Dermatology nurses can work in both cosmetic and therapeutic skin care. They are trained to recognize the symptoms of skin diseases, attend to patients' overall skin care, perform routine skin treatments and assist physicians in more complicated treatments. Although you do not have to be certified in order to practice as a dermatology nurse, certification provides you with increased opportunities for career advancement and gives your resume an edge over the competition when applying for positions.
Eligibility for the Test
A dermatology nurse need not be certified in order to practice in a dermatological capacity. In fact, experience as a dermatology nurse is required in order to gain certification. In order to be tested by the Dermatology Nursing Certification Board, you must be a registered nurse, hold an unrestricted license in either Canada or the United States, and have worked at least two years -- a total of 2,000 hours -- as a dermatology nurse. This requirement can be met through a number of positions: in administration, research, academic or as a general staff member.
Dermatology Nursing Certification Test Overview
The DNC exam is a four hour long test, made of 200 multiple choice questions regarding the nursing process as it applies to dermatology nursing. If you pass the test, your certification lasts three years. If you are a member of the Dermatology Nurses' Association, the exam costs $200. If you are not, the cost is $275. There are also reduced fees -- $125 for members, $200 for non-members -- for individuals who have already taken the test but did not pass.
Dermatology Nursing Certification Test Objectives
The goal of the DNC exam is the demonstration of quality care in a dermatological practice. A DNC nurse should be able to aptly monitor their patients at all stages of treatment and adapt their approach to each patient based on the patient’s needs. At a practical level, the DNC exam tests a nurse’s ability to administer and assist in the administration of various skin treatments.
Subjects Covered by the Exam
According to the Dermatology Nursing Association, the test can be split into two content areas, each with its own subset of nursing concerns. The first is by nursing practice area, and it divides the test into general dermatology, which constitutes 55 percent of the exam; surgical dermatology, which constitutes 30 percent; and phototherapy, which constitutes 15 percent. The second content area is patient problem, and it focuses on the practical aspects of diagnosis and treatment. Skin infection, tumors, dermatitis, papulosquamous disorders and photodamage are among the most commonly treated disorders of the skin; consequently, they make up the majority of the patient problem division of the test.
Suzy Kerr graduated from Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia. She completed her Master's degree in Nutrition Sciences, also at the University of Georgia. Suzy has been a successful health, fitness and nutrition writer for more than 10 years, and has been published in various print and online publications.