A urology nurse cares for patients with urinary tract problems in a hospital, urology clinic, or private doctor's office. A nurse performs initial evaluations of symptoms, assists doctors with diagnostic and treatment procedures, and provides expert patient education and counseling services. Professionals see patients who have urinary tract infections, kidney stones, cancers, prostatitis, or any of a number of other specific conditions. Many urology nurses are trained to provide checkups and care for certain common conditions without having to consult with physicians first.
When a patient is referred to a specialist for urinary tract care, he or she usually first meets with the urology nurse. The nurse checks vital signs, records information about symptoms, and performs a basic physical examination. He or she relays findings to a urologist and helps determine the most appropriate tests to perform or medications to provide. The nurse helps the patient understand the reasons for different tests and what the results mean. Before leaving the urology center, the nurse explains the importance of proper hygiene and following the doctor's orders to prevent recurring problems.
While many urology nurses provide expert care for all types of patients, some professionals choose to specialize by working with a certain population, such as women or the elderly. A pediatric urology nurse provides diagnostic and treatment services for patients under the age of 18, which requires special knowledge and a particular personality type. The developing urinary and reproductive tracts of children are affected differently by viruses, bacteria, and other abnormalities, and a nurse must take care to determine the appropriate actions to take. In addition, a pediatric urology nurse needs to be able to communicate effectively with children to help them understand their conditions and remain calm in the examining room.
A person who is interested in becoming a urology nurse typically needs to receive either an associate's or bachelor's degree, pass an exam to earn registered nurse credentials, and gain experience in a general nursing position. Some regions require prospective urology nurses to attend continuing education classes and take additional exams to gain certification before entering the specialty. With experience and the appropriate credentials, a nurse can apply for positions at clinics, private practices, and general hospitals.
Many urology nurses decide to pursue master's degrees in order to become nurse practitioners or clinical nursing specialists. With an advanced degree, a nurse is usually able to provide many of the same diagnostic and treatment procedures regularly performed by urologists, including writing prescriptions for medications. An experienced nurse can also decide to pursue administrative positions at a hospital, where he or she can help develop new policies and treatment strategies for urology patients.