Our communities are ever-changing, and so are their healthcare needs! That's why there are so many different nursing paths available to licensed practitioners. The demand for nurses is rising exponentially — the growth of new branches in healthcare has created a vast array of niche specialties that you can fulfill.
So what are these high-demand nursing jobs? What qualifications do you need to practice in these specialties? Let's look at a few and why they might be an excellent fit for you.
Registered Nurse (RN)
Registered nurses play vital roles in providing quality healthcare to our diverse population of clients. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be approximately 400,000 new RN positions by 2026 — that's a 15% increase! RNs do so much more than provide education and care for patients. They also provide much needed emotional support to their patients and their families. You can find RNs in various settings, working with physicians and other specialists. For this position, you'll need an Associate's (ASN) or Bachelor's of Science degree in Nursing (BSN). This is a well-paying position that you should consider if you'd like to begin working after a short period of schooling.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Licensed practical nurses work with RNs and physicians to provide basic nursing care to patients. New nurses often begin their careers as LPNs to gain valuable experience before moving their career forward with an ASN or a BSN. To become an LPN, you'll need to get your diploma in Practical Nursing (DPN) and pass the NCLEX practical nursing exam.
Heart disease is a rampant issue in the US today. It remains one of the leading causes of death among American citizens. As patient populations with heart problems continue to rise, so does our demand for nurses who specialize in emergency cardiac response and heart healthcare. Cardiac nurses provide patients with advice for improving their heart health. They also assist with cardiac surgical procedures, including bypass, pacemaker surgery, or angioplasty. After receiving your ASN or BSN, and your state nursing license, your advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS) certification will be especially important.
A travel nurse is an RN that assists hospitals and other healthcare centers when they are short-staffed. As a travel nurse, you would likely fill in for nurses who are on sick or family leave. Depending on their desire to travel and the organization they work for, travel nurses might move between healthcare centers in their community, states throughout the country, or they might even be called to travel to another country to help deal with an emergency. Travel nursing is a wonderful job for anyone who wishes to help those in need while seeing the world.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
These highly trained RNs specialize in assisting with administering anesthesia during surgery and helping patients manage their pain throughout their time in medical care. CNRAs are considered some of the highest-earning RNs in the medical industry — but not without good reason. These nurses are in high demand, and they require intense training in a surgical setting to be certified. This is one of the few nursing positions on this list that requires a Master'S Degree in nursing. You should consider becoming a CRNA if you are interested in taking your nursing career to the next level.
Emergency Room Nurse
ER nurses are responsible for providing urgent care to patients who are suffering from critical emergencies. Stationed in the hospital emergency room, ER nurses work with first responders and other medical staff to stabilize their patients. This position requires fast critical thinking, strong communication, and the ability to collaborate well with others. To become an ER nurse, you must obtain the qualifications necessary for becoming an RN. Additionally, you'll need certifications in various life support forms, including ACLS, PALS, BLS, and CPR.
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
Otherwise known as advanced practice registered nurses (APRN), clinical nurse specialists coordinate direct patient care by managing other nurses and healthcare staff. Their job is to optimize the quality of care their patients receive. Clinical nurse specialists can often be found in leadership roles, and are usually tasked with keeping their nursing teams updated and well-advised. A CNS or APRN position typically requires a Master's degree, and in some cases, a doctoral degree. This specialty is perfect for those who wish to pursue a leadership role in their career.
Typically found in hospital environments, oncology nurses provide care for patients with cancer diagnoses. Oncology nurses are involved in several aspects of cancer treatment, from the initial diagnosis to symptom management, to advisory during remission. Most oncology nurses work in hospitals, but they can also be found working for home care organizations, specialty centers, and assisted living facilities. To become an oncology nurse, you'll need an ASN or BSN and an oncology certified nurse certification (OCN).
Cancer can affect people of all ages, but those over the age of 55 are most likely to be diagnosed. As the baby boomer cohort ages, oncology work will be even more vital than it is today.
Geriatric nurses specialize in the care of older patients. A geriatric nurse's goals are to maximize their patient's quality of life by providing care for ailments, illnesses, and injuries. Geriatric nurses often encounter patients with degenerative memory illnesses such as Alzheimer's or Dementia and must train to aid these individuals so that they can feel safe in their environment. Geriatric nurses most often work in assisted living facilities, though some work in their patients' homes. This position requires an ASN or BSN, as well as a certification in geriatric nursing.
Mental Health Nurse
Mental health nurses specialize in the treatment of psychological disorders in patients. In this specialty, nurses often serve as counselors to their patients, serving a vital role in their recovery. As such, a mental health nurse must obtain their RN educational requirements, as well as a Masters Degree in Psychology. This branch of nursing is perfect for those interested in tending to others' mental and emotional needs.
These are only a few of the many different nursing specialties you can head into! With a little research, you'll be sure to find a career path that works for you. Regardless of your direction in healthcare, earning the proper certifications is a necessary part of your journey. Get a head start with ProMed's easy online certifications in ACLS, PALS, BLS, and CPR.