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.

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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.

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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