NP degrees are awarded for broad specialties, but for nurse practitioners with focused interests, seeking specialty certification outside of academia can be a beneficial career move. This not only demonstrates a commitment to your specialty but also show patients and prospective employers that you have achieved a certain skill set or level of knowledge. Earlier, we looked at cardiology certifications for NPs. Today, we will tackle derm.
Dermatology is a popular specialty interest among nurse practitioners. Not only do derm NPs earn top salaries, the specialty is known for a balanced lifestyle maintaining traditional office hours and requires few responsibilities like taking call. We’ve talked before on ThriveAP about how nurse practitioners can start working in dermatology. Once you land a job, how can you distinguish yourself in this career path?
There are three ways nurse practitioners can receive certification or official training in dermatology.
1. Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Certification
The Dermatology Nursing Certification Board (DNCB) offers a Dermatology Certified Nurse Practitioner (DCNP) designation. To officially certify in the specialty, nurse practitioners must pass an exam as well as show evidence of 3,000 hours of current NP practice including current practice experience in dermatology. The certification is valid for three years and is maintained through continuing education hours or re-taking the test.
2. Procedural Training
There are a number of skills and procedures dermatology nurse practitioners must learn to be proficient in their practices. To help NPs master these skills, dermatology organizations offer conferences and training sessions, particularly for cosmetic procedures. The International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine (IAPAM), for example, offers hands-on continuing education in Botox and fillers. Companies providing the tools and drugs necessary to perform these interventions may also offer training sessions. Juvederm, for example, provides contact information on its website for providers interested in training in administration of the filler. Obtaining training in cosmetic procedures is essential to setting yourself apart as a dermatology nurse practitioner.
3. Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Fellowship
Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts is home to the only dermatology nurse practitioner fellowship in the nation. The two-year course consists of both didactic and clinical curriculum preparing NPs to work in the dermatology setting. The program is affiliated with Harvard Medical School’s Dermatology Residency Program so participating NPs can be assured of its quality. Two candidates are accepted to the program each year. Unfortunately, admission to the program has been suspended for 2018, it remains to be seen if the fellowship will open again to nurse practitioner applicants.
Do you plan to specialize as a dermatology nurse practitioner? How will you distinguish yourself in the profession?
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