In this weekly feature, the editors of SpringBoard highlight one career in the health care professions–including a basic description, educational requirements, core competencies/key skills needed, and related web sites and professional organizations where you can find more information!

201 Careers in Nursing


Nurses who work with burn patients perform comprehensive, highly specialized critical care to adult, geriatric, and pediatric patients who have sustained burn injuries involving up to 100% of total body surface area. The working environment on a burn unit is very intense. The nurse must continually be involved in assessment, planning, and evaluation of care. As part of a highly functioning interdisciplinary team, the nurse must recognize physiological and behavioral changes and know their significance to patient survival. Burn nurses administer pain and other medications, operate special equipment specific to the burn unit, and must maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in their patients.


Registered nurse preparation is required.


Most burn units require 1 year of general medical–surgical or critical care experience, as well as the following:

  •  Knowledge of the pathophysiology of burns
  • Complete understanding of fluid and electrolyte balance
  • Technical competency involving complex equipment
  • Ability to work with patients on ventilators
  • Knowledge of pain management
  • Skill in the use of aseptic technique
  • Interpersonal competency dealing with patients and families in
  • life-threatening situations
  • Ability to work with interdisciplinary teams


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