Marking Orthopaedic Nurses Week

Marking Orthopaedic Nurses Week

National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses logoOrthopaedic nurses know that when problems with joints and muscles strike, they can impact the quality of life in a significant way. Nurses in this specialty are there to diagnose and treat patients who have conditions ranging from an injury needing a short-term recovery to longer, chronic conditions including osteoporosis.

This week, orthopaedic nurses around the world are celebrating a week devoted to highlighting their nursing specialty with Orthopaedic Nurses Week. From October 30 to November 2, nurses can use this extra attention to promote this career path and to help educate the larger public about what orthopaedic nurses do.

As nurses in this career know, the duties of an “ortho” nurse are varied. From where they practice–in physician’s offices, hospitals, surgical care or outpatient centers–to the conditions they treat–from joint-replacement preparation and recovery to surgery to repair broken bones–ortho nurses have many career pathways to choose from.

Ortho nurses work with patients across the lifespan and whether they are working more closely with pediatric patients or elite athletes, they find the focus is similar. Joint and muscle issues can cause patients to experience pain and discomfort, can interrupt their activities of daily living, and can require new ways to adapt to performing tasks. Ortho nurses are particularly adept at helping their patients recover as they can share best practices to help move recovery forward or tips on managing what could be symptoms of chronic disease.

Orthopaedic nurses must be experts in the skeletal and muscular system, so they know how a problem with one joint could have a widespread impact on other areas of the body. Nurses who are especially fascinated with these areas will find a natural fit for orthopaedic nursing and will find gaining experience will help them build on the foundation they received as nursing students. Professional ortho nurses will find excellent resources through the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses.

The Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board offers three separate credentials for nurses who want to attain more expertise in their specialty. With the ONC®, OCNS-C®, and ONP-C®, nurses will achieve the most up-to-date knowledge and practice in musculoskeletal health. Certification in any specialty is a professional credential that signals to the public and to peers that a nurse is dedicated to gaining the top skills and knowledge related to a specific area of nursing. Ortho nurses work in a fast-paced environment and so continuing to stay current on the latest developments and guidelines around conditions, equipment, and practices will only help them provide the best patient care possible.

If ortho nursing interests you, spending some time shadowing or working on an ortho unit will offer an understanding of the day-to-day challenges and joys of this line of work.

Recognition for Orthopaedic Nurses

Recognition for Orthopaedic Nurses

This week’s observance of National Orthopaedic Nurses Week from October 28 through November 1 calls attention to the work of nurses who care for patients with problems related to their muscles and joints.

Sponsored by the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON), the week salutes nurses who work in this field and change the lives of their patients every day. Orthopaedic nurses specialize in treating patients with musculoskeletal problems and all the associated tasks with their treatment.

Because of the wide range of issues that come with musculoskeletal development and use, these nurses may work with patients of all ages.

Orthopaedic nurses may treat patients with any of the following conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Sports injuries
  • Pediatric disorders such as osteogenesis imperfecta
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Osteoporosis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Back pain and injury
  • Strain and resulting inflammation around tendons and joints

Nurses may diagnose and treat patients with immediate injuries in hospital or emergency department settings. They might also work with a rehabilitation or physical therapy facility to help patients regain their strength, flexibility, and full range of motion. They may work with patients who need various castings to keep bones in place and will help them manage getting around or coping with the casting restrictions.

Every nurse is an essential source of information and for someone who has a mobility-limiting injury or condition, the education provided by nurses can be a true lifesaver. Patients will learn from their nurses about how to control and manage any pain, how to prevent further injury, and what to expect during different stages of healing. If a patient has had any surgery, for example a hip replacement, they will help with plans for how to care for themselves during the healing process and progress through a faster recovery. They will even learn about how to cope with an itchy cast or gain real-life tips for soothing arthritis flare-ups.

As with virtually any nursing specialty, professionals in this nursing path are encouraged to obtain certification through the Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board. Certification keeps your knowledge and skills current so you’re able to take your experiences, combine it with the latest evidence-based practices, and give your patients the best possible care. Nurses may also continue their quest for lifelong learning with recertification, so even nurses who have obtained this credential can continue to learn more.

Seeing direct patient progress is one of the best parts of being an orthopaedic nurse. It’s especially gratifying to see a patient progress from a badly broken bone to a strong recovery. Helping a patient with a condition that causes painful joints, tendons, and muscles find exercises and treatments that can reduce pain is extremely rewarding.

If you’re an orthopaedic nurse, celebrate with your colleagues this week. Spread the word about what you do so people understand the broad scope of this nursing path—this kind of visibility helps elevate the nursing profession. If you are a nurse leader in your team, continue to offer mentorship to new nurses or those wondering if this career path would match their career goals.


Mickey Haryanto’s Career in Orthopaedic Nursing Is a Good Match

Mickey Haryanto’s Career in Orthopaedic Nursing Is a Good Match

Since 1990, the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON) has taken time to honor the work they do. This week from October 29 through November 2 marks the National Orthopaedic Nurses Week.

Minority Nurse had a chance to hear from Mickey Haryanto RN-BC, MBA, ONC, and program manager of the Joint Replacement Program at the Medical University of South Carolina to find out about a career in orthopaedic nursing.

“I have always loved the challenge of orthopaedic patient care,” says Haryanto, NAON’s president. “When I graduated from nursing school my first position was on an orthopedic unit. I found that it was a great place to hone my skills.”

As Haryanto’s career progressed, she found herself in varied roles such as in critical care or home care, where her orthopaedic skills were needed and where she enjoyed seeing the results of her work with patients. She continues to see how orthopaedic nurses bring varied skills to healthcare that continue to be in high demand. And, of course, she can’t resist this explanation for her career choice: “I guess it’s ‘in my bones’!”

Eventually, a position came along that was just right for her. “When I was offered a position doing ortho case management, I jumped at the chance when no one else was interested,” she says. “Too bad for them!”

And bone jokes aside, Haryanto says the career brings the kind of gratification that helps nurses continue in such a challenging day-to-day career. “Being involved with helping people recover from injuries and musculoskeletal conditions where you can see people progress is very satisfying,” she says. Still, the challenges orthopaedic nurses face, including an increasing demand on healthcare resources and nursing shortages, are echoed throughout the nursing entire profession.

But a career as an orthopaedic nurse requires an interdisciplinary approach. As the motion and movement of joints and bones impacts other body systems directly and indirectly, Haryanto calls orthopaedics “a team sport. We never stop learning from each other.”

If you’re a nurse or a nursing student who is interested in this nursing path, Haryanto suggests shadowing an orthopaedic nurse. “We love to share knowledge and bring new nurses into the fold,” she says.  As with other nursing specialties, nurses should plan to get certified with the Orthopaedic Nurse Certification -ONC credential. Shadowing a nurse with that credential will give you a full picture of what a day might look like and what skills are used most often.

As a leader of NAON, Haryanto knows the benefits of a professional organization. “The mission of NAON is to advance the specialty of orthopaedic nursing through excellence in research, education and nursing practice,” she says. “We fulfill this mission by providing education and networking opportunities both online with webinars, an active Issues in Practice Forum, and at live events such as our annual congress (in Atlanta in 2019). We are a community of nurses for nurses.”  New members are always welcome, as are inquiries from nurses who are curious about the specialty.