How To Become a Burn Care Nurse: Duties, Steps and FAQs

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.

In order to become a burn care nurse, a nursing student must complete their degree and pass NCLEX-RN. Most nurses enter burn care after beginning their professional experience in the ICU or other trauma unit. In fact, most employers prefer an applicant who has at least some professional experience in critical care.
  1. Get a degree in nursing. Most burn care nurses hold a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing. …
  2. Pass a nursing exam. …
  3. Gain experience in an ICU or trauma unit. …
  4. Become certified in burn care.

Burns Nursing Care, Treatment, Degrees, Pathophysiology, Management, NCLEX Review

What does a burn care nurse do?

Burn care nurses provide treatments and care for patients with burn injuries. They also perform the following duties:

What is a burn care nurse?

Burn care nurses are medical professionals who work in a specialized field of critical care. They treat patients who have burn injuries from chemical, electrical and fire accidents. Burn care nurses are also highly skilled in pain management. Patients who have burn wounds may need psychological care to overcome their trauma, which burn care nurses can provide by offering emotional support.

How to become a burn care nurse

If youre interested in becoming a burn care nurse, you can follow these four steps:

1. Get a degree in nursing

Most burn care nurses hold a bachelors of science degree in nursing. Typically, the degree takes four years to complete and includes clinical training. Areas of study include anatomy, biology, chemistry and laboratory testing. During clinical training, students often learn how to treat patients and design treatment plans. Aspiring burn nurses may specialize in acute care which can help them develop skills in treating serious injuries like burns.

2. Pass a nursing exam

To become a registered nurse, nursing students pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). This exam assesses competency in providing care to patients, including procedures, terminology and practical applications. The exam also tests an applicants knowledge on addressing patient needs in these categories:

3. Gain experience in an ICU or trauma unit

Experience in an intensive care unit (ICU) or a trauma unit such as an emergency room can help a nurse gain critical care skills that are necessary for treating burn injury patients. Its helpful to work in a trauma unit to become comfortable in a rapidly changing environment.

This experience may also expose you to patients with psychological conditions that burn patients often develop. Its important to learn how to care for a patients mental health, which can help you assist psychologists with treatments and provide emotional support to burn patients. While working in a trauma unit, nurses may also develop skills in evaluating patients to determine how to best approach their treatment.

4. Become certified in burn care

While most employers do not require burn care nurses to have a special certification, there are several certifications that you can earn to help increase your employment opportunities. Consider these certifications to develop your burn care nursing skills:

Frequently asked questions about a career as a burn care nurse

People who are interested in becoming burn care nurses often have these questions:

What is the work environment like for a burn care nurse?

Burn care nurses work in the burn care unit or the intensive care unit of a hospital. They may also work in the emergency room. Some burn care nurses also work in outpatient treatment centers that dedicate their services to burn patient recoveries. They work with a team of medical professionals that includes physicians, other nurses, psychologists and physical therapy specialists.

Since each patient may require a different level of care, a burn care nurses daily duties may not follow a set routine. For example, burn care nurses may help treat conditions that occur as a result of a burn injury, such as depression or mobility challenges.

What is the salary and job outlook for a burn care nurse?

Burn care nurses can find employment in a variety of medical or rehab centers. This increases the opportunity of employment for newly registered nurses and students seeking to become burn care nurses. The salary for a burn care nurse depends on factors such as experience and the location in which they work. Here are comparable careers and their salaries:

What are burn care nurse skills?

Here are common skills a burn care nurse may have:


What does a burn case nurse do?

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.

What does a burn specialist do?

Nursing Priorities

Alleviate pain. Prevent complications. Provide emotional support for patient/significant other (SO). Provide information about condition, prognosis, and treatment.

How long are burn patients in the hospital?

Burn center specialists are dedicated to treating only burn patients. They can include: Burn rehabilitation specialists. Burn surgeons who have additional training in burn, trauma or critical car.

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