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Nursing is one of the fastest-growing fields within the healthcare sector, with the demand for nurses increasing year on year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for nurses is set to rise by over 9% in the US by 2029. This figure increases to a staggering 45% for nurse practitioners. In this guide, we’ll explore nursing jobs in need, identifying different roles that are set to become more sought-after in the next decade.
Nursing has evolved over the course of time, and new trends in nursing and healthcare have paved the way for specialty roles and areas of interest. While the demand for most nursing jobs is set to rise in the next ten years, there are certain fields within nursing that are growing at a particularly rapid rate. Here are ten nursing jobs that will be in high demand in the future:
Registered nurses account for the largest proportion of nurses but figures suggest that demand is increasing faster than new nurses are finishing their training, raising concerns about a shortage of nurses in the future. Statistics from the BLS suggest that the need for registered nurses will grow by 12% by 2028.
Registered nurses have a diverse range of roles and responsibilities, and they can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, community clinics, physician offices, schools and educational facilities and residential care facilities. A typical day in the life of a registered nurse may include everything from administering treatments and updating and reviewing patient records to carrying out and recording observations and providing advice and support to patients.
To train as a registered nurse, individuals must complete either a Professional Nursing Associate’s Degree (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (BSN).
Neonatal nurses work in specialist departments, which care for newborn babies. Neonatal departments may also be referred to as NICU or Neonatal Intensive Care Units. Babies, particularly those who are born prematurely, can experience or develop issues that affect their development and their ability to breathe and function. Neonatal nurses provide a vital service, caring for babies who require additional help and treatment in the early days of their lives.
Figures indicate that the field of neonatal nursing is expected to grow by over 20% by 2022, with more roles becoming available, and the demand for nurses with advanced skills in neonatal nursing soaring.
Neonatal intensive care nurses require the same qualifications and training as registered nurses, but they must also have a Registered Nurse Certified in Neonatal Intensive Care certification.
A day in the life of a neonatal nurse involves observing and treating newborn and premature babies, administering medication, utilizing advanced technology and equipment to improve treatment outcomes and liaising with family members to keep them updated and provide advice and support.
At-home care nurses, also known as home health nurses, are increasingly sought-after due to the aging population and a preference among older people and those with underlying health conditions to stay at home for as long as possible. Many seniors and people who have disabilities or chronic health conditions want to remain in their own homes and maintain a degree of independence. Home health nurses provide care for clients in their home, enabling them to receive the assistance, support and treatment they need without relocating.
At-home care nurses take on a diverse range of tasks and responsibilities, depending on the needs of the individual client and their care plan. Some clients will require medical treatment, physical assessments and wound care while others may need assistance with everyday tasks, such as washing and cleaning and getting up and about.
The US population is aging, and the demand for home health services is increasing as a result. Statista reports that the percentage of Americans over 65 years old is set to increase from 16.5% in 2019 to 22% by 2050. This is a significant rise from 1950 when just 8% of the population was aged over 65.
Nurse practitioner (NP) posts are among the most in-demand nursing jobs. The BLS predicts an employment rate increase of 45% between 2019 and 2029. Nurse practitioners are nurses with advanced training who are capable of running clinics and providing treatment without being under the supervision of physicians. NPs also work within care teams comprising doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals, including physical and occupational therapists, regularly.
Nurse practitioners can specialize in a diverse range of fields, including oncology (cancer care), psychiatry and mental health and neonatal nursing.
One of the main reasons why nurse practitioners are in such high demand is a shortage of doctors across the US. As highly-trained healthcare professionals, nurse practitioners can step in to complete tasks and fill gaps, which would usually be occupied by junior doctors. A study conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges warns of a shortage of between 54,000 and 133,000 doctors by 2033.
To qualify as a nurse practitioner, nurses must have a Master’s Degree or alternative training qualifications, which usually take 2-3 years to complete.
Certified dialysis nurses work with patients who experience kidney failure and conditions that prevent healthy kidney function. Dialysis is used to act as a substitute for the kidneys when the kidneys are unable to filter out and remove waste products.
In many cases, patients who suffer from kidney failure are required to attend hospitals, clinics and care settings that provide dialysis facilities frequently. Dialysis nurses are responsible for overseeing the dialysis process. Certified dialysis nurses may also be known as nephrology nurses.
Being a dialysis nurse can offer benefits that other nursing jobs do not, including regular hours. There’s also a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction related to providing patients with treatments that save lives and enhance the quality of life. In addition, dialysis nurses often have the opportunity to build strong and long-lasting relationships with their patients because individuals often have to visit regularly.
To work as a certified dialysis nurse, nurses must have a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing and complete training programs and courses focused on dialysis and caring for patients with kidney failure.
According to figures from the BLS, this field of nursing is set to grow by over 20% by 2022.
Residential care and nursing home nurses usually provide care for older people who are no longer able to live at home due to deteriorating health, aging or underlying conditions. Residential and nursing homes provide round-the-clock assistance for residents, enabling them to access support and help with everyday tasks as well as medical treatment. These care facilities provide a diverse range of therapies, treatments and services for residents at the same time as ensuring they have company and encouraging socialization and facilitating greater independence.
Nurses who work in residential care facilities and nursing homes take on a wide range of roles and responsibilities, including administering medication, assisting with tasks such as washing, dressing and getting around safely, and providing treatment for patients with long-term health conditions.
The range of care facilities for seniors and those with chronic illnesses is expanding and diversifying all the time, and nurses may work in settings that provide everything from advanced, specialist dementia care to assistance with hygiene and personal care.
As the US population is aging at a relatively fast pace, the demand for nurses in nursing homes and facilities that provide care for those over 65 is set to increase in the next decade.
Psychiatric nurse practitioners provide care, therapies and advice for individuals who have mental health conditions and disorders that affect behavior. As statistics indicate that mental disorders are becoming more common and the number of patients receiving treatment for psychological disorders increases, the demand for psychiatric nurse practitioners is set to grow significantly in the next decade.
Mental Health America’s 2021 report suggests that the incidence of mental illness is increasing among adults and adolescents. The impact of Covid-19 is likely to contribute to more people seeking help for mental health conditions, according to the report. The study also highlights the shortage of mental health services, with 23.6% of adults with a mental illness reporting an unmet need for assistance in 2017/2018.
Psychiatric nurse practitioners can choose to specialize in treating specific age groups, for example, older people, children and teenagers, or individuals trying to overcome substance abuse. Their work is varied, and often, no two days are the same. Primary roles include administering and prescribing medication, providing therapy, educating family members and close friends about mental disorders, observing and recording behavioral changes and collaborating with other healthcare professionals.
To work as a psychiatric nurse practitioner, nurses must have a Graduate Nursing Degree in addition to a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certification. Psychiatric nurses work in a broad spectrum of settings, including hospitals, mental health clinics and facilities, rehabilitation centers, correctional institutions, schools and colleges and community healthcare facilities.
Pediatric nurses provide care for children. Often working in hospitals, private clinics, schools and community care facilities, pediatric nurses play a crucial role in administering treatment for children and providing advice and information for their parents or carers.
To qualify to be a pediatric nurse, nurses must have either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree in addition to a Certified Pediatric Nurse qualification (CPN).
Undergoing treatment and coping with diagnoses can be incredibly difficult and distressing for children, teens and their families. As well as administering treatments and medication, observing patients and reviewing and updating medical records, pediatric nurses provide vital emotional support for patients and their loved ones. Nurses can often play an integral role in helping parents to understand what a diagnosis means and how they can prepare for the future and care for their child at home, and they also build special relationships with the children they care for. Being a pediatric nurse is never easy but it can be hugely rewarding.
Specializing in the care of the elderly, gerontological nurses have never been more sought-after. Sometimes known as geriatric nurses, gerontological nurses work in a wide range of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes and aged care facilities, residential homes and private practices.
Aging elevates the risk of chronic health conditions, injuries and accidents, and underlying illnesses that can cause progressive deterioration. Nurses who care for older people may carry out a broad spectrum of tasks from helping with everyday jobs like getting dressed or bathing to providing specialist care for dementia or heart failure. In hospitals, nurses are responsible for observing patients, administering medication, ordering diagnostic tests, such as blood tests and scans, and working with other healthcare professionals to draw up personalized treatment plans.
To be a gerontological nurse, it’s hugely beneficial to be patient, understanding, compassionate and to have a passion for working with seniors and building relationships. For some people, the nursing and care team is the only interaction they enjoy and having nurses that brighten the day can make all the difference.
To work as a gerontological nurse, nurses usually have to have a Master’s Degree.
One of the primary reasons gerontological nurses are in demand is the aging population in the US. Statista figures show that the population of over 65s has risen from 8% in 1950 to 16.5% in 2019.
Oncology nurses specialize in treating and caring for patients who have been diagnosed with cancer. Cancer is one of the most common causes of death in the US. The National Cancer Institute estimates that around 606,000 lives were lost to cancer in 2020, with over 1.8 million new cases diagnosed.
Despite the prevalence of cancer, statistics show that death rates are dropping due to advances in technology, research, and new treatments and therapies. Oncology nurses play a critical role in supporting patients and their loved ones through the challenges and difficulties of coping with a diagnosis and undergoing treatment. Cancer therapies often cause significant side effects, and the process of having chemotherapy and radiation therapy can be grueling. Nurses are there to support, advise and help patients and their families to navigate the process, as well as to monitor progress, observe patients and administer treatment.
The demand for oncology nurses is growing due to the increased prevalence of some forms of cancer, new treatment options that are providing better outcomes and prognoses for patients diagnosed with cancer, and a shortage of oncologists, doctors who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and management of cancer. The American Society of Clinical Oncology predicted that the demand for oncologists would increase by 48% by 2020 with the capacity to treat patients rising by just 14%.
Oncology nurses must have either an ADN or BSc in Nursing plus additional training in cancer care.
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There are various reasons why the demand for nurses is increasing. These include:
One of the most significant drivers, particularly in terms of the need for gerontological nurses, at-home nurses and nursing home and aged care facilities nurses, is the aging population. As people live longer and the percentage of the population aged over 65 increases, more nurses will be needed to provide care for seniors.
Many nurses who are working in hospitals, community settings, aged care facilities and clinics are approaching retirement age, which is likely to fuel a shortage of nurses in the years to come. The average age of a registered nurse in the US is 51 years old (source).
A shortage of doctors has led to an increase in the demand for highly-trained nurses, including nurse practitioners.
Statistics show that some chronic conditions, for example, obesity and type 2 diabetes, are becoming more prevalent, placing more demand on health services. According to the CDC, more than 34 million Americans have diabetes (source). Over 90% of cases relate to type 2 diabetes.
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Nursing is one of the hardest but most rewarding jobs. Nurses work in a diverse range of settings, undertaking a broad spectrum of tasks. There are several different types of nursing jobs. While all fields are experiencing growth, with more nurses required than ever before, some roles are in particularly high demand. This list features 10 of the top nursing jobs in need over the next decade. The variety of roles highlights the need for nurses with diverse and varied skillsets. From those who care for premature babies and the elderly to nurse practitioners with the skills and experience to run independent clinics and professionals with expertise in treating patients with cancer or psychiatric disorders, nursing is one of the fastest-growing career sectors.