Reconstructive surgery is a surgical specialty that involves the restoration or reconstruction of a physical part of a person’s body. Although it is a type of plastic surgery, reconstructive surgery is more than about simply improving a person’s looks. For many reconstructive surgery patients, these procedures not only make them more attractive, but they also help improve the function of certain body parts, usually on the face.

To some, reconstructive surgery is just as much of an art form as it is a branch of medicine. All medical professionals that work in reconstructive surgery, including reconstructive surgery nurses, must be passionate about and skilled at their chosen art form.

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What is a Reconstructive Surgery Nurses?
What do Reconstructive Surgery Nurses Do?
Where do Reconstructive Surgery Nurses Work?
How do I Become a Reconstructive Surgery Nurse?

What is a Reconstructive Surgery Nurse?

A reconstructive surgery nurse is a nursing professional that works to assist reconstructive surgeons and caring for their patients.

Reconstructive surgery is often performed in order to correct deformities caused by a number of different things, including genetic abnormalities or injuries. Many reconstructive surgery patients also have need reconstructive surgery not only for aesthetic reasons, but also for functional reasons.

There are a number of reasons why patients may need to have reconstructive surgery. Some examples include traumatic injuries, such as facial bone fractures; genetic abnormalities, like cleft palates; severe burns; and other physical problems caused by illnesses and injuries.

A reconstructive surgery nursing career requires dedication and passion, as it can be somewhat fast-paced and stressful. Individuals interested in pursuing a career in this area must have an excellent attention to detail and be able to stand for long periods of time.

Despite these disadvantages, however, working as a reconstructive surgery nurse can be one of the most rewarding surgical careers that you can pursue. You will have the chance to make people more attractive, boost their confidence, and help them gain (or regain) normal function.

What do Reconstructive Surgery Nurses Do?

Reconstructive surgery nurses help care for patients before, during, and after reconstructive surgery.

Assessing a patient for reconstructive surgery often involves an in-depth physical examination. In many cases, internal images, such as x-rays and ultrasounds, will also need to be examined before the actual surgery is attempted. This is to ensure that the surgery is safe and feasible.

Reconstructive surgery nurses are also often responsible for prepping patients for surgery. They may advise patients not to eat the night before the surgery, for instance, as well as help administer anesthesia. These nursing professionals will also usually be responsible for sterilizing and setting up equipment and tools needed for surgery.

As a reconstructive surgery nurse, you will also be present during the surgeries as well. You may be required to assist surgeons, for example, by handing them tools and performing basic surgical tasks. You will also be responsible for monitoring your patients during surgical procedures to ensure they remain stable.

After a reconstructive surgical procedure, reconstructive surgery nurses play an instrumental part in caring for patients as well. They will often monitor them until they come out of anesthesia and help ensure that they remain stable. Reconstructive surgery nurses will also need to change dressings, administer medications, and assist patients with everyday tasks, such as bathing and dressing.

As a reconstructive surgery nurse, you will also be responsible for getting patients ready to go home. To do this, you will often need to demonstrate how to care for wounds and change bandages and dressings. Reconstructive surgery nurses will also give their patients daily living tips.

Where do Reconstructive Surgery Nurses Work?

The majority of reconstructive surgery nurses work alongside plastic surgeons. They may work in office, operating room, and recovery room settings. Hospitals and clinics might also hire reconstructive surgery nurses as well.

How do I Become a Reconstructive Surgery Nurse?

In order to become a reconstructive surgery nurse, you’ll first need to earn your bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing. While you’re earning this degree, you should take several courses in general surgery and patient recovery.

Below is the educational path for a Reconstructive Surgery Nurse (lowest to highest level of education)

Educational TrackSchool ProgramsAverage Education LengthChoosing Online or Campus
Earn a Bachelors DegreeView Programs4 Years Online or Campus
Earn a MSN DegreeView Programs2 Additional YearsOnline or Campus
Earn a PHD or DNPView Programs2-4 Additional YearsOnline or Campus

Once you’ve earned your degree, you will then need to pass the proper licensure examination to become either a registered nurse or and advanced practice nurse.

You can obtain certification through the Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board, which is part of the American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses. To be eligible to take the certification examination, you will need to have at least two years of nursing experience in a plastic surgery setting within the prior five years to taking the examination.