What Does a Plastic Surgery Nurse Do?

A plastic surgery nurse helps patients throughout the process of getting cosmetic or reconstructive surgery, from pre-operative preparation to post-op care. Plastic surgery nurses may also be called cosmetic nurses or aesthetic nurses. No matter their exact title, these medical professionals are licensed registered nurses (RNs) or nurse practitioners (NPs).

These nurses can work in a variety of medical environments such as:

  • Doctors’ private practices
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Dermatologists’ offices
  • Medical Spas

Main Responsibilities

Work environment and nursing specialization can affect a nurse’s responsibilities, but they generally handle a broad range of tasks. They educate patients about the surgery process and guide them through pre-op consultations and testing. Being available to address any questions or concerns the patients may have can make a positive difference. Collaborating with both patients and doctors supports good communication and helps meet the patient’s needs.

Plastic surgery nurses screen patients and conduct physical examinations, including medical imagery like x-rays or ultrasounds. During the pre-op period, they also help review patients’ health history and assess their expectations and mental well-being.

When it comes to surgery, plastic surgery nurses participate in preparing the operating room and sterilizing medical equipment. They help get patients ready for anesthesia and monitor them throughout the procedure to ensure their safety. These nurses can assist surgeons during both surgical and nonsurgical treatments.

For post-operative care, these nurses can continue to monitor the patient and how their healing is progressing. They can also change dressings and administer medications.

Another type of task that plastic surgery nurses perform is handling non-invasive cosmetic procedures. This can be chemical peels or injecting dermal fillers or anti-aging substances like Botox. A physician usually supervises such work.

Education and Training

The first step to becoming a plastic surgery nurse is earning a nursing degree from an accredited institution and obtaining a license to become either a registered nurse or a nurse practitioner. However, you also need a master’s to become a nurse practitioner. The requirements for RN licenses may vary depending on the state where you want to work.

Once you have your license, you can get crucial field experience by working as an assistant to a plastic surgery nurse. Many aesthetic nurse positions require applicants to have at least two years of experience. Assisting a more experienced nurse is a critical learning experience including for skin assessments and cosmetic injectables.

They should stay up to date with cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. Other skills plastic that surgery nurses must have include empathy, interpersonal skills, and adaptability. Providing a non-judgmental environment for patients and their families is a key part of any plastic surgery nurse’s work.

If you are considering enhancing your appearance with plastic surgery, contact West Coast Plastic Surgery Center today at (805) 978-8545 to schedule a consultation!

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