10 Fast-growing Types of Nursing Jobs

In light of the impact of COVID-19, the demand for nurses has surged. Nurses, irrespective of their specialization, play a crucial role as frontline heroes, delivering compassionate and expert one-on-one care to patients.

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Various institutions, including hospitals, schools, and telehealth platforms, are actively seeking qualified nurses. From registered nurses (RNs) to nursing managers, there is a call for new nurses to address the shortage.

If you are considering entering the field of nursing, it is vital to understand the distinctions between an RN, BSN, and MSN. Additionally, deciding whether you prefer working with children, the elderly, or in emergency rooms is crucial, as there are diverse nursing career paths. Having a clear preference for the settings you want to work in is key to shaping your educational journey.

Typically, starting with obtaining an RN license is a prudent step in your nursing education, followed by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Some individuals choose to explore nursing by becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) before advancing to become an RN. However, the defining moments in your nursing career come after these initial steps. To help you start with your desired job in mind, here are descriptions and salaries for the 10 fastest-growing types of nursing jobs.

Possible Nursing Careers

1. Pain Management Nurse

Recognized as nursing specialists in 2005, these nurses focus on providing specialized relief for acute or chronic pain. They work with patients dealing with conditions like cancer, hospice care, or chronic diseases such as diabetes. Key responsibilities include creating care plans for ailments like degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, and nerve or spinal injuries. Pain management nurses may recommend alternative treatments like acupuncture, chiropractic medicine, massage, and vitamin therapy.

Average salary for pain management nurses: $111,000 (September 2022)

2. Family Nurse Practitioner

An advanced practice registered nurse qualified to practice independently or under supervision. In many states, family nurse practitioners (FNPs) can serve as primary care providers. Earning a master’s degree in nursing, specifically an MSN FNP degree, is essential. FNPs treat a broad range of patients, differing from nurse practitioners specializing in areas like pediatrics, gerontology, or psychiatric mental health. Certification from either the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB) or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is required.

Average salary for FNPs: $113,936 per year (September 2022)

3. Clinical Nurse Specialist

Another type of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) focuses on preventing serious health conditions, especially in vulnerable populations. Working closely with healthcare teams, some CNSs can practice independently depending on state regulations. Similar to nurse practitioners, becoming a CNS involves earning a master’s degree and certification from the ANCC or AACN.

Average salary for FNPs: $113,936 per year (September 2022)

4. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Specializing in treating patients with mental health conditions, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) operate similarly to psychiatrists but with a master’s degree. They can diagnose mental health conditions, prescribe medications, and provide psychotherapy and counseling. Certification from the ANCC is required.

Average salary for a PMHNP: $140,302 (September 2022)

5. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

Those interested in administering anesthesia and specialized pain care may pursue becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). These highly trained APRNs work alongside anesthesiologists, administering anesthesia, epidurals, and other medications for sedation and pain relief before and after procedures.

Average salary for a CRNA: $149,145 (September 2022)

6. Infection Control Nurse

Registered nurses specializing in infection control analyze infection data, treat infectious diseases, develop outbreak plans, and educate healthcare professionals. While not required to have a master’s degree, those aiming to enhance their earning potential may pursue an MSN. Certification is necessary for infection control nurses. Learn more here.

Average salary for an infection control nurse: $84,582 per year (September 2022)

7. Certified Nurse Midwife

Specializing in assisting women through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, certified nurse midwives work in both traditional healthcare settings and home health environments. Specific certifications accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) or the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) are required. There are specific approved midwifery education master’s programs if you want to become a midwife.

Average salary for a certified nurse midwife: $111,130 (September 2022)

What Can You Do with a Health and Human Services Degree?

8. Oncology Nurse

Primarily working with cancer patients, oncology nurses monitor patients’ conditions, prescribe medications, and offer treatment options. They can work in hospitals and clinical settings, advocating for patients and collaborating with the care team. Becoming at least an RN is a requirement, with holding a BSN often preferred. The Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation has specific details.

Average salary for an oncology nurse: $74,090 (September 2022)

9. Interventional Radiology Nurse

The responsibilities of an interventional radiology nurse include performing ultrasounds, MRIs, CT scans, and minimally-invasive image-guided surgeries. While not officially recognized as APRNs, these nurses have the option to become certified through the Radiologic Nursing Certification Board (RNCB) to showcase their expertise to peers and employers. To pursue a career as an interventional radiology nurse, having at least an RN degree is a prerequisite, with a BSN being highly recommended. Essential requirements include experience in radiology, proficiency in using equipment, and the ability to perform basic procedures.

Average salary for an interventional radiology nurse: $98,623 (September 2022)

10. Rehabilitation Nurse

Rehabilitation nurses play a crucial role in assisting patients recovering from health events that led to a loss of certain abilities. These nurses often work closely with individuals who have experienced a stroke, heart attack, or spinal cord injury, necessitating rehabilitation. Collaborating with occupational therapists is common for rehabilitation nurses as part of the care team. Rehabilitation centers typically cater to elderly patients recovering from falls or other health issues. RNs aspiring to become rehabilitation nurses can obtain certification from the CRRN.

Average salary for a rehabilitation nurse: $65,470 (September 2022)

Benefits of a Nursing Career

The nursing field offers inspiration and a wide range of unique and specialized job opportunities with favorable salaries and flexible work scheduling options. Whether one finds fulfillment in caring for older patients or assisting children with cancer, there’s a nursing specialization that aligns with individual interests. While some roles require a master’s degree, others are suitable for RNs or BSNs.

Few careers are as inspiring as nursing. Nurses, through providing specialized one-on-one care, have the potential to make a life-changing impact on patients and their families. The personal concern and compassion displayed by nurses leave a lasting impression on each person they care for.

Continuous Learning:
Healthcare is dynamic, with new viruses and medical technologies emerging. Nurses, on the front lines, are constantly learning to follow the latest health and safety protocols and adhere to HIPAA regulations. Learning on the job while managing a heavy patient load is a common aspect of nursing.

High Demand Profession:
The demand for nurses is widespread, with the pandemic leading to a surge in demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an additional 300,000 nursing jobs from 2019 to 2029. Sickness being an inevitable part of life ensures a constant need for nurses.

Wide Range of Specialties:
As highlighted in this discussion, there are numerous APRN specialties, catering to niche areas such as psychiatric care and family medicine. Even for RNs, there is the option to choose a preferred area of work. For example, those with a passion for working with infants may opt for neonatal nursing.

Flexible Schedule:
Nursing schedules are diverse and vary based on the nursing specialty. For instance, an ER nurse may work night shifts, while a family nurse practitioner in private practice may follow a typical nine-to-five, Monday through Friday schedule. Nursing offers varied schedule options, making it an attractive career choice.

Required Skills for Successful Nurses

What distinguishes a good nurse? Basic skills like CPR, taking vital signs, and recording patient information on charts are common across all nurses. Specialized skills are honed by each nurse in their specific area of expertise. However, certain fundamental skills are essential for all nurses.

Patient Care:
Providing quality patient care is the primary responsibility of a nurse. Effectiveness in providing patient care, which includes being prompt, courteous, competent, and professional, is a key evaluation criterion for nurses. Patient satisfaction is closely tied to the attentiveness of the nurse to specific patient needs.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR):
CPR, a fundamental skill for nurses, can be lifesaving. In situations where a patient is unresponsive, CPR is one of the initial measures taken. Correct execution of CPR is crucial for its effectiveness.

Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS):
ACLS is an advanced protocol for life-threatening conditions, particularly for patients or accident victims experiencing cardiac arrest. Nurses practicing ACLS need specialized training and certification.

Effective Communication:
Clear communication is paramount in nursing, given the close collaboration with both physicians and patients. Nurses must convey information clearly and kindly. In emergency situations, concise, clear, and effective communication is essential.

Attention to Detail:
Meticulous attention to detail is a defining characteristic of nurses, especially when dealing with infection and life-threatening conditions. Every detail matters, and nurses must be meticulous in sanitation, adherence to protocols, and maintaining accurate charts.

Change is a constant in healthcare, and nurses must adapt to evolving situations. Whether colleagues are unavailable due to illness or new challenges arise with emerging viruses, nurses must manage stress and quickly shift gears to handle the workload.

Commitment to Constant Learning:
Nurses should continuously seek to enhance their knowledge of the latest developments and technologies in healthcare. This commitment to learning contributes to improved patient care, and nurses who consistently learn often make significant differences in patients’ lives.

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