What is a Plastic Surgery Nurse?

A plastic surgery nurse specializes in treating patients receiving reconstructive surgery or other surgical procedures.

Plastic surgery nurses may treat patients who received cosmetic, plastic, or laser surgery.

Surgical procedures may consist of facial surgery or surgery performed on the body.

A plastic surgery nurse may also assist patients with microsurgical operations.

Microsurgical operations are often more intensive surgery beyond cosmetic or skin-level surgical operations.

Microsurgical operations include tissue transfer and transplantation.

It also includes replantation (the process of reconnecting detached body parts such as a finger, arm, or nose).

Plastic surgery nurses use their training to identify the type of reconstructive care a patient requires.

After that, they develop a recovery plan to help them throughout their reconstructive and recovery process.

What Do Plastic Surgery Nurses Do?

Plastic surgery nurses perform numerous tasks to ensure patients receive adequate treatment.

It includes screening patients before surgery, maintaining medical records, developing care plans, and conducting skin assessments.

Plastic surgery nurses also educate patients about their procedures and advise them on how to recover after the operation.

During procedures, they will assist the surgeon with necessary medical tasks and help other medical staff.

Finally, plastic surgery nurses provide wound management, monitor the patient’s recovery, and administer medications.

They also manage other medical tasks related to reconstructive surgery that the surgeon prescribes.

Outside of direct care, plastic surgery nurses may function as part of an administrative team.

As a result, they’ll perform various administrative tasks.

It includes scheduling appointments, overseeing and managing other nurses, and monitoring the surgical/clinical department.

They’ll also maintain medical records and order diagnostic treatment and test results.

As a result, Not all plastic surgical nurses provide direct patient care.

Some patients may need medical assistance and advice on recovering from skin lesions or severe physical rashes.

In these cases, plastic surgery nurses advise on ways to minimize skin problems that don’t require surgery.

Plastic Surgery Nurse Responsibilities:

  • Screen/examine patients for surgery
  • Educate patients on procedures
  • Prep patients for surgery
  • Monitor patient recovery process
  • Develop nursing care plans
  • Administer medications
  • Provide wound care
  • Update and maintain medical records
  • Assist the surgeon with procedures
  • Support other medical staff
  • Schedule appointments
  • Order diagnostic test results

What Types of Patients do Plastic Surgery Nurses Treat?

Plastic surgery nurses provide medical care to various types of patients.

It includes patients who’ve received cosmetic surgery, burn victims and skin cancer/tumor patients.

They also help those with deformities/physical abnormalities, severe skin conditions, and those who require replantation.

Patients Plastic Surgery Nurses Treat:

  • Patients who have undergone cosmetic surgery such as facelifts, implants, and augmentations
  • Patients who have been affected by deformities or physical abnormalities
  • Patients dealing with skin cancer or tumors
  • Patients who have been affected by severe rashes, poisonous chemicals, or lesions
  • Burn victims
  • Individuals who have had a limb or body part disconnected
  • Patients recovering from a severe illness or disease

The types of patients plastic surgery nurses treat vary depending on their specialization and department.

For instance, some plastic surgery nurses work directly with patients who receive cosmetic surgery.

Others operate in settings that focus on burn victims or replantation.

Where do Plastic Surgery Nurses Work?

Plastic surgery nurses work in various healthcare settings that provide surgical procedures.

It includes hospitals, operating rooms, independent surgeon practices, and outpatient surgery clinics.

They also operate in private medical offices and dermatology offices.

Occupational Settings:

  • Hospitals
  • Private medical offices
  • Operating rooms
  • Independent surgeon practices
  • Outpatient surgery clinics
  • Dermatology offices

Regardless of their career, most plastic surgery nurses work alongside a surgeon to assist with various medical procedures.

How to Become a Plastic Surgery Nurse

There are numerous steps involved in becoming a plastic surgery nurse.

It includes joining a nursing program, obtaining a degree, passing the NCLEX, gaining experience, and getting certified.

This section discussed the phases aspiring plastic surgery nurses must complete to obtain a job in this profession.

1. Join a Nursing Program

The first step to becoming a plastic surgery nurse is to join a nursing program.

However, students must complete numerous prerequisite courses before qualifying for nursing school.

The prerequisite courses provide an educational foundation necessary to understand the topics in the nursing program.

Students must also maintain an acceptable GPA due to nursing school requirements and competition.

The exact GPA requirements and competitiveness of gaining entry into the program vary depending on the nursing school.

As a result, many aspiring nursing students apply to multiple programs to maximize their acceptance odds.

After completing the necessary prerequisites, students may apply for and join a nursing program.

2. Acquire an ADN or BSN Degree

Once students gain acceptance into nursing school they can pursue one of two academic pathways.

It includes earning an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

The ADN enables students to obtain their associate’s degree and quickly enter the healthcare field.

As a result, it’s excellent for those who want to start working immediately and earn an income.

The BSN degree offers more comprehensive education and prepares nursing students for advanced roles in healthcare.

Many healthcare institutions also prefer or require registered nurses to possess a BSN for specific specializations.

Therefore, it’s beneficial for nursing students to obtain a BSN if they want to become plastic surgery nurses.

3. Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam

Successful nursing school graduates must complete the state-required NCLEX-RN exam to obtain licensure.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing produces the exam.

This test ensures graduates have adequate knowledge and competency in their field before receiving their licenses.

As a result, taking the NCLEX-RN exam is necessary to become a licensed registered nurse.

4. Gain Work Experience

After receiving licensure, registered nurses will want to obtain several years of work experience.

It’s highly beneficial to develop experience in an adult medical-surgical specialization or related field.

It enables registered nurses to prepare for careers as plastic surgery nurses.

In addition, registered nurses should take continuing education courses related to surgical nursing.

5. Get Certified

After obtaining adequate experience, registered nurses may take a certification exam.

Completing the exam enables nurses to become certified plastic surgical nurses (CPSN).

Registered nurses may also take the Certified Aesthetics Nurse Specialist (CANS) exam.

The Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board (PSNCB) offers the CPSN and CANS certification examinations.

This certification tests a nurse’s competencies in the plastic surgery field to ensure they have adequate training.

As a result, it’s highly beneficial for those who want to demonstrate their skills, expertise, and dedication to the field.

Many surgical departments and independent practices also prefer registered nurses with CPSN or CANS certification.

It ensures they can provide patients with adequate medical care and support.


Plastic surgery nurses improve their patient’s physical appearance, self-esteem, and physical recovery.

They assist with skin/organ-related medical procedures that may require the use of a reconstructive surgery nurse.

They also help with more advanced procedures, including replantation.

As a result, plastic surgery nurses play a vital role in the process and recovery of patients with cosmetics, microsurgery, and advanced procedures.

These specialists also educate patients on how to recover properly from their treatment.

They ensure patients have adequate knowledge and support to improve their conditions post-surgery.

In addition, they support surgeons, nurses, and other professionals with essential medical and administrative tasks.

Overall, plastic surgery nurses provide much-needed assistance to help patients receive the best medical care possible.

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