As with any nursing specialty, urology nurses are experts in one area, but the opportunities to practice urology nursing are varied and range from offices to research labs or boardrooms to the halls of government.
Urology nurses work across the lifespan, meaning they can treat patients of any age with urologic symptoms and conditions. The specialty offers nurses direct patient care work while also affording nurses opportunities to become involved in advocacy for urologic nursing processes involving patients and nurses. Urologic nurses are also able to venture into research if they are interested in that path. They are able to use their nursing education and their passion to find more and better treatments and cures for patients who could have conditions including bladder cancer or severe kidney stones.
Urologic nurses may start out with direct patient care in any variety of settings, but the day-to-day work will look different for each nurse. Some will work in an office setting where they will begin to establish relationships with patients and their families. Because some conditions require treatment and care for years, those patients and nurses will begin to develop the close bonds that lead to a trusting professional association. Some nurses may choose to work across several offices and will be able to treat patients of all ages while others find a particular interest in treating specific ages and will be able to choose to work with those populations.
Urology nurses are also needed in surgical units where they will care for patients who are undergoing or recovering from a procedure. These nurses are proficient in pre- and post-op care which includes wound care, pain management, home care, and necessary follow up treatments.
Other roles that are filled by nurses with a urology nursing background include a clinical nurse who might manage patient care in a research study. Nurse educators can use their skills, knowledge, and credentials to teach the next generation of nurses in an academic setting or within a facility. They can also use their commitment to patient health and to wellness and work with local, state, and federal government officials to raise awareness and distribute education about common urological conditions and treatments. They can advocate for increased spending and research in areas of specific interest to their patient population such as those with prostate cancer, recurring urinary tract infections, and some reproductive cancers.
To keep up-to-date with the most current knowledge, urology nurses should continue to gain certification and to acquire knowledge through seminars and readings. Meeting with other urology nurses through an organization like SUNA offers a feeling of professional connection and also personal fulfillment.
Every year, the week of November 1-7 is designated as Urology Nurses and Associates Week as a way to celebrate this specialty and honor the nurses who work in this field.
November is also Bladder Health Month and focuses on the varied issues people face with different symptoms and diagnoses and the impacts that these conditions have on their daily lives. Conditions involving the urinary tract can also impact other health conditions, including the reproductive tract or a patient’s nutrition needs, so urology nurses must understand all these connections. They also act as resources and supports for patients who are navigating bladder conditions and symptoms and help them connect and work with related specialists if needed.
Because they are in a specific field, urology nurses are usually expected to have general experience before moving into urology nursing. If you’re a nursing student and considering this career path, it’s a good idea to work in the specialty to see if it’s something you’d want to pursue as a specialty. The Society for Urologic Nurses and Associates (SUNA) is an excellent resource for education, networking, and understanding the importance of evidence-based urology nursing practice. Nurses interested in working with children will find the Pediatric Urology Nurses and Specialists organization helpful.
Urology nurses work in many settings and interact with all ages. They can work in a physician’s office with a small or large practice, a hospital setting, surgical clinics, community health clinics, or a pediatrician’s office. Because urology nurses can bring their skills to such varied settings and practices, they are in demand. Nurses in this field are often able to find a new position where they can gain more experience with a new patient population or in a new region.
As a urology nurse, you’ll treat varied conditions that range in severity from bladder cancer to chronic bladder incontinence. Patients with painful kidney stones, overactive bladders, or bladder symptoms from treatment of reproductive tract cancers are all part of a nurse’s patient spectrum. Each requires different treatment, but frequently urology nurses will also find themselves addressing patients’ embarrassment and discomfort of coping with bladder issues.
Compassion and understanding are part of the urology nurses skill set as is compiling resources that can help patients. Particularly with new patients, urology nurses can use their vast knowledge and interactions with patients to reassure and help people cope–whether that’s being ready to share tips for dealing with incontinence, managing pain, or preventing infection. SUNA offers a wealth of patient education tools for nurses to use.
As with other specialty nursing areas, gaining as much education as possible will elevate your nursing practice, allow you to give patients the best care, and may help advance your career. Certification gives nurses the extra credentials they need to show they have attained additional knowledge and skills in their field. The Certification Board for Urologic Nurses and Associates offers certification and recertification exams for nurses along with guidance for exam taking and preparation.
Urology nurses are especially appreciated by their patients for their skills and compassion, and they are an integral part of any medical team.
Urology professionals help care for patients who have various conditions and diseases relating to the urinary tract and often the reproductive system as well. They may treat conditions that impact bladder control or those that are extremely painful, like kidney stones. Urology nurses also treat forms of cancer that involve the urinary tract or the reproductive organs that may be involved such as bladder cancer or prostate cancer.
Urology patients are sometimes reluctant to openly discuss their symptoms are they relate to topics many societies consider more private, such as incontinence or sexual dysfunction. Urology nurses are able to care for the patient with their medical skills, but also must work carefully to assess the patient and understand the full story of how their condition is impacting their daily lives. Even though kidney stones aren’t life-threatening, the repercussions in daily living can be far reaching and hard to cope with.
One of the ways urology nurses are able to build trust with their patients is by understanding their discomfort and helping them feel less alone. Many people aren’t going to discuss urinary or sexual symptoms with their family and friends, but someone who has become incontinent from surgery or a medical condition is experiencing a huge change in daily living.
As nurses begin to help the patient with pressing emotional and physical symptoms, they are also able to take on the role of educator for the patient and the patient’s family. They need to know what to do, what treatment options are available, and how they can cope with this new change.
Because urology nursing professionals complete extensive and targeted training, they are able to use their knowledge to help patients in the most crucial ways. They can deliver accurate information about the patient’s condition, the prognosis, and the current treatment plan. Because they work with patients in this area, they can also steer patients toward resources, products, or life hacks that can help them manage this stage.
As a professional urology nurse, certification is going to help you provide the absolute best nursing care you can by giving you extra information and keeping you current on the latest evidence-based practices. Organizations such as the Certification Board for Urologic Nurses and Associates (CBUNA) provide this training and professional skills advancement. Nurses who are interested in this field may also choose to join a professional organization such as the Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates. Through this kind of organization, nurses find a community of like-minded professionals and a trusted resource for information and career guidance.
As Urology Nurses and Associates Week comes to a close, celebrate your professional career choice!
According to the American Medical Association, urology covers conditions of the urinary tract, the reproductive tract of males, urinary tract infections, cancer, incontinence, reconstructive urology, urogynecology, stones in the urinary tract, and some aspects of male and female infertility.
Urology nurses may treat adult or pediatric cases and may see cases from the routine to the exceedingly complex. They are called on to help men and women who present with sexual dysfunction or to help those with congenital conditions. They may assist with surgical procedures or with continual care of chronic conditions.
As a urology nurse, education is an important job responsibility. Nurses are a patient’s first resource for managing, coping with, and treating a condition. Patients turn to nurses to find out how to prevent a urinary tract infection, how to manage a catheter, or what kind of recovery they face after urologic surgery.
Within this role of educator, nurses can help patients manage expectation of healing, understand any prescriptions, or activity restrictions, and understand what is happening to their bodies. Urology nurses can help patients’ families learn how to help with the care and healing process as well. Minority nurses in the field are especially important as the more they understand the culture of a patient, including dietary traditions, the better they can help them heal.
Urology nurses are also the best ambassadors for this area of nursing. The Urology Nurses and Associates Week is a good time to celebrate with colleagues, and it’s also an opportunity to learn more and help educate others about what you do. You can send a photo of your team to the local paper with a short explanation of your success or how you care for people.
You can also take your voice public. Think of ways you can work in your community or on a wider platform to promote better policies to protect nurses and patients. Become a member of a professional nursing organization in your specialty, like SUNA, and volunteer your time to make an impact in whatever way you can.
Any nurse is committed to lifelong learning, so seek out ways to learn more. Become certified in urology nursing if you have not already. Take courses or sign up for webinars with your healthcare organization to refresh your knowledge on any area of nursing. Decide to become the go-to person in your unit on treating a specific condition and learn all you can to make that a reality. Take on leadership roles within your local nursing association chapter so you can develop agendas that keep urology nursing at the forefront of healthcare priorities.
And be sure to take a moment and think of how your hard work changes the lives of the patients in your care. Urologic issues often hold a certain level of embarrassment for some patients, so the compassionate and empathetic care urology nurses give is meaningful and will be remembered.
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