From taking vital signs, to assisting surgeons during operations, registered nurses play a vital role in today’s health care industry. RNs who choose to advance their careers often become nurse practitioners. Neurosurgical nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who specialize in providing primary and specialty care to patients suffering from dysfunction of the nervous system. Due to the high risk cases they encounter on a daily basis, average salaries for neurosurgical nurses can reach into the six-figure range.
Neurosurgical nurse practitioners are RNs with at least a Master’s degree and specialty training in neurosurgery care. Neurosurgical nurse practitioners often deal with patients with life-threatening injuries that require immediate surgery, including brain and spinal cord neoplasm, head trauma, seizures and brain hemorrhages. Their tasks include administering medication, dressing wounds and developing treatment plans for post-recovery periods. During patients’ recovery, neurosurgical nurse practitioners help patients how to care for themselves or regain physical mobility following their operation. Salary.com stated that the national average salary was $90,183 in June 2011 for nurse practitioners in specialty care practices such as neurosurgery. A 2008 University of Pennsylvania graduate survey listed the average salary for entry-level nurse practitioners, including neurosurgery professionals, at $81,098 per year.
Similar to other professionals, salaries for neurosurgical nurse practitioners vary depending on where they work. In addition to hospitals, neurosurgical nurse practitioners work in ambulatory care units, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, urgent care centers and universities. In June 2011, a salary report posted by the Texas Tribune showed that neurosurgery nurse practitioners employed at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston earned between $82,240 and $102,240 per year. In April 2011, the University of Mississippi Medical Center listed the average salary for two nurse practitioner positions it its neurosurgery clinic at $90,000 per year.
The 2009 Salary Survey and Workplace Survey of Nurse Practitioners revealed out that the average salary for nurse practitioners grew 8.8 percent compared with 2007. The survey also cites overall job growth in the health care industry, which added about 600,000 positions during this time period. Nurse practitioner and job recruiter, Lynn Schiff, predicts that employer demand will grow for nurse neurosurgery practitioners. She states that candidates also have an opportunity to boost their earnings potential, since average salaries have steady been increasing in the field.
Registered nursing jobs, which include neurosurgical nurse practitioners, are expected to increase 22 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compared with the national average, employment growth will be excellent for RNs with specialty training and advanced degrees. Qualified neurosurgical nurse practitioners with Master’s degrees will find opportunities in not only clinical settings, but also colleges and universities where faculty job openings exceed job seekers. As advanced practice specialty nurses, neurosurgical nurses will also find career opportunities in underserved communities such as rural areas and inner cities.