Neuroscience Nursing

Neuroscience Nursing, a highly sophisticated and challenging specialty of nursing, demands equally high-skills and a sophisticated knowledge base in order to provide nursing care to patients that can affect recovery and management of neurological conditions. Specialties Neurological Article


Neuroscience Nursing


Skilled and dedicated nurses, helping patients using their knowledge and skills of Neuroscience Nursing, make an important difference to vulnerable patients of all ages who have neurological disorders. In the highly-specialized area of Neuroscience Nursing, nurses from Registered Nurses (RN) to Advanced Practice Nurses (APRN) care for patients with a host of issues:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBA)
  • Cerebrovascular Accidents (CVA)
  • Disorders of the brain and spinal cord
  • Neurovascular disease
  • Tumors
  • Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders
  • Alzheimer's
  • Chronic pain
  • Epilepsy
  • Migraine pain control
  • Seizure disorders

The Neuroscience RN may provide direct patient care to critically ill patients in a hospital setting, using sophisticated monitoring technologies and highly developed assessment skills and knowledge. Nurses will collaborate with other disciplines to organize, oversee, and provide holistic care for patients with various acute or chronic neurological conditions.

RNs may participate in research areas and/or long-term or rehabilitation care areas. Some go on to become APRNs as Nurse Practitioners (NP) or Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) and others as Unit Educators. Excellent communication, assessment, and clinical skills, patience, and a commitment to remain current with advances in Neuroscience Nursing are just a few hallmarks of a Neuroscience Nurse.

Practice Setting

The Neuroscience RN practices in a variety of settings:

  • Acute or long-term inpatient
  • Clinic or office following patients with chronic neurological conditions
  • Surgery (OR), assisting with complex neurosurgeries
  • Neurointerventional Radiology, assisting with procedures
  • Participate in research studies
    • spearhead changes in evidence-based practice
    • screen patients for participation in clinical research studies
    • provide patient information and education about clinical research studies

Neurology Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Nurse Specialists can work closely with neurologists as mid-level providers following patients in inpatient and outpatient settings and serve as a resource for direct patient care nurses. They will perform patient assessments and can organize conferences and Neuroscience presentations.

Possessing a strong clinical background, they will see patients in an inpatient setting and often follow them as well, as patients progress, in an outpatient clinical setting.


  • Graduate from accredited RN nursing program
  • Successfully pass NCLEX RN
  • Current, unencumbered RN license in the state of practice

To gain experience, Nurses can obtain employment in an acute care unit (either ICU or stepdown) or a long-term care area.

APRNs, after a 12-month Neurosciences Fellowship, may become a Neurology NP or CNS, acting as mid-level providers.


The American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (AANN) is a professional, non-profit organization for the Neuroscience Nurse and is committed to "working for the highest standard of care for neuroscience patients by advancing the science and practice of neuroscience nursing". This association offers certification as a Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse or Stroke Certified Registered Nurse. The Journal of Neuroscience Nursing is the official journal of the AANN.

The World Federation of Neuroscience Nurses (WFNN) is an international neuroscience nursing organization "dedicated to the promotion and development of neuroscience nursing worldwide".


AANN - Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse (CNRN®)

Eligibility (not all-inclusive)

  • Current, active, unencumbered RN license in the U.S., Canada, a U.S. territory that grants licensure utilizing the U.S. State Board Test Pool Examination or National Council for Licensure Examination (NCLEX).
  • 1 year full-time direct or indirect neuroscience nursing practice (I.e., 2,080 hours) as an RN in the past 3 years at the time of application

AANN - Stroke Certified Registered Nurse (SCRN®)

Eligibility (not all-inclusive)

  • Current, active, unencumbered RN license in the U.S., Canada, a U.S. territory that grants licensure utilizing the U.S. State Board Test Pool Examination or National Council for Licensure Examination (NCLEX).
  • RN engaged in aspects of stroke care, including but not limited to stroke nursing clinical practice, or employed as an administrator, consultant, educator, or researcher.
  • Minimum of at least one (1) year full-time (2,080 hours) of direct or indirect stroke nursing experience within the last three (3) years.

Salary (2020)

Salaries vary by location and education level.

According to Zip Recruiter, the average annual pay for a Neuroscience Nurse in the U.S. is $68,555 per year. Annual salaries are as high as $135,500 and range between $50,500 (25th percentile) to $82,000 (75th percentile) across the U.S.

According to, the average Nurse Practitioner-Neurology salary in the U.S. is $110,667; salary ranges typically fall between $101,702 and $119,066.

(Editorial Team / Admin)

CA girl, born in Hawaii, raised in Northern CA, live in So. Cal last 35 yr.

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Specializes in Neurology, Med/Surg, Orthopedic, Telemet.

I am an RN and have been working on a Neurology unit for close to 18 years. It does take a lot of patience, more on some days than others. It's can definitely be a very sad specialty to work in, seeing young adults in there early 20s being admitted for a stroke or one of many neurological diseases. It can also be rewarding to have a patient that has very little residual from a stroke they had or the surgeon was able to remove the entire brain tumor, or the patient that has a full recovery from a neurological chance mentation, etiology unknown. I think Neurology is very interesting, even after 18 years:)