Nurse Types / Urology Nurse
Urology nurses focus on the care and treatment of patients with bladder, kidney, and urethra conditions.
A common misconception is that urology nurses only handle urological conditions in men. As a urology nurse, you’ll perform urinary health exams on both male and female patients. You will also educate them and their caregivers about urinary health.
Urology is a highly skilled nursing specialty. You must be well-versed in talking to patients about risks and complications of urologic treatments and surgeries.
In this article you’ll discover:
- What is a urology nurse?
- What do urology nurses do?
- Where do urology nurses work?
- What are closely related fields?
- How do you become a urology nurse in 3 steps?
- What are additional requirements of urology nurses?
- What are the salary and career outlooks for urology nurses?
What is a urology nurse?
A urology nurse is a registered nurse (RN) who treats patients with diseases that affect the urinary system. Bladder infections and kidney stones are just two of the most common urology conditions. If hands-on patient care is your goal, then a career in urology nursing might be a good fit.
As a urology nurse, you’ll follow a routine that allows you to adequately prepare for every patient situation. A large part of your job involves educating patients about their conditions and guiding them on preventative care measures they can take to prevent future incidents.
Qualities of a successful urology nurse
Urology nurses must have a good bedside manner and be able and willing to empathize with their patients. You may see your patients at their worst moments and when they are in incredible pain (think passing kidney stones). Being reassuring and comforting is a must if you want to help your patients get through it.
What do urology nurses do?
Urology nurses have many responsibilities. Bedside patient care is only one of your daily tasks. Other job duties may include:
- Administering medication as prescribed
- Assisting urologists with biopsies, cystoscopies, and other minor urologic procedures
- Checking patient vitals before treatments and during recovery
- Educating patients and their caregivers on
- Giving catheter care and bladder irrigation
- Measuring patient vital signs
- Overseeing the cleaning, maintenance, replacement, and sterilization of all urology equipment
- Performing catheterization using sterile techniques
- Running flow studies and bladder scans for residual urine testing
Depending on where you work, you may have additional responsibilities in your role as a urology nurse.
A day in the life of a urology nurse
If you work for a urology specialist, you typically have daytime shifts. Working in a hospital or rehabilitation facility can mean rotating shifts. Depending on where you work, you may perform some of these typical tasks:
- Administering prescribed medications
- Assisting with catheterization to evaluate urologic problems like bladder incontinence
- Conducting physical exams and ordering diagnostic tests
- Educating patients about medication or medical procedures and how to maintain urinary health
- Performing routine tests on urine samples
- Preparing patients for surgery and assisting urologists during surgical procedures
- Providing post-operative care
Common conditions treated by urology nurses
Urology nurses can treat any condition that affects the urological system in both men and women. Your patients can suffer with any number of urological diseases and disorders. Some of the most common include:
- Bladder infections
- Bladder cancer
- Erectile dysfunction
- Kidney stones
- Overactive bladder
- Prostate cancer
- Vaginal fistula
- Wilms’ tumor
Where do urology nurses work?
Urology nurses can bring their expertise to a variety of healthcare settings, including:
- Fertility clinics
- Outpatient treatment centers
- Private physicians’ practices
You also can assist urology surgeons with a variety of procedures, including biopsies, catheter inserters, and scans.
If you further specialize in pediatric urology, you could work in a children’s hospital in their urology department.
What are closely related fields?
If you decide to advance your career in urology, you have plenty of options. Some urology nurses opt to become Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) so they can operate independently. Urology APRNs can diagnose patients and, in some states, prescribe medication or treatment for urological conditions.
Nephrology nursing is another closely related field. If you opt for nephrology, you’ll focus strictly on the kidneys instead of the entire urinary tract.
How do you become a urology nurse in 3 steps?
Becoming a urology nurse requires a high level of commitment to your studies and gaining the right kind of professional experience. There are three steps you must take before you can start working in this nursing specialty.
Step 1 – Become a registered nurse
The first step in your journey to becoming a urology nurse is to earn your registered nurse (RN) licensure. Because urology nursing requires an advanced level of knowledge, most healthcare employers look for candidates with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
Earn a BSN degree
You can earn a BSN in one of three ways. If you are new to nursing, you can attend a four-year BSN program at an accredited nursing school. Another option for RNs already working in the field is to participate in an RN to BSN program. This way you can work and go to school at the same time.
If you have a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field, you can earn your BSN degree by attending an Accelerated Bachelor of Science of Nursing (ABSN) program. You can typically complete this degree in 1-2 years.
Pass the NCLEX
After you’ve completed your BSN program, you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to earn your licensure. Before you take the exam, you can brush up on your skills with the NCLEX-RN exam study guides and other test preparation materials provided by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).
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Step 2 – Accumulate experience
After you have your RN licensure, you’ll want to spend at least two years gaining valuable on-the-job experience relating to your urology specialty. Ideally, you’ll want to seek out opportunities that give you at least 800 clinical practice hours providing direct care to urological patients.
Helpful skills and experience
Compassion and patience are two of the most helpful skills you can have as a urology nurse. Patients with scary diseases like bladder cancer, or embarrassing health conditions like incontinence, depend on you to help them through treatment.
You must be a good communicator, as you’ll be sharing complicated information with your patients and their caregivers. Keeping a positive attitude also can help your patients with life-altering urological conditions cope better.
Changing specialty to a urology nurse
If you’re already working as an RN and interested in switching your specialty to urology nursing, it’s not difficult to accomplish.
Let’s say you want to go from being a pediatric RN to a pediatric urology nurse. You already have the RN licensure and pediatric experience, so that places you ahead of the game. You’ll want to take some continuing education courses that focus on pediatric urology to round out your skills.
Incredible Health offers plenty of free CEUs for nurses looking to expand their knowledge and change their nursing specialties.
Step 3 – Obtain certifications
Obtaining certifications is the final step in your journey to becoming a urology nurse. While not necessary to work as a urology nurse in the U.S., you may want to consider applying for urology-centered credentials from the Certification Board for Urologic Nurses and Associates (CBUNA).
CBUNA’s certification requirements for RNs include two years working in a relevant nursing field, with a minimum of 800 clinical hours of direct patient care.
What are additional requirements of urology nurses?
You can keep updated on nursing best practices for your specialty by exploring continuing education courses for free on the Incredible Health website. You can even use the free CEUs to advance your career and explore other nursing specialties.
What are the salary and career outlooks for urology nurses?
The national average annual salary for urology nurses was $96,848 as of the writing of this article. One of the highest-paying cities for urology nurses is San Mateo, CA, with average salaries hovering around $114,281 per year.
Factoring in cost of living can help you decide on a location when seeking urology nursing positions.
As with other RN positions, demand for urology nurses is expected to grow by 9% between 2020 and 2030. As U.S. residents age, they face the possibility of developing more urologic conditions and diseases. Your expertise as a urology nurse is needed.
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Urology nursing is a challenging specialty. Your satisfaction level with your job can depend greatly on factors like workplace culture and staffing levels.
The urology nursing specialty can be rewarding, providing you with new learning experiences with every patient you treat. You can always talk with other nursing professionals currently working in urology to ask their opinion about their working conditions.
Interested in going further than a BSN to explore a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree? We’ve got you covered. Earning your MSN degree opens up new opportunities, including becoming a Nurse Practitioner (NP). In some states, NPs can treat patients without direct supervision. You also can use an MSN degree to work in education and research.
If you’re ready to launch a career as a urology nurse, you can find all the resources you need on our website. From licensing resources for nurses to the latest jobs in your field, we have it all on Incredible Health.
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