Nursing in the US is in high demand, and demand expected to grow rapidly over the coming years. Due in part to an aging population, severe nursing shortages, and the growing need for health services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nursing field is experiencing an unprecedented level of growth. This means that now is a good time to consider a career in nursing and to begin acquiring the right level of education and training.
Below we explore the top nursing specialties in 2020 and what kind of training is required for each.
1. Neonatal nurse
A neonatal nurse specializes in working with newborn babies and their parents during delivery and in the first few days of recovery. This involves assistance with feeding, holding, and bathing, and these nurses often act as a bridge between the parent(s) and other medical specialists. Neonatal nurses typically work on labor hospital wards or clinics, but they can also operate in community settings or provide at-home care for new parents. Others work in neonatal intensive care units for babies who are ill or born prematurely and require additional care.
Neonatal nurses can take home salaries of around $61,000 per year. To work as neonatal nurse, you will first have to become a licensed Registered Nurse (RN). If you want to advance further and become a neonatal nurse practitioner with more professional responsibilities, you must be a clinical nurse specialist or an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). Neonatal nursing also requires excellent observational skills to spot subtle abnormalities in behavior, so it’s important to consider whether you have excellent intuitive skills and strong attention to detail.
2. Anesthetist nurse
Anesthetist nurses administer anesthesia to patients during diagnostic, surgical, and obstetric procedures. These types of nurses work alongside other teams of specialists and conduct patient evaluations to decide the best type and amount of anesthesia to use. Anesthetist nurses are therefore highly specialized, earning average salaries between $115,000-$140,000 per year. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment outlook is expected to grow by a whopping 45% in the next 10 years.
Qualifying as an anesthetist nurse takes seven years of study. You will need a minimum of a master’s degree in nurse anesthesia, which also includes obtaining a Bachelor of Nursing degree, registered nurse certification, and one year of acute care experience.
3. Orthopedic nurse practitioner
Orthopedic nurse practitioners primarily assist people with musculoskeletal problems or injuries. Based primarily in doctor’s offices or in clinic settings, orthopedic NPs are responsible for ordering tests, treatments, and procedures for patients. They can often assist with orthopedic surgeries, help set broken bones, and perform joint injections or set casts. These nurses are also responsible for tracking the treatment and follow-up care of patients while collaborating with other doctors and medical specialists.
To train as an orthopedic nurse, you will need a master’s degree and at least three years’ experience of being a registered nurse (RN). Once trained, orthopedic nurses can take home salaries of roughly $100,000 per year.
4. Clinical nurse
Clinical nurses are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with many specialties. They are experts in evidence-based nursing practice and often work in clinical environments to ensure all nurses adhere to best practices. They are also responsible for assessing, diagnosing, and treating patient illnesses while working to improve the quality of healthcare system from within. These nurses are highly specialized and play a vital role in devising new ways to deliver high-quality healthcare. Some of the clinical areas that these nurses specialize include:
- Pediatrics/women’s health
- Pain management
- Critical Care
Clinical nurse training first involves obtaining a BSN, followed by a master’s degree and practice in their preferred area of specialty. Average salaries for clinical nurses are around $80,000 per year.
5. Psychiatric nurse practitioner
With mental health issues on the rise, this type of nursing is in high demand. Psychiatric nurse practitioners, also known as Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), work in areas of mental and emotional health and often earn around $115,000 per year.
These advanced practitioner nurses assist patients and their families with a full range of psychiatric services that include diagnosing and assessing mental health, prescribing medications, and determining the best plan of care for their patients. As well as their role in diagnostic care and treatment, psychiatric nurses also educate families and communities about mental health, sometimes playing a key role in policy development and health care reform.
To become a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you will need to train in medical and therapeutic treatment. This requires obtaining a registered nursing licensing, a BSN, as well as further education into master’s level study in a chosen specialism. Some positions also require accredited certifications, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and Psychiatric–Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Board Certification (PMHNP-BC).
6. Nurse educator
Nurse educators have a broad role, often teaching and training other up-and-coming nurses using their academic and clinical experience. These types of nurses are instrumental in setting curriculum standards, empowering new nurses to thrive in their profession, while helping to improve the health system for nurses overall.
On a wider scale, nurse educators are responsible for ensuring that nurses have up-to-date and accurate information to carry out and deliver the best care possible across a variety of sectors. Therefore, many nurse educators have a blended role as practitioners and teachers and can be found teaching in universities or colleges, as well as hospital-based training programs. Due to the increasing demand for nurses in the US, nurse educators will be necessary to improve and enhance training systems and curriculums going forward.
Training to become a nurse educator requires a combination of adequate training. You will also likely need a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), especially if you aim to teach in colleges or universities. If you’re keen to get started, there are accelerated post baccalaureate nursing programs that will enable you to obtain a BSN in a reduced amount of time. After that, you will need to look into specializations and other professional certifications that are required for the role. Once qualified, you can expect to earn roughly $75,000-plus per year.
7. Nurse practitioner
Nurse practitioners are autonomous clinicians who can prescribe medication and are responsible for managing patient care. NPs typically specialize in demographic areas such as pediatrics, gerontology and women’s health. They also tend to focus on sub-specialties such as:
- Allergy and immunology
- Occupational health
- Sports medicine
- Cardiovascular Health
Due to their specialisms, NPs primary role is to provide high-quality care, and this is done by diagnosing and treating illnesses, as well as performing physical evaluations and diagnostic tests. These nurses also play a wider role in continuing education as they are expected to be updated on the latest technological and methodological developments, as well as serving as mentors, counselors, researchers, and consultants. The level of responsibility assumed by NPs means that their average salary is over $100,000 per year.
Becoming an NP requires a minimum of a master’s degree in a chosen specialty as well as obtaining state licensure and prescription writing rights. However, in recent years, a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (DNP) is the recommended standard for this role.
8. Pain management nurse
Pain management nurses play an important role in assisting patients who suffer from chronic or acute pain. They are essential in ensuring that patients receive the right types of medication to reduce their pain, but without putting their health at risk. Also, due to the increasing opioid use in the States, these nurses are needed to ensure that the right levels of medication are administered. Therefore, another role of a pain management nurse is to educate patients on how to cope with pain and how to take their medication sensibly.
To qualify as a pain management nurse, you will need to obtain your BSN as well as earn a Pain Management Certification. To get this certification, you will also be required to have worked a minimum of two years as a registered nurse and practiced 2,000 hours of pain management care.
9. Trauma nurse
Trauma nurses specialize in helping patients who suffer from acute injury or illness, typically working on trauma wards in hospitals. These specialty nurses are trained to work with people of all ages and backgrounds, dealing with any number of cases such as stab wounds, vehicle accidents, assaults, gunshot wounds, head injuries, abuse/neglect cases, or sudden illness. This involves an array of treatments such as first aid or CPR, wound care, administering IV fluids, as well as providing resources and reassurance to family.
Trauma nurses must therefore deal with unpredictable and often distressing situations, which means they always need to remain calm. They also need to be able to think on their feet, communicate effectively, and adapt to continuously changing circumstances.
To train to become a trauma nurse, you will need to obtain a combination of the following:
- BSN degree
- RN license
- Master’s degree
- Prescription license
- Advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) certification
- Other certifications as dictated by the hospital or clinic
Trauma nurses can earn upwards of $61,000-$90,000 per year and can work in emergency rooms, intensive care units, ambulance transports, and trauma units.
Article Submitted By Community Writer