What should I do to become an excellent DNP?
Skin is the largest human organ, accounting for 16% of an adult body. While it plays a vital role in the integumentary system and protection against external elements, our skin needs proper care and protection, too.
Dermatology nurse practitioners understand every disease and issue related to the 22-square-foot part covering our bodies. Should you be into deep research of human skin and helping people take care of their skin, this career option offers you great chances.
We’ll bring to the table an outlook on how to become a dermatology nurse practitioner and what duties you’ll be in charge of as one. Stay tuned!
What Is A Dermatology Nurse Practitioner?
A dermatology nurse practitioner specializes in the treatment of medical conditions and diseases that impact the skin surface.
The skin’s prime goal is to protect the inner parts of the body from harm and disease. It promotes sensations from external physical contact and monitors body temperature.
If your skin functions inappropriately, it may open the gate to more severe injuries or diseases.
DNPs work with people of all ages and skin colors, yet some specialists choose to research and focus on a particular group. For example, the elderly, children, or those struggling with skin allergies or cancer.
What Do Dermatology Nurse Practitioners Do?
A DNP’s everyday work involves various tasks.
The scope of services and practice requires DNPs to have appropriate licensure and credentials that prove they’re competent enough to perform tasks of various difficulty levels.
Typically, a DNP should be able to:
- Serve as a researcher, educator, mentor, or patient care provider.
- Manage, assess, diagnose, and treat acute, episodic, and chronic dermatology illnesses
- Collaborate with other healthcare teams and physicians to deliver comprehensive and accurate dermatologic care
- Interpret and order lab & diagnostic tests, educate & counsel patients about their dermatologic conditions and prescribe non-pharmacologic therapies & pharmacological agents.
- Send patients to experts for intense dermatological care if necessary.
How To Become A Dermatology Nurse Practitioner?
It’s a long road from a high-school student to a competent DNP where you may sometimes feel intimidated and depressed. The following guide will help you plan out each step to achieving your dream.
Get A Nurse Practitioner Degree
Prepare a good fundamental educational background
The first disadvantage you’ll encounter is that not many schools offer master-level DNP programs. The University of South Florida is one of the very few institutions including derm-specific DNP programs in their education system.
If you can’t register for USF’s dermatology programs for some reason or simply don’t want to study for a master’s degree, there are still other possible options.
The most flexible and easiest approach to becoming a DNP is to get a degree as an adult or family nurse practitioner.
Though these specialties certainly don’t focus on skin, they equip students with crucial primary care fundamentals upon which professional skills and knowledge can be built and developed.
One of the key steps to becoming a nurse practitioner, in general, and a DNP, in particular, is to acquire an RN license in your state.
First, apply to take the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses) at a prestigious testing center. Once you’ve passed the test, register a license in your name and complete extra state requirements and procedures.
Some RN training programs or colleges allow students to apply for a state license or take this test before getting their degrees. So, ask your school’s program moderator if you find this option convenient.
Earn Hands-On Nursing Experience
The secret to kickstarting your DNP career is to seek a dermatology hospital or clinic accepting to train and teach you without professional experience.
Notably, ensure the clinic you apply for has a conductive and open environment to new grads with experienced, caring personal assistants and nurse practitioners.
Support and help during the beginning period of working in a professional clinic are important to any beginner. You don’t want to be drowned in a flood of glycolic acid peels, melanoma, and atypical moles, do you?
You can guarantee your improvements with helpful advice and practical experience from other skilled dermatology experts.
After finding a suitable environment willing to make you the next skin soothing, rash diagnosing, and mole-excising expert, work as hard as possible to perfect your skills.
Also, here are three tips to accelerate your improvement speed and demonstrate commitment to the employer:
- Watch other specialists perform procedures in your downtime.
- Seek advice from long-term aestheticians and learn their elements of practice
- Research specific methods and knowledge on your own
Join Membership Groups
Joining DNP membership groups like the Dermatology Nurses’ Association will help you expand your network and update your field’s best practices and achievements.
Besides, group members may also inform others of the newest recruitment news in the area and other helpful resources like certification information or education courses.
Apply For Suitable Positions
With all the education, skills, and experience you’ve accumulated, apply for a suitable position in a setting closest to your home possible.
You can choose to experiment with an individualized, relaxed setting (such as a dermatology clinic) or challenge yourself with a more changing, fast-paced environment (such as a hospital).
Applying for institutions offering training or mentorship for new grads is advisable.
Consider Official Specialty Certifications
Additional specialty certifications bring you more opportunities and promotions. There are various specialty certifications in dermatology for DNPs. Yet, ensure you meet these requirements:
- A master of nursing degree
- Current DNP state license
- General dermatology training of at least 3,000 hours
- National NP board certification
- Passing score on a multiple-choice dermatology exam
Successfully obtaining an additional certification proves that you’ve reached a high level of proficiency and expertise in your domain.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Dermatology Nurse Practitioner?
Before entering this zone, you need to know that the journey can be arduous to remain patient.
It generally takes 3-4 years to earn a bachelor’s and 2-3 years to complete a general NP education, passing a difficult exam for certification and specialized training for cosmetic and dermatology procedures.
All in all, the process will require 5-8 years provided with full-time effort. Those starting from a nurse position or attending those processes part-time may take even longer.
Like any other nurse practitioner specialty, there’s no shortcut to becoming an excellent DNP. It takes hours of practice, months of training, and years of research and dedication.If you decide to delve into this challenging field, don’t worry about having difficulty looking for a position. We’ve always got your back with plenty of dermatology nurse practitioner jobs. So, it’s time to chase your dream!