The 6 Best Nursing Jobs

In Career Advice, Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nurse
July 12, 2016

Best Nursing Jobs

The United States is seeing a nursing shortage due to nursing school applicants being turned away due to a lack of federal funding for nursing programs. However, nursing offers some attractive options. Here’s our list of the 6 best nursing jobs.

The Affordable Care Act is creating more patients than we have professionals to care for them and we need nurses more than ever. The upside is that the demand for nurses is plentiful and there is an increase in salaries and job security for nursing careers. The outlook for nursing careers is growing faster than other medical positions and advancement opportunities abound– especially if you specialize in an area.

As the baby-boomer nurses fall into retirement, the demand for younger nurses increases. Nurses who specialize in a particular area, are often in higher demand. Couple that demand with a generalized shortage and you have specialty nurses getting the upper-hand in the job market.  In the following article, We’ve outlined the 5 best nursing jobs to consider if you think you want to become a nurse, or if you want to advance in your nursing career.

The 6 Best Nursing Jobs:

6. Diabetes Nurse

A diabetes nurse specializes in working with diabetic patients. This specialty area allows the nurse freedom to work on their own. They provide patient-education about the disease, including nutrition and fitness information, and work with endocrinologists who specialize in diabetes. The demand for diabetic nurses is expected to grow quickly, as diabetes is one of the fastest-growing diseases in the United States. If you want to become a diabetes nurse, you need to become an RN, work as a diabetes nurse, get your Master of Nursing, then complete the certification exam to become a licensed diabetes nurse.

This job is great for those who love educating people, because many go on to teach about the disease and become diabetes-awareness advocates. They play a big part in educating the community and helping to prevent Type II Diabetes, and educate about Type I. If you can communicate effectively and love working on teams, this job is for you, as you will be the communication link between physicians, patients, and family members that helps facilitate healing. This job also pays around $75,000 a year, which is a good upside.

5. Certified Nurse Midwife

This is an advanced practice specialty that requires extra education, experience, and formal certification. A certified nurse midwife (CNM) works closely alongside obstetricians and certified midwives (CM) to reduce the need for high-tech interventions and help in deliveries. They typically care for women who are considered a low-risk pregnancy. A certified nurse midwife will work with patients throughout their pregnancy, providing routine check-ups and educating patients on prenatal care. Some states allow midwives to deliver babies on their own. They continue to educate their patients and care for them and their baby postpartum.

CNMs love their jobs because they play a key role in their patients lives and build relationships with the people under their care. Many CNMs and CMs offer primary care and routine gynecological services even after women give birth. 90% of their care translates to reproductive health visits, annual exams, and peri-/post-menopausal care. They can even diagnose patients and refer them to specialists as needed. Another plus to becoming a CNM or CM is that they make about $70,000-$85,000 a year. Apart from the money, they love seeing the difference they make and being part of the birthing process.

4. Critical Care Nurse

This job is most certainly not for the faint of heart and takes a person with a high level of stress-management skills, but the payoff is substantial because you have direct involvement with saving lives. Critical Care Nurses are found in ERs and intensive care units (ICU) across the country. Most hospitals now have specialized ICUs, separating patients by their conditions, such as cardiac, neurological, medical, or burns. This gives critical care nurses a variety of possible specialty areas.

This area of nursing requires nurses to work on a team that provides the best care to the most critically ill or injured patients. A critical care nurse does not always need more formal schooling beyond their RN licensing program. Most ICU skills are learned through continuing education courses, generally established by the hospital. After training and working in a critical care unit, an RN can apply to take the critical care certification exam. It’s a super rewarding position if you want to save lives, work in a high-paced atmosphere, and make great money–they make about $100,000 per year, on average. Let’s just say critical care nurses don’t complain about having an unfulfilling job.

3. Clinical Nurse Specialist

Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) are advanced practice registered nurses who work with patients in specific area of clinical expertise. They work directly with patients diagnosing and treating them in their field of expertise. They work with nurses and other professionals to deliver the best care and can prescribe medications. If you want to become a CNS, you need to hold a master’s or doctoral degree and already be a registered nurse. You will need additional schooling and licensure before entering your own practice as a clinical nurse specialist.

Becoming a CNS is a great option because they are one of the top earners among the best nursing jobs. With a median salary of $94,000 a year, you could earn great money and have a ton of job offers to pick from, as the need for this job grows. Another plus to this nursing career is that you get more autonomy since you are a direct care provider and can prescribe medication. You will be able to shape healthcare practices and lead teams of professionals to deliver the best care to your patients— and it’s not as stressful as critical care nursing.

2. Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners come in at #2 among the best nursing jobs as they’ve become an invaluable part of family practice. If you want full autonomy and be able to have your own private practice, you should consider this route. NPs examine patients, diagnose their illnesses, and prescribe them medication. They do everything physicians do, but they are focused more on the healing aspect of medicine, whereas doctors focus on research and cures. NPs are more of the people’s caregiver and develop relationships with patients. They have a more nurturing side and educate patients on lifestyle choices and changes.

To work as a family nurse practitioner, you will need a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing, and your RN licensure. From there, you can apply to receive certification as a family nurse practitioner from the American Nurses Credentialing Center of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. You can expect more normal hours with this nursing career, because many NPs work in clinics, private practices or smaller care facilities, and college campuses. Another perk of this job is you make upwards of $100,000 a year and are in high demand as numbers of primary care physicians decrease and the demand for health care services increases. This is a great job to consider if you want to make great money, have a more normal work schedule, and want autonomy.

1. Nurse Anesthetist

Nurse anesthetists work in a wide range of practice setting, administer every type of anesthesia, and require extensive education, training, and experience. Nurse anesthetists administer the anesthesia drugs to surgical patients, help take care of their patient during surgery, and then provide the follow-up care for outpatient procedures–among other duties. To become a nurse anesthetist, you first need your RN certification, then you’ll need a master’s degree in a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) program, and at least one year’s experience in an acute care setting, such as ICU or an emergency room. Once you’ve done this, you can apply to take your certification exam.

A few great things that make nurse anesthetists the best of the best nursing jobs is that you can make upwards of $215,000 a year while saving the time difference it would take you to become an Anesthesiologist. You also will be in high-demand with this position and can basically work anywhere you want and in any practice setting you want. Nurse anesthetists can basically define their work life. Do you want a fast paced work environment? Work in the ER. Would you rather have a more relaxed setting and regular hours? Work at a dentist’s office. There is a ton of opportunity and flexibility with this job and it pays great; just make sure you’re willing to put in the education and training hours it takes.

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