The nursing field is one of the fastest-growing in the country, but specific nursing niches are expanding much more rapidly than others. Helping to identify these popular nursing careers gives soon-to-be or recent graduates an idea of the skills and knowledge most coveted by contemporary employers.
Here’s information on five popular fields:
Nurse Practitioner Careers
Nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) educated at Masters or post Masters levels and prepared for a specific role and for a specific patient population.
Through education and certification, APRNs are prepared to assess, diagnose, and manage patient problems, order tests, and prescribe medications. They work as a part of a healthcare team or independently. Others enjoy employment at academic institutions as researchers, instructors or care providers.
These individuals are registered nurses who hold specialized graduate degrees. The additional education empowers them to perform specialized tasks such as health histories and physical examinations, prescribing medicine and analyzing lab results. Health officials are widely expecting a significant shortage of nurse practitioners across the next decade. The shortage is the result of the massive number of baby boomers in need of care, as well as the impact of recent health reform.
This field of nursing is predicted to grow 34 percent by 2022, according to the US News & World Report. Nearly 40,000 new nurse practitioners will be required to meet the increase in demand. This amazing growth rate is more than two times that of the national average for all other occupations, according to data from U.S. News & World Report.
Case Management Positions
Nurse practitioners in this field work in a variety of professional spheres including insurance, behavioral health, independent practices, managed care organizations and workers' compensation, as well as hospitals and other healthcare institutions. Case managers work to facilitate and/or provide the highest possible level of care and close the many gaps in the care-giving process.
Two high-demand roles for RN case managers include discharge planner and clinical case manager. The former coordinates care for an individual patient, and makes sure he or she can transition out of the facility and receive continuing care. “Some hospitals use discharge planning only for high-risk patients, while others use it for all patients,” says careers writer Beth Greenwood in the Houston Chronicle.
An individual with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, which prepares graduates to carry additional responsibility, may more easily pick the exact area and work they want to do in nursing and health care.
Case management work is critical in the ongoing effort to increase treatment efficiency, minimize costs and most importantly, improve patient health. It’s a wide field and therefore hard to track potential growth but, heath service clinical case managers can look forward to a 23 percent growth in their field by 2022, and medical case managers for hospice care see a 20-50 percent growth in the same timeframe .
Pediatric Nursing Career
A career in pediatric nursing covers a wide range of age groups; care for infants, children and adolescents. Pediatric nurses may work in settings such as schools, physician offices, hospital clinics, sports facilities, and so on. They perform routine exams, diagnose illness, prescribe medication and provide general care to children with various acute and chronic conditions, from one-day colds to terminal cancer.
To treat children, registered nurses have to have a nursing-related bachelor’s degree or, to be a pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP), at least a master’s degree with a pediatric focus, along with a nursing undergraduate degree.
Pediatric nurse career information includes the fact that those with extensive experience in the field can earn upwards of six figures per year. According to the BLS, pediatric nurse practitioners are expected to enjoy a robust market far into the future. Available positions are estimated to grow 19 percent for registered nurses by 2022 and 34 percent for nurse practitioners in the same timeframe. All in all, around 37,100 pediatric nurse jobs will be added during this time period.
Nurse Anesthetist Career
Nurse anesthetists provide anesthesia, oversee patient recovery, monitor vital signs and generally work with anesthesiologists. A qualified nurse anesthetist has to be there to monitor patients after the administration of anesthesia and provide critical assistance throughout the recovery process.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 36,600 nurse anesthetists worked in the United States in 2014. The field is expected to grow by more than 30 percent by 2022. This growth rate is considered to be much faster than the average across all job growth rates. This remarkable growth is attributed to the impact of recently passed healthcare laws, which have brought more procedures, the aging baby boomer demographic and the enhanced emphasis on preventive care.
Nurse Educator Career
Nurse educators buck the idea behind the maxim, “Those who can’t do, teach.” By contrast, the wide variety of nurse educator roles are available to those who have proved their bona fides; enough to provide benefit to other nurses.
Nurse instructors or teachers traditionally work in academic or hospital settings. Private companies also need qualified men and women to explain what their healthcare products do. Health networks hire nurse educators to deliver consistent policies across the network, as well as develop those same policies.
For education institutions, from junior colleges to technical and trade schools, salaries range from $65,800 to $83,700. Distinct industries that pay the most for nursing educators include:
- Specialty hospitals (acute care, physical therapy and more) - $116,000
- Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals - $88,800
- State government (excluding state schools / hospitals) - $88,000
- General medical and surgical hospitals - $83,700
- Technical and trade schools - $73,400
Developing training programs, in all of the locations mentioned above, is one of the most common aspects of a nurse educator’s role.
One popular path for nurses who’ve established some experience is to create and teach their own continuing education credit classes. Knowing you’re helping so many others stay updated is fulfilling work. Nurses need these CEU classes, of course, to maintain much of their licensure. This path typically comes with a Master of Science in Nursing to better understand curricula and how the field works in multiple areas.
In the context of the nursing field, these five careers are lucrative, stable and deeply rewarding. Any person, man or woman, looking for degree and nurse career information about reliable professions with a future should give extensive consideration to these careers.