and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), getting experience as a licenced RN, and perhaps pursuing a CURN credential.
Research licensure requirements in your state of residence before enrolling in a distance learning course, as requirements may differ from state to state.
Nurses with either a two-year associate degree in nursing (ADN), or a four-year bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN) qualify to become a urology nurse. Although some employers hire ADNs, many require a BSN.
When considering which program is best for becoming a urology nurse, keep in mind that a BSN will give you an edge in the job market and may bring a higher salary. Nurses with an ADN can save time becoming a urology nurse by enrolling in an RN-to-BSN program.
The second step to becoming a urology nurse is to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. This exam evaluates a student's understanding and knowledge of safe, effective nursing practice.
The NCLEX-RN exam is a multiple-choice test covering a students knowledge of nursing skills, such as safe medication administration, fundamentals of nursing (e.g., proper patient positioning), legal and ethical considerations, and more.
After obtaining an active RN license, the next step in becoming a urology nurse is to get clinical experience as a licensed RN. Demand is high for entry-level nurses in jobs such as medical/surgical hospital units.
Landing a job in a clinic alongside a urologic surgeon or urologist also provides experience. Volunteering and internships can teach skills if aspiring urology nurses have difficulty landing entry-level nursing jobs.
A specialty board-certified urology nurse credential (CURN) validates a nurses experience and knowledge in urology. Employers do not always require certification, but some may only hire CURNs.
In the U.S. nurses must meet the specific criteria (i.e. RN licensure and clinical practice experience) to be eligible for CURN examination. Nurses can obtain their certification online at Certification Board for Urologic Nurses and Associates (CBUNA).
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Urology Nurse Education
The quickest path to becoming a urology nurse is to pursue a two-year ADN from an accredited nursing school. But students may consider a four-year BSN degree to increase their competitiveness in the job market.
A two-year associate degree in nursing requires 60-75 credits to complete. It takes as little as two years to earn an ADN and become a registered nurse. RN licensure requires a passing score on the NCLEX-RN. An ADN prepares nurses for the exam.
A high school diploma or GED certificate with at least a 2.0 GPA, coursework in math and science, and relevant work experience (e.g. CPR, first aid, volunteer work or work as a nursing assistant (CNA).
The curriculum includes coursework in fundamentals of nursing, OB/GYN/maternal health nursing, pediatrics, sciences (e.g., anatomy and physiology) and hands-on experience in clinical practicums.
Planning and performing safe nursing practice, implementing legal/ ethical nursing practice, clinical nursing skills, and more.
A bachelor of science in nursing requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. A BSN allows nurses to perform all the same clinical duties as an ASN, but opens up more career opportunities, such as nursing administration jobs.
BSN programs include traditional four-year degrees, licensed practical nurses to BSN (LPN-to-BSN), ADN-to-BSN and Second Degree BSN programs. Like an ADN program, the BSN degree program prepares students for RN licensure, which requires a passing score on the NCLEX-RN.
A GPA of 3.0 or higher for college transfer credits and 2.5 or higher GPA on high school classes, a qualifying ACT or SAT score, and letters of recommendation. Some institutions require high school math and science courses. An RN-to-BSN program often requires an active, unencumbered RN license and RN experience.
Coursework includes science courses (e.g., microbiology and anatomy and physiology), mental health nursing, community health nursing, research and statistics, and nursing leadership and ethics courses. Hands-on practicums in clinical settings or in a simulation lab are also required.
Evidence-based practice, nursing leadership, community health nursing/teaching, and specialty care nursing skills such as in maternal health, geriatrics, and pediatrics.
Urology Nurse Licensure and Certification
RN licensure is required to become a urology nurse; to obtain an RN license, you must complete an accredited ADN or BSN program, pass the NCLEX-RN test, and follow your states requirement for annual license renewal. Note that each state may differ in its requirements, but all nurses must take a specific number of continuing education hours (CEs) to maintain an active license.
While certification is not required to become a urology nurse, it is recommended. Urology certification enables nurses to demonstrate their knowledge and experience level. Some employers may require certification as a prerequisite to getting hired as a urology nurse. The prerequisites for qualifying to take the urology certification exam include:
- Completion of a nationally accredited nursing program
- A current, unencumbered RN license issued in the U.S. or U.S. territories
- Two years experience working as a licensed RN
- A minimum of 800 clinical practice hours providing urology care within the last 3 years.
Working as a Urology Nurse
A urology nurses salary is around $74,240 per year as of May 2022 Payscale data. Urology nurses commonly work in private practices and ambulatory urology clinics.
Recent graduates can gain experience working in a hospital medical/surgical unit or in an ambulatory care clinic that admits urology patients.
In private practice settings or in outpatient clinics, urology nurses help with routine check-ups, and administer diagnostic tests. They also administer treatments for urinary infections or kidney stones, according to the healthcare provider's standing orders.
In a hospital setting, urology nurses perform preoperative teaching, assist urologists during surgery, and care for patients after surgery. Urology nurses also perform discharge instruction.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Urology Nurse
How long does it take to become a urology nurse?
It takes two to four years to get a nursing license and an additional two years’ specific urology nursing care experience to become a Certified Urology Registered Nurse (CURN).
What do urology nurses do?
Urology nurses provide a wide range of care, depending on the clinical setting. Nurses working in ambulatory care settings conduct specific types of tests and diagnose and treat basic conditions of the urinary and male reproductive system (e.g., urinary tract infections). In a hospital setting, urology nurses care for patients before and after surgery, assisting with procedures (i.e., catheterization), and providing patient and family education. Teaching is an integral part of working in a urology clinic or other outpatient setting.
What is the difference between urology and nephrology?
Nephrology involves conditions of the kidneys; urology is the practice of caring for patients with disorders of the kidneys, male reproductive, and urinary tract organs (e.g., the bladder, urethra, penis, and other structures).
Do urology nurses get paid well?
Urology nurses are compensated well; according to Payscale, RNs with urology skills can earn between $52,000 - $80,000 per year. Factors that affect the salary rate include experience level, certification, and geographic location.
Page Last Reviewed: July 14, 2022
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