Clinical Assessment Nurse Career Guide

Overview

Nursing is perhaps one of the most common professions within the medical and healthcare industry that focuses on providing all sorts of care and support to patients, families and communities. Nurses work in many different medical fields such as psychology, surgery, clinical, psychiatry, orthopedics, pediatrics, oncology, pathology and so on. Nurses also play a supporting and indirect role in hospitals and medical centers by assisting senior physicians and surgeons.

To sum it up, the job of a clinical assessment nurse is to accurately identify the requirements and preferences of the patient. To do so, the assessment nurse must examine the patient using examining tools, techniques and equipment. This is an extremely important step in providing healthcare to patients as the assessments made by nurses help forms the premise of the treatment. It also helps doctors with the diagnosis of patients as information taken by clinical assessment nurses can influence the diagnosis.

If you feel that you can add value to this industry by helping patients with their problems and by figuring out their issues, then you should become a clinical assessment nurse. Through this line of work, you will be able to learn a great deal about illnesses and diseases. You will also gain valuable experience in dealing with a number of patients and cases.

Job Duties

Job duties for clinical assessment nurses may vary – it depends on the size of the practice, number of patients, specialty, departments of the hospital, and so on. It also depends on the standards and practices used by hospitals. Nonetheless, there are some job duties that are general and common to all clinical assessment nurses.

  1. When an assessment nurse meets a patient, he or she must be able to determine the patient’s symptoms, the patient’s condition and the patient’s background.
  2. An assessment nurse must be able to use various research gathering tools such as interviews and questionnaires. At the same time, the nurse should be able to look for verbal and physical clues.
  3. Emotional and psychological facts are of equal importance when it comes to gathering data for a patient. Therefore a clinical assessment nurse should be able to gather mental and psychological information as well.
  4. Basic patient vitals, pulse, breathing and medical information such as allergies etc. must be collected throughout the patient’s stay.
  5. An assessment nurse must also be able to interpret patient information as it changes over the course of time. This information must also be shared with lead physicians.
  6. An assessment nurse must possess strong interpersonal and communication skills as they will be in constant contact with the patient and family members.

Career Outlook

Reliable nurses with strong assessment skills are always in demand in hospitals to serve as strong support structures for specialists and physicians. If you are a hard worker with strong assessment skills, then you should have little trouble landing a job and making your way to the top.

Given the increase in health awareness, preventative medicine and aging in the population, individuals make frequent trips to hospitals and clinics for assessment purposes. This trend may increase the hiring of assessment nurses to help facilitate the large inflow of patients.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), it is expected that the employment growth of nurses with increase by 26% during the period of 2010 to 2012. In 2011, the highest employers of nurses were hospitals, physician’s offices, home health care agencies, nursing home facilities and finally outpatient care centers (bls.gov).

Salary Prospects

The average annual salary for a clinical assessment nurse is $65,000 (indeed.com). In 2011, on an average, nurses that worked in physician’s offices took away the greatest salary of about $73,000 annually. With greater market experience and with an exposure to a large number of patients and cases, you may be able to earn a greater salary based on your skillset.

Educational Requirements

The most basic entry level education required to become a clinical assessment nurse is an associate’s degree in nursing. Some employers may prefer candidates with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing because these degrees have additional courses that teach nurses to think critically along with teaching communication skills and leadership qualities.

There are a few regulatory bodies that provide certification and licensing for nurses. Apart from the schools listed below, The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN, ncsbn.org) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC, ncsbn.org) should provide credible information should you wish to purse licensing and certification after completing schooling.

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