Working as an HIV/AIDS nurse
By MiracleWorkers 2012
In June of 1981, the first case of the disease now known as AIDS was reported in the United States. In the nearly 30 years since, HIV/AIDS has become one of the most well-known and publicized diseases in the nation. Over that period of time, it is estimated that roughly 1.7 million people in the U.S. have been infected with HIV (the virus that can lead to AIDS), including over 600,000 who have died from the disease, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
It is estimated that more than 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with the disease today, and that someone is infected with HIV every 9.5 minutes. One out of every five people living with HIV is unaware of their infection. HIV/AIDS nurses are around to help those with the disease.
What they do:
Prevention is always better than cure, and with that said, part of the job description for HIV/AIDS nurses is to educate the general public about how to prevent the spread of HIV in the first place.
HIV/AIDS nurses spend much of their time working alongside patients who have been infected with the HIV/AIDS virus. Core duties of HIV/AIDS nurses include helping individuals deal with the physical, psychological, social and spiritual concerns that arise from living with the disease. The goal is always to minimize each patient's pain, while maximizing each patient's capacity to live a normal and independent life.
Specific responsibilities of HIV/AIDS nurses include teaching patients the lifestyle and nutritional habits that can help them maintain their health and prevent the disease from progressing. HIV/AIDS nurses must also help patients understand the pharmaceutical treatments that are prescribed, as well as educating them about signs and symptoms of opportunistic infections, since HIV/AIDS weakens the immune system, allowing normally common infections to become more severe.
HIV/AIDS nurses also work with the family members and friends of those infected with the disease, providing them with education and support. Given the chronic nature of the disease, HIV/AIDS nurses must be able to cope with death.
What they need:
HIV/AIDS nurses are registered nurses, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the three common paths taken to become a registered nurse are a bachelor's degree, an associate degree, or a diploma from an approved nursing program.
To become even more equipped for the specific duties of an HIV/AIDS nurse, candidates can opt to become certified by the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board or the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care.
What they earn:
There is little information about the exact salary of HIV/AIDS nurses, but the average salary of registered nurses is $71,692, according to CBsalary.com. The 25th and 75th percentiles of salaries fall between $54,536 and $97,303, respectively.
According to the BLS, job opportunities are excellent for registered nurses. While the specific outlook for HIV/AIDS nurses is not available, one can presume it is also strong given the U.S.'s increasing demand for RNs.
Copyright 2012 MiracleWorkers