What is a Dermatology Nurse?

A dermatology nurse specializes in skin care health and skincare-related medical problems.

These specialists deal with diverse skin conditions resulting from injuries, diseases, and complications at the skin level.

They help patients with wounds or scars and treat skin diseases like cancer via chemical and technological treatments.

Dermatology nurses also treat acne, burns, poison ivy, moles, warts, psoriasis, sun poisoning, and other skin conditions.

What Do Dermatology Nurses Do?

There are numerous responsibilities dermatology must manage daily to assist staff and ensure adequate patient care.

For instance, they maintain cosmetic equipment, schedule appointments, and update medical records.

From a patient-facing standpoint, dermatology nurses conduct interviews and act as liaisons between the patient, staff, and physician.

They also prepare patients for procedures, administer injections and medications, interpret and implement treatment plans, remove sutures and collect lab specimens.

Dermatology Nurse Responsibilities:

  • Maintain cosmetic equipment
  • Assist physician/staff with daily patient care needs
  • Act as a liaison between the patient, staff, and physician
  • Educate patients on skin treatment and procedures
  • Conduct patient interviews
  • Update and manage patient medical histories
  • Collect lab specimines
  • Prepare patients for procedures
  • Remove sutures
  • Administer injections and medications
  • Interpret and implement treatment plans

Cosmetic/Aesthetics Dermatology Procedures

Some dermatology nurses and practitioners work directly in the cosmetics/aesthetics domain.

In these settings, they provide various minimally invasive procedures and assist surgeons with cosmetic procedures.

Dermatology nurses administer botox, chemical peels, soft tissue filler, intense pulsed light, and laser skin resurfacing. 

They also assist with more advanced cosmetic procedures (within their scope of practice) with the surgeon’s approval.

Common Cosmetic/Aesthetic Procedures:

  • Allergy tests
  • Botox
  • Chemical peels
  • Cyst removal
  • Dermabrasion
  • Earlobe repair
  • Laser hair removal
  • Laser skin resurfacing
  • Light therapy
  • Scar removal

The cosmetic/aesthetic procedures dermatology nurses can perform vary depending on their education, title, and training.

For instance, skilled dermatology nurses with a BSN may perform many of the abovementioned duties.

However, they cannot diagnose conditions or prescribe medications or treatments like dermatology nurse practitioners.

A dermatology nurse’s state of employment also dramatically impacts their scope of practice.

Dermatology nurses and practitioners in full-practice states can provide more services without a physician’s oversight.

Comparatively, those in restricted practice states have less freedom to provide independent care and must maintain continual supervision from a physician.

Career Advancement Oppournties

Registered nurses pursuing advanced careers may return to school to become dermatology nurse practitioners.

Those who become dermatology nurse practitioners have the broadest scope of practice in their domain.

These healthcare specialists prescribe medications, diagnose conditions, design treatment plans, and run independent clinics.

It enables them to obtain exceptional salaries, pursue entrepreneurial ventures, and have more career autonomy.

Where Do Dermatology Nurses Work?

Dermatology nurses work in various healthcare facilities that manage and treat skin injuries, illnesses, or scarring.

It includes hospitals, healthcare centers, acne treatment facilities, cancer treatment centers, burn units, and other skin-related domains.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common places these specialists work to give you an idea of their career diversity.

Work Environments:

  • Skin cancer treatment centers
  • Acne treatment facilities
  • Hospitals and healthcare centers
  • Wound treatment facilities
  • Burn treatment facilities
  • Cellulite treatment facilities
  • Poison ivy treatment centers
  • Sunburn/Sun poisoning treatment centers
  • Wrinkle/Age treatment centers
  • Plastic surgery facilities
  • Pregnancy and neonatal care units
  • MedSpas

and a host of other areas that are related to skincare.

Dermatology nurses work with other healthcare specialists to provide patients with the best medical care.

It includes specialized dermatologists, physicians, surgeons, nurse practitioners, and other specialists.

Dermatologists receive advanced training in dermatology and have spent many years managing skincare problems.

As a result, they may oversee dermatology nurses and utilize their support to provide effective and efficient patine care.

Surgeons, nurse practitioners, and physicians also utilize dermatology nurses to manage less complex, time-consuming tasks.

It enables them to focus on high-level procedures necessary to treat their patient’s skincare conditions. 

Work Schedule

A dermatology nurse’s schedule varies depending on their employer.

For instance, dermatology nurses in medical-surgical and surgical departments may work weekend shifts to accommodate the facility’s needs.

Other dermatology nurses work in independent practices that offer a more traditional Monday through Friday work schedule.

These practices may also operate during the day from 8 am to 5 pm.

As a result, hematology nurses receive nights and weekends off in these settings.

How To Become A Dermatology Nurse

There are numerous steps aspiring dermatology nurses must complete before entering this specialization.

It includes joining a nursing school, acquiring an ADN/BSN degree, passing the NCLEX-RN, and gaining work experience.

In addition, dermatology nurses may want to obtain certification and pursue postgraduate education to acquire their MSN.

Certification and an MSN allow nurses to make more money, pursue other domains and have a broader scope of practice.

The following section provides a detailed overview of the steps individuals must complete to work in dermatology.

1. Enter Nursing School

The first step to becoming a dermatology nurse is to join a nursing school program and obtain a degree.

Nevertheless, there are several requirements students must satisfy to enter the nursing program.

Firstly, aspiring nursing students must have a GED, diploma, or equivalent to enter college.

Most colleges require applicants to have a solid academic foundation and won’t accept students without it.

Next, college students must complete multiple prerequisites and retain a good GPA in college to enter nursing school.

The nursing school prerequisites typically take 6 – 24 months to complete, depending on the student’s prior education.

After completing the college/nursing school prerequisites with an acceptable GPA, students may apply to nurse school.

2. Obtain an ADN or BSN Degree

Individuals who want to become dermatology nurses must obtain an ADN or BSN from an accredited nursing program.

Once accepted into the nursing program, acquiring an ADN or BSN degree takes approximately two to four years.

The ADN nursing degree is a two-year program that educates students on the basics of nursing.

It enables nursing students to enter the field, gain experience and earn money quickly.

The BSN nursing degree is a four-year program that provides a more comprehensive nursing education.

This degree is ideal for nursing students seeking more specialized roles and advanced careers.

Some dermatology nursing jobs may hire nurses who possess an ADN degree.

However, most advanced nursing careers prefer nurses with a BSN due to the additional training and expertise.

Acquiring a BSN will make it easier to become a dermatology nurse or specialize in other fields.

3. Pass the NCLEX-RN exam

At the end of the nursing program, graduates must pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

Passing the NCLEX is necessary to obtain licensure and practice as a registered nurse.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) administers the exam.

It tests the competencies of graduates to determine if they have sufficient education to succeed in entry-level nursing jobs.

4. Gain Work Experience

Upon completing the nursing program and obtaining licensure, you’ll need to spend several years gaining work experience.

You may want to look for positions in dermatology-related settings at a hospital or healthcare clinic.

For instance, you can pursue employment in a medical-surgical unit, the operating room, or wound care.

These departments enable you to learn about procedures to assess, treat and manage patients with diverse skin problems.

You’ll also want to take continuing education related to dermatology and skincare.

These courses enable you to hone your clinical skills and establish a background for your resume.

After acquiring sufficient experience, you may apply for dermatology jobs.

You can also pursue the dermatology nurse certification to improve your career options.

5. Obtain Certification

Registered nurses with sufficient experience may take the dermatology nurse certification exam (DNC).

Acquiring certification demonstrates to employees that the registered nurse thoroughly understands the dermatology field.

As a result, these specialists can pursue better career advancement opportunities in dermatology and earn higher salaries.

With that said, the Dermatology Nurses Association recommends two years of nursing experience before taking the exam.

Registered nurses may also need 2,000 hours of clinical experience in dermatology.

Consider an Advanced Degree

Nurses interested in becoming dermatology nurse practitioners must return to school to obtain an MSN or DNP.

Acquiring an MSN or DNP enables nurses to operate at the highest level of practice within their specialization.

Dermatology nurse practitioners can diagnose conditions, open clinics, prescribe medications, and act as primary care providers.

The MSN degree requires two to three years of education for registered nurses with an existing BSN degree.

Comparatively, it takes roughly 6 – 8 years for aspiring dermatology nurses with no prior education to obtain their MSN.

Dermatology nurses may also want to complete a certification exam to demonstrate their expertise and knowledge.

Career Outlook

The career outlook for registered nurses is relatively strong.

According to BLS.gov, the registered nursing profession will see 6% job growth over the next decade.

That said, a continual nursing shortage leaves many jobs unfilled.

Many registered nurses are also nearing retirement, furthering the current shortage.

As a result, registered nurses have numerous opportunities to obtain jobs with great pay, stability, and benefits.

The growth of the healthcare industry, cosmetics, and skincare also positively impact the outlook for dermatology nurses.