Orthopedic Nurse Jobs

What does an Orthopedic Nurse do?

Orthopedic nursing is a specialty that focuses on the care and management of patients with musculoskeletal conditions, such as fractures, joint replacements, and spinal disorders. Orthopedic nurses may work in hospitals, clinics, ambulatory infusions centers, and rehabilitation centers and play an important role in the care of patients with musculoskeletal conditions.

The main duties of an orthopedic nurse include assessing patients’ conditions, managing pain and discomfort, preparing patients for surgical procedures, and monitoring their postoperative recovery. They also work closely with orthopedic surgeons to ensure that patients receive the best possible care and that their conditions are managed effectively. Orthopedic nurses are also responsible for educating patients and their families about their conditions and treatments and ensuring that patients receive the necessary follow-up care and rehabilitation.

Orthopedic nursing is a challenging field that requires a high level of expertise and specialized knowledge. Orthopedic nurses must have a strong understanding of anatomy, physiology, and the various conditions and treatments related to musculoskeletal disorders. They must also possess excellent communication skills, as they need to be able to clearly and effectively communicate with patients, their families, and other healthcare professionals.

There is a difference between orthopedic nurses and orthopedic nurse practitioners in both education and duties. Orthopedic nurses typically work under the supervision of orthopedic surgeons and are responsible for providing patient care before, during, and after orthopedic surgeries and procedures. On the other hand, orthopedic nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses that are licensed to diagnose and treat patients independently and may also perform procedures such as joint injections and wound care. In terms of education, orthopedic nurses typically hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing, while orthopedic nurse practitioners hold a master’s degree and have completed additional training and certification in orthopedic nursing. 

As for the profession demand, orthopedic nurses are highly requested, and job opportunities are expected to grow in the coming years. This growth is largely driven by the increasing demand for healthcare services as the population continues to age and the number of people with musculoskeletal conditions increases.

One of the main challenges faced by orthopedic nurses is the physical demands of the job. Orthopedic nurses often work with patients who are in pain and discomfort, and they must be able to physically support these patients as they move and perform daily activities. This can be physically demanding and requires a certain level of physical fitness. 

How to become an Orthopedic Nurse

To become an Orthopedic Nurse, one must first obtain a registered nurse (RN) license by completing a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program or an associate degree in nursing (ADN) program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). After becoming an RN, nurses must gain clinical experience in orthopedic nursing, which involves caring for patients with musculoskeletal disorders, such as fractures, osteoarthritis, and joint replacements.

To further specialize in orthopedics, nurses can earn a certification from a professional organization, such as the Orthopedic Nurses Certification Board (ONCB). The ONCB offers the Certified Orthopedic Nurse (CON) credential, which requires a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice in orthopedic nursing, as well as passing an exam.

To become an orthopedic nurse practitioner, one must first complete a master of science in nursing (MSN) program and obtain an RN license. After gaining clinical experience as an RN, nurses can specialize in orthopedic nursing by enrolling in an MSN program with a focus on orthopedic nursing.

After completing an MSN program, nurses must become certified as Nurse Practitioners (NP) by passing the certification examination from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Nurses can then become orthopedic nurse practitioners by obtaining certification from a professional organization. 


Skills of an Orthopedic Nurse

To excel as an orthopedic nurse, certain skills are essential:

– Clinical Knowledge and Technical Skills: orthopedic nurses must have a deep understanding of anatomy, physiology, and the pathophysiology of orthopedic conditions. Orthopedic nurses must also have the ability to effectively manage complex medical equipment, such as traction devices, orthopedic casts, and immobilization devices.

– Communication Skills: orthopedic nurses must be able to communicate effectively with patients, their families, and other healthcare professionals. They must be able to explain medical procedures, answer questions, and provide support and reassurance.

– Physical Endurance: Orthopedic nursing can be physically demanding, as nurses are required to assist with patient care, lift and move patients, and perform procedures that may involve repetitive motions. Orthopedic nurses must be physically fit and able to maintain their stamina throughout long shifts.

– Adaptability: orthopedic nursing is constantly evolving, and orthopedic nurses must be able to adapt to new technologies, treatments, and procedures. They must also be able to handle changing patient conditions and respond quickly to emergencies.


Salary of an Orthopedic Nurse

On average, Orthopedic Nurses in the United States earn an annual salary of $122,319, with an estimated additional pay of $6,471 per year, according to Glassdoor. This additional pay could consist of cash bonuses, commission, tips, and profit sharing. As for Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners, they can expect to earn an average yearly salary of $140,710, with an estimated additional pay of $10,714 per year, according to Glassdoor. 

Generally, orthopedic nurses who work in larger, urban hospitals and clinics tend to earn higher salaries than those who work in smaller facilities. Additionally, orthopedic nurses who have advanced degrees and certifications may earn more than their colleagues who only have a basic nursing degree.



Q: Are orthopedic nurses in demand? 

A: Yes, orthopedic nurses are in high demand. With an aging population and increasing incidence of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries, the need for orthopedic nurses is growing. Additionally, advances in orthopedic surgical procedures and treatments require specialized nursing care, further increasing the demand for orthopedic nurses.

Q: How much does an orthopedic nurse make? 

A: The average salary for an orthopedic nurse in the United States is $122,319 per year. The estimated total pay for an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner is $140,710 per year, with an additional payment of $10,714 per year, according to Glassdoor.

Q: How long does it take to be an orthopedic nurse? 

A: To become an orthopedic nurse, a person must complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, which typically takes 4 years to complete. After completing the BSN program and obtaining licensure as a registered nurse, the individual must then work in a clinical setting for several years to gain experience in orthopedic nursing. Specialty certification is also available for orthopedic nursing and requires additional education and experience.

Q: How to become a certified orthopedic nurse? 

A: To become a certified orthopedic nurse, an individual must first complete a BSN program and become a licensed registered nurse. The nurse must then work in a clinical setting for several years to gain experience in orthopedic nursing. After meeting the eligibility criteria, the nurse can take the Orthopedic Nurses Certification exam offered by the Orthopedic Nurses Certification Board (ONCB). Successful completion of the exam results in the designation of Certified Orthopedic Nurse (CON). Ongoing continuing education is required to maintain the CON certification.


Glassdoor (n.d.). Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner Salary. Retrieved from https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/orthopedic-nurse-practitioner-salary-SRCH_KO0,29.htm

Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (n.d.). Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Retrieved from https://www.oncb.org/frequently-asked-questions-faq/

Ortho Nurse (n.d.). Ortho Nurse. Retrieved from https://www.orthonurse.org