Getting to know Toxicology Nurses

Mariel is thrilled that she is now enrolled in nursing school. Finally, a few steps away from her dream profession. Many say that nursing school, but this doesn’t really bother her since she knows that she will do everything just to reach the dream that she has been dreaming since she was just a child, that is to become a nurse. Excited for the future, she surfs the internet for a list of specializations a nurse can choose from until she comes about something that intrigues her. “Toxicology nursing, hmm, sounds interesting,” she says to herself as she reads on about the specialization.

Toxicology Nurses: Who are they?

Toxicology nurses are nurses who care for people that have swallowed poisons or come into contact with hazardous toxins as well as treat people that have been bitten by snakes or stung by bees. Furthermore, when you’re a Toxicology Nurse, you’ll get the opportunity to care for children and help teach them to avoid poisonous and hazardous materials.

Duties of a toxicology nurse include educating the public, especially school children, about the inherent dangers of snakes, poisons, and various toxic substances with which they might come into contact, treating poisonous insect and animal bites and developing treatment plans.

Where they work

These nurses usually work in clinic or hospital settings, often near or in emergency facilities. Poison control centers are another place where toxicology nurses are in demand. When not working with patients, the toxicology nurse can be found in local schools, delivering presentations about poisons, snake bites, and bee stings.

How much they earn

It must be noted that salary may change frequently, and vary by geographic location, the majority of toxicology nurses earn between $45,000 and $60,000 per year. However, education, experience, and facility type will impact the starting salary for toxicology nursing positions.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the growth rate for the nursing profession to be 22 percent during the ten-year period ending in 2018, while the current annual salary for a toxicology nurse stands at $47,000.

How do I become one?

Well, if you think this field’s for you, then you should first get your Nursing Diploma, Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

After which, you can now work as a Registered Nurse and gain hospital experience. You should then pass the Poison Information Specialist certification exam and finally become a Certified Specialist in Poison Information (C-SPI)

Sources:

Liane Clores, RN MAN

Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric, Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.

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