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Plastic Surgery Nurse: What They Do and How To Become One

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Plastic Surgery Nurse: What They Do and How To Become One

There are a lot of ways to specialize as a nurse. Once you received your registered nurse license, you can go into multiple different fields of medicine just like doctors specialize. One popular specialization for nurses is plastic surgery. Plastic surgery is not just cosmetic elective surgery. It also encompasses things like reconstructive surgery after cancer or traumatic injuries. Plastic surgery can also be an option for genital birth defects like cleft palate. Let’s dive deeper into the role of a Plastic Surgery Nurse and how to become one. 

What is a Plastic Surgery Nurse?

A Plastic Surgery Nurse at its most basic definition is a nurse that assists with plastic surgery procedures on the face or body. These can be invasive, like breast augmentation, or non-invasive like microdermabrasion, or even somewhere in between like fillers. Plastic surgery nurses assist in all procedures and take care of the patients before and after. 

Job Responsibilities of Plastic Surgery Nurse

Now we know what a Plastic Surgery Nurse is, but now we’ll talk about the specific job duties that you might see as a Plastic Surgery Nurse. 

Here are some typical job responsibilities of a Plastic Surgery Nurse: 

  • Review and screen patients for surgery based on medical history, lab tests, and more
  • Administer medications and treatments within scope of practice 
  • Prepare the clinic or operating rooms
  • Educate patients on expectations, recovery, and instructions
  • Monitor patients during and after procedures
  • Surgical site and wound care

How Do I Become a Plastic Surgery Nurse?

Plastic surgery nursing is not for everyone. After all, the patients you will be working with are often in a sensitive headspace. However, there is a process to becoming a Plastic Surgery Nurse if you feel it could be a good specialization for you. 


Of course, the path to becoming any type of nurse starts by receiving an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. Many facilities are beginning to prefer Bachelor’s degrees over Associate’s, so keep that in mind. Once you have completed a degree, you’ll sit for the NCLEX-RN exam which will get you your licensure. 


Assuming you already have your RN license, the next step is to get your foot in the door at a plastic surgery facility. This is because you have to have at least 2 years of plastic surgery experience before you can become a Certified Plastic Surgical Nurse

The Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board is the organization that offers the certification and in addition to the two years of experience, also requires a current RN license, and at least 1,000 practice hours. 

Having a certification in plastic surgery nursing has a few benefits including opportunities for salary increases, acknowledgment of your expertise in the field, and qualification for more jobs. 

So ultimately, you only have to have an RN license to work in plastics, though the certification can make it easier to move up the ranks and land better positions. 

Where Can A Plastic Surgery Nurse Work?

A Plastic Surgery Nurse can work anywhere plastic surgery is performed. This can include places like: 

  • Same-day surgery centers
  • Dermatology outpatient clinics
  • ENT outpatient clinics
  • Hospitals in the operating room
  • Plastics or medical spa clinics

How Much Does A Plastic Surgery Nurse Make?

Salary is something that we always want to know before we go into a specialization since we have to make sure that it will be worth it! Though salaries always depend on location, experience, education, and more, Plastic Surgery Nurses make on average about $74,000 nationally according to ZipRecruiter

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that plastic surgery nursing can be a great specialization for those interested in reconstruction and cosmetic procedures. It is a relatively easy field to get into with a reasonable salary. Consider specializing with your RN license and do something you love!


Are you thinking about becoming a Plastic Surgery Nurse? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Katelyn Johnson

Katelyn Johnson


Katelyn has a Master’s in Healthcare Administration and five years of clinical experience. She has made the shift to full-time freelance writing and enjoys covering topics on nursing careers, lifestyle, and community. Her goal is to help start a conversation and spread awareness around the many ups and downs of the healthcare field.


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