Evolution of Orthopaedic Nursing in Canada
November 26, 2021
Musculoskeletal diseases and disorders are prevalent all over the world leading to common conditions such as arthritis, bone fractures, joint replacements, osteoporosis, etc. To take care of patients who suffer from these conditions, there is a need for nursing professionals who can help in pain management, casting, traction, operating mobility devices, etc. Oftentimes, musculoskeletal conditions need surgery and orthopaedic nurses assist the physicians with the preparation for the procedure while assisting the patients with the postoperative recovery. After completing their nursing courses in Canada, orthopaedic nurses are formally trained to work in the operating room, hospital units, outpatient care clinics, offices, etc. Mostly, orthopaedic nurses are familiar with a wide range of medical conditions, operations, and medications. Orthopaedic nursing has its roots in Victorian England and in the past few years, many new units have evolved into mixed care units caring for a diverse patient population. Below, we will see more about orthopaedic nursing in detail while also understanding the evolution of orthopaedic nursing in Canada.
What is Orthopaedic Nursing?Orthopaedic nursing is a speciality that is focused on the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. It ranges from acute problems such as fractures, chronic systemic disorders such as loss of bone density or lupus erythematosus, joint replacement, etc. The orthopaedic nurses have specialized skills such as neurovascular status monitoring, casting, traction, continuous passive motion therapy, external fixation, etc. In the past few years, orthopaedic nurses have practised in hospital settings in either exclusive orthopaedic units or in the operating rooms. With the speciality of orthopaedic nursing, many jobs for nurses have emerged in the recent past. Today, orthopaedic nurses can be found in an endless array of practice settings.
Who is an Orthopaedic Nurse?An orthopaedic nurse is a professional who helps patients suffering from musculoskeletal issues such as broken and fractured bones, osteoporosis, joint replacements, injuries, diseases, etc. An orthopaedic nurse is someone who works closely with the patients, their families and the orthopaedic teams to ensure that there is clear client education, a smooth recovery, and minimal complications. It is the responsibility of an orthopaedic nurse to perform musculoskeletal health exams, assist with casting and traction, and administer pain medication. An orthopaedic nurse spends time encouraging patients to increase their mobility, educating the patients about how to protect their joints and bone health, and implementing strategies to minimize their pain and complications. As an orthopaedic nurse, you must be empathetic while working with patients who deal with chronic pain and mobility concerns. You should have impeccable communication skills to make sure that the healthcare provider or the physician is well aware of the patient’s needs while facilitating an appropriate follow-up. Down the line, some orthopaedic nurses take care of postoperative orthopaedic patients which also opens a whole new world of nursing skills.
What Does an Orthopaedic Nurse Do?The orthopaedic nurses have many job duties as they see many patients with different musculoskeletal disorders. These nurses can evaluate patients in a clinical setting or a hospital setting while ordering imaging, treatments and procedures. From assisting in orthopaedic surgeries and setting broken bones to performing joint injections, setting casts, and placing splints, orthopaedic nurses do a lot. These nurses can track headlines from treatment interventions and order subsequent tests, plan a follow up care, and collaborate with members of the healthcare team for ensuring that the patient needs are met. In sum, the roles and responsibilities of an orthopaedic nurse include:
- Assisting the doctors in offering care for musculoskeletal problems
- Assessing the vital signs of patients
- Helping treat injuries with serious wound dressings and castings
- Assigning a patient on a pain management schedule and assisting in pain medications while monitoring for reactions and allergies.
- Educating and sensitizing patients on how to safely heal from surgery or injuries at home.
- Enabling the patients to improve strength and mobility after the correction of a musculoskeletal problem.