Burn unit nurses are specialists who treat patients that have experienced various degrees of burn trauma. Working with a team of practitioners, they help individuals who have suffered burn injuries due to contact with fire, chemicals, oil or electricity. Their work is considered a type of critical care.
Considered advanced practice professionals, burn unit nurses use special clinical skills to effectively provide comprehensive patient care. Because the range of burn types they may encounter varies, they need to be knowledgeable in a large array of treatments. Technical responsibilities include triage, stabilization, pain management and fluid balance. They may also help with rehabilitation, and provide consistent emotional support. Additionally, burn unit nurses must understand how to manage a patient’s coinciding injuries. To do this, burn unit nurses often work alongside teams of healthcare professionals, including other nurses, physicians, psychologists, pain management experts and physical therapists. Those in this profession are often employed in burn care units, intensive care, trauma centers and emergency rooms.
Critical care nurses earn a median annual salary of $70,000. For those in the top 10 percent of earners, salary may top $104,100. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurses are in particularly high demand. Projections estimate a 15 percent increase in jobs by 2026.
Like all nurses, those who specialize in burn unit care must possess an RN license. However, since this area of care is specialized, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree provides advanced education and increases marketability in an applicant pool. Burn unit nurses generally require experience in the field, particularly within the ICU or critical care. Although not required, additional training may be helpful such as Advanced Burn Life Support certification.
The Next Step Towards a Critical Career
Those who work as burn unit nurses make a difference at one of the most challenging moments in their patients’ lives. At the University of West Florida, our online RN–BSN provides working nurses with the opportunity to boost their skills so they do even more to help their patients. A fully asynchronous program, the online RN–BSN offers the flexibility working nurses need to balance their education with their schedules. The program can be completed in 12 months.