Orthopedic Nurse Career Profile

An orthopedic nurse plays a vital role within the healthcare industry. They make a difference in the lives of many individuals and enjoy a very fulfilling career. Here are the basics of being an orthopedic nurse and what you should expect from the job.

Becoming an Orthopedic Nurse

In order to become an orthopedic nurse, you will first have to become a registered nurse. You will need to get your high school diploma and then apply to a registered nursing program. You can become a registered nurse by attending a two-year associate's degree program or a four year bachelor's program. During this training, you will learn in a classroom setting as well as with hands-on methods. After you have completed your formal training, you will have to take a licensing exam known as the NCLEX-RN. This will allow you to practice as a registered nurse. After that, you will have to take an additional certification exam in order to become an orthopedic nurse. This process will make you Orthopedic Nurse Certified or ONC. From there, you should be able to obtain a job as an orthopedic nurse.

Basic Tasks

Orthopedic nurses assist patients that have skeletal problems. Orthopedic nurses are in charge of making sure that their patients are comfortable and in a steady condition at all times. Some of the conditions that orthopedic nurses deal with are arthritis, broken bones, joint replacement, and bone density loss. They will also work with those that have lupus erythematosus. Orthopedic nurses will utilize a variety of different techniques in order to treat and assist their patients. They will be skilled in methods such as traction, neurovascular status monitoring, continuous passive motion therapy, and applying casts to broken bones. Orthopedic nurses will also be skilled in administering IVs, providing medication, and other forms of patient care. Many of them will monitor the condition of their patients and report that condition to the attending physician.

Work Schedule

Orthopedic nurses will try to stick to a 40 hour work week in most cases. However, they may have to pick up additional hours in order to accommodate many patients. Your individual work schedule could vary greatly from one week to the next. Since hospitals are up in 24 hours a day, you may be required to work nights or weekends. However, some orthopedic nurses work only during the day shift.


The median salary for an orthopedic nurse is approximately $62,000 per year.

Opportunities for Advancement

As an orthopedic nurse, you will have some opportunities for advancement in your career. Some orthopedic nurses that perform well on the job can move up to a role of family nurse practitioner or clinical nurse manager. This will allow you to conduct management responsibilities as well as your normal nursing tasks. As this happens, you will also be able to take advantage of increased pay.

Finding a Job

If you are looking for a job as an orthopedic nurse, be sure to check out www.nursing jobs.org. They have a current list of available nursing jobs as well as important information for job seekers.