There are nearly three million people employed in the U.S. alone as nursing professionals according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This number makes the nursing profession the absolute largest employment segment within the constantly growing healthcare industry. However, not all nurses are “created” the same. There are many different types of nurses that make up this attractive profession. The casual nursing employment seeker may overlook the career information that could act as a valuable guide allowing an individual to make an informed choice when examining all the nursing careers available.
Is Job Security and Compensation Important?
Regardless the type of nurse an individual chooses to become, the good news is that employment opportunities continue to outpace qualified applicants, thus creating a shortage that compels a great deal of recruitment competition. In turn, employers offer excellent hiring packages including a variety of benefits as well as incredibly excellent salaries. Additionally, a need exists for highly specialized nurses where these positions become the best paid within the industry. The top three nursing positions are considered to be advanced roles in healthcare that demand the applicant has advanced education of the graduate school level as well as a good deal of clinical experience. Also, management and supervisory skills are highly sought after for nurses filling these specialized roles. Nurses filling these positions will need to have obtained a minimum of a master’s level degree as well as a good deal of education in the chosen specialized field of practice. These top three nursing specialties are:
- A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) typically receives more than $100,000 per year in salary making this one of the highest paid positions within the nursing profession. A Licensed Registered Nurse (RN) possessing a bachelor’s degree can enter a graduate program leading to becoming a CRNA. This is a position where the nursing professional works as an extension of the anesthesiologist (an MD) performing the duties necessary for successful delivery of anesthesia during surgical procedures. This is an excellent career choice for nurses possessing an interest in surgery that have great technical skills. This position requires far less patient interaction than other nursing specialties since skills used are performed in a setting where the main function is to keep a patient “unconscious” during a surgical procedure. Check out additional information about becoming a CRNA.
- A Nurse Practitioner
A nurse practitioner (NP) is a mid-level healthcare professional charged with the delivery of patient care while supervised by a licensed physician. An NP receives training and education qualifying then to conduct patient exams as well as execute certain minor procedures, treatments and tests. The scope of an NP’s practice abilities will vary from one state to another. In many states, an NP must practice under the strict supervision and physical observation of a licensed doctor that must sign off on this activity. Yet, in other states an NP can practice independently from the supervising physician, in effect becoming the primary care deliverer as well as licensed to prescribe and administer medications. Since there is a great shortage of licensed, qualified doctors throughout the country, often an NP becomes the only primary care deliverer in such critically pre-disposed areas like inner urban centers or remote rural settings. Additionally, as the shortage of doctors continues to grow, the opportunity for qualified NPs does likewise. This may be an excellent career choice for individuals that can provide a salary even more than what a CRNA now makes. This is also a great career choice for medical professionals in the nursing profession that wish to build long-term patient care relationships with people seeking recurring healthcare. Check out additional information about becoming a Nurse Practitioner.
- A Clinical Nurse Specialist
This is an advanced nursing position where the individual conducts nursing duties while also assisting in some selected specialized area of research, advocacy, education, management and possible patient advocacy. A CNS is a Registered Nurse holding a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) while also completing additional educational requirements to obtain certification in a selected area of specialized expertise. As the name indicates, a Clinical Nurse Specialist has received training and education in a specific area of medical practice. An example could be am=n Oncology CNS that participates conducting clinical trials, oversees educational and information meetings with cancer patients and families as well as conferring with other oncology medical personnel. An oncology CNS might also participate developing protocols or methodologies used in an oncology department of a hospital or other medical facility. Average salaries for a CNS range in the $70,000 to $80,000 area. Pay does vary depending upon subspecialties as well as the actual scope of practice and can be as high as $100,000. Check out additional information for becoming a Clinical Nurse Specialist.