Explore specialties

There are almost 3,000,000 registered nurses in the United States. It is one of the fastest growing industries in the Nation, with demand for nurses being so high that the career field is actually facing a shortage of employees. However, even with the need for more nurses to join the medical field, it’s a highly appealing field of study for students entering college, due in part to the availability of jobs across the country. The field of “Nursing” is more of a general title. There are many different sub-fields for practicing nurses to choose from. While some may take more education and offer a higher grade of pay, some may be ideal for those with busy schedules. Whichever field a hopeful nurse decides to take, one thing is for sure; the availability of jobs will never waiver, and the annual salary is impressive even at an entry level.

Specialty Nursing offers a wide variety of these “sub-field” certificates to practitioners who excel in one particular area of the medical field. Becoming a certified specialty nurse takes time, practice, dedication, and extensive knowledge and experience, but it is a worthwhile goal many driven nurses work towards. To be deemed a specialty nurse means you have gone above and beyond in your line of work. You will be considered an expert in the field, and sought after for advice and assistance by fledglings of the medical field. You will have the ability to be a doctors go-to nurse, working side by side with some of the most prestigious physicians in the field.

Alongside the endless job openings, high esteem, and excitement that is enjoyed by Specialty Nurses, they also enjoy a substantial pay difference in comparison to regular practicing nurses. People who decide to go into a specialty field can earn a salary of over $20,000.00 more every year than the average nurses salary.

There are a variety of specialty nursing jobs to choose from to capture the interest of any nurse looking to expand on their career and knowledge. There are over a hundred fields available, with options ranging from surgical, clinical, women’s health, and even emergency; all providing excitement and new opportunities every day.

Nursing Specialties in Demand

Nursing is an enormous career field with a ton of opportunities in various specialties. No matter what your interest, there is a field out there that will allow you to make the most of your innate talents and help you achieve your career goals. Switching to new nursing roles is standard and allows you to try out various fields. However, as the area of nursing grows and changes, some specialties are higher in demand than others. A small handful of these includes palliative care, nurse practitioner, perioperative care, dialysis, neonatal, ICU, and telemetry.

Dialysis Nursing

According to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, dialysis centers have grown by at least four percent every year for the last decade. As the baby boomer population grows and the number of elderly suffering from renal failure skyrockets, kidney dialysis is becoming ever more critical to maintaining a high quality of life in our senior citizens. This is one field that shows no signs of slowing down and dialysis nurses are needed in nearly every part of the country. The greatest demand is for both chronic and acute dialysis nurses with peritoneal dialysis skills. An upside to being a dialysis nurse is that you are literally in demand everywhere, including cruise ships where older populations prefer to go on vacation. With this specialty, you are almost guaranteed to find a job in an area of your choosing.

Intensive Care Unit Nursing

ICU nursing can be a tough position should you choose to pursue a career there. Demand remains consistently high over the years, and the field is competitive, but high acuity and critical care nurses are in high demand and finding a position isn’t as difficult as in other areas. The demand is so high because hospitals are steering away from holding patients who are not critically ill for extended periods of time. Those who remain in the hospital for an extended stay are those who need special care that only an ICU nurse can provide. The unique set of skills available to an ICU nurse give them an advantage and offer them the ability to move around to other fields as they see fit. While ICU work can be tough, it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences nursing has to offer. Patients need caring staff to help them through some of the most difficult times in their lives, and ICU nurses are the ones to fill that role.

Neonatal Nursing

While neonatal nursing is always in high demand, location can be a substantial factor in determining salary, especially for travel nurses. California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts tend to be the highest where the salary is concerned, though other states are right up there, as well. NICU nursing can be a tough field both physically and emotionally, like many others, but it is rewarding in its right. Nurses who specialize in neonatal can easily find a job if they are willing to relocate a bit. Traveling NICU nurses are in even higher demand and can typically choose assignments if they come with good recommendations and experience working in level 2 and level 3 NICUs.

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse Practitioners are needed as much, or more, as almost any other field. There is a shortage of primary care physicians, and nurse practitioners can fill this role in many situations. The ability to perform similar tasks to a doctor puts them in a unique and highly sought after position. From patient treatments to the prescription of medications, nurse practitioners are essential in keeping doctor offices and hospitals operating smoothly and efficiently. As businesses everywhere continue to cut costs, nurse practitioners are becoming an increasingly important part of the medical industry. This is one field that won’t be seeing a decline in demand anytime soon.

Palliative Care Nursing

Like dialysis nursing, as the population continues to age, palliative care nursing is becoming critical. Palliative care is crucial end-of-life care that allows patients to live out their lives in comfort, whether it be in a nursing home or at home with their loved ones. Travel palliative care nurses are sought after and in greater demand than ever before because they allow the patient to maintain some sense of individuality while at the end of their hopefully long life. The nurse helps relieve their pain, other symptoms, and stress to improve their quality of life. Much of this can be handled in the patient’s home where they prefer to be. This helps minimize hospital stays and cut down on healthcare costs.

Perioperative Care Nursing

Perioperative and operating room nurses are another field that is in high demand. In 2013, the average age of a perioperative nurse was 53 according to the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN). This leaves the field wide open for younger, ambitious nurses who are looking to make it a lifelong career. In addition to operating room procedures, many physician offices are now performing minor surgeries in-house and are looking to perioperative nurses to assist and fill the role normally required for a hospital visit.

Telemetry Nursing

Telemetry experience is almost a necessity in this day and age. Without experience in telemetry nursing, it will be tough to find a position. Telemetry nurses that can travel are in extra high demand. A telemetry nurse is responsible for not only hooking up a patient to the machines that track heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, blood oxygen levels, and more, but they also must be able to interpret that data and develop a care plan for the patient based on the information they receive. Telemetry experience gives you the ability to float between fields and provide useful skills no matter where you go.

Nursing is an amazingly rewarding career with numerous opportunities to expand your skills and provide care to a wide variety of patients. The vast number of specialties available in the nursing field offer something for everyone and the reward of helping patients improve their lives is greater than almost any other career can provide.

Other sources: Modern Medicine Network