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Pulmonary Care Nurse

Pulmonary care nurses treat patients who have respiratory conditions and lung diseases, such as tuberculosis, asthma, cystic fibrosis and lung cancer. They work with respiratory therapists and diagnostic technicians to develop a treatment plan as well as describe diagnostic tests and treatment plans to patients. Pulmonary care nurses assist pulmonologists as they treat patients with acute and chronic lung diseases. Many pulmonary care nurses are specialized in critical care and work in hospitals while others work from patients’ homes, helping them manage their pain and administer medical treatments.

Pulmonary care nurses are licensed registered nurses (RNs) who have completed either an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing or completed a diploma program in nursing. In addition, they passed the NCLEX-RN licensure exam to obtain their license. Once these steps have been completed, most nurses become specialized and certified in critical care nursing by taking one of the many certification exams offered by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Depending on the certification, some nurses may be required to obtain a graduate degree, complete a designated amount of clinical hours and meet other applicable requirements before they can sit for the exam.

The salary and job outlook for pulmonary care nurses should be favorable as the population ages and health care expands. According to Salary.com, critical care unit nurses made a median salary of $61,983 in 2009. In addition, pulmonary care nurses, who get certified as critical care unit nurses, received numerous benefits, including bonuses, health care coverage, pension plans and paid time off. Also, pulmonary care nurses may see additional growth as more people are diagnosed with lung disease, cancer and other respiratory conditions.