Top 10 Most Staffed Nursing Specialties

September 5, 2019

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Stephanie Goraczkowski

nursing specialties

 

Top 10 Most Staffed Nursing Specialties

 

So you’re thinking about furthering your nursing experience? Check out these most staffed nursing specialties and figure out where you’d like to take your career next!

 

 

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP)

An acute care nurse practitioner (ACNP) specializes in adult care. They treat patients for ongoing illness and injury, running diagnostic tests and coming up with a treatment plan to help. Because these illnesses and injuries are more common in older patients, there is a bigger emphasis on the aging population and elderly. As the Baby Boomer generation gets older, the ACNP specialty will be in high demand.

How do I get there?

The requirements to become an ACNP include earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), becoming a Licensed Registered Nurse (RN), and becoming an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN).

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Job Growth:

31% expected job growth within the next decade

 

Neonatal Nurse

There are a few different responsibilities of neonatal nurses. Some specialize in postpartum units or labor and delivery, helping mothers and newborns get through childbirth safely. Others work in neonatal ICUs, caring for newborns after birth. Even though childbirth rates change frequently, there is always be a need to assist in the births of the millions of babies born in the U.S. each year.

How do I get there?

The requirements to become a neonatal nurse include earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), becoming a Licensed Registered Nurse (RN), and 54-65 credits of nursing core courses, neonatal-focused classes, and clinical experience courses.

Neonatal Nurse Job Growth:

31% expected job growth within the next decade

 

Critical Care Nurse

Critical care nurses work on critical care floors, which can include a variety of units, like ICU and trauma. ICU nurses help patients that are experiencing something life-threatening or critical and need the highest level of care in a controlled setting. Critical care nurses use their expertise to work with intensive patients by monitoring life support, documenting medications, addressing serious wounds, and assessing patient care. Because of the nature of this specialty, there will always be a need for critical care nurses.

How do I get there?

The requirements to become an critical care nurse include earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), becoming a Licensed Registered Nurse (RN), and certifications in Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support.

Critical Care Nurse Job Growth:

26% expected job growth within the next decade

 

Dialysis Nurse

Dialysis nurses treat patients suffering from kidney failure. Patients suffering from kidney failure need regular dialysis to clean their blood. This process is maintained by dialysis nurses who monitor patients before their dialysis procedure and assess them when the dialysis is done. This is a part of the nephrology specialty, which further involves kidney study and the care they need in order to remain healthy. Dialysis is performed in hospitals and outpatient dialysis centers.

How do I get there?

The requirements to become a dialysis nurse include earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), possessing a skillset to work with specific machinery, and advanced training in kidney disease. Additionally, dialysis nurses can further their education through certifications like the Certified Nephrology Nurse, Certified Nephrology Nurse Practitioner, Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Nurse, or Certified Dialysis Nurse via the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC).

Dialysis Nurse Job Growth:

26% expected job growth within the next decade

 

Nurse Practitioner (NP)

A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice nurse that has the capability to write prescriptions. They work in a variety of settings on different demographics and departments. Essentially, a nurse practitioner is a generalist that works in a clinic or hospital to provide preventative care, do check-ups, order lab work, and prescribe needed medications. Because there is a need for more medical providers, nurse practitioners are in demand as another force to help physicians.

How do I get there?

The requirements to become an NP include earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), becoming a Licensed Registered Nurse (RN), apply for state licenses and prescription writing rights, and stay updated on licenses and certifications. Plus, most NPs need to complete continuing education courses every few years and stay updated on new practices.

Nurse Practitioner Job Growth:

31% expected job growth within the next decade

 

Pain Management Nurse

A pain management nurse will assess and determine a patient’s level and cause of pain. This is done with a combination of physical assessment, understanding the patient’s medical history, ordering diagnostic tests, and discussing pain with the patient. Helping patients lessen and manage chronic pain is the most important task of a pain management nurse. Because an estimated 50 million people in the U.S. are living with some form of chronic pain, this specialty is one of the most in-demand nursing jobs available.

How do I get there?

The requirements to become a pain management nurse include earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), passing the Registered Nurse-Board Certified (RN-BC) credential specializing in pain management, and other specialized certifications through the American Society for Pain Management Nursing.

Pain Management Nurse Job Growth:

16% expected job growth within the next decade

 

Informatics Nurse

An informatics nurse leverages their healthcare knowledge to find way that technology can help patients. The work to advise practitioners, hospitals, and healthcare companies that develop healthcare technology. Informatics requires a health background, technical skillset, and a deep understanding of data and networks.

How do I get there?

The requirements to become an informatics nurse include a nursing license and additional years of experience, and formal training in healthcare informatics. Additionally, the Informatics Nursing Certification (RN-BC) from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is required by many places to work as a nurse informaticist. The HIMSS offers two other certifications that can help you take your informatics nursing career forward: the entry-level Certified Associate in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CAHIMS) and the professional-level Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS).

Informatics Nurse Job Growth:

13% expected job growth within the next decade

 

Nurse Anesthetist

A nurse anesthetist is an advanced practice nurse who works in operating rooms, private clinics, and outpatient centers to administer anesthesia to patients during surgery, emergency room procedures, and epidurals during child birth. Becoming a nurse anesthetist takes more specialization than a standard registered nurse, including a master’s degree in anesthesiology, but it is known as one of the highest paying nursing specialties.

How do I get there?

The requirements to become a nurse anesthetist include earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), becoming a Licensed Registered Nurse (RN), passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), and obtaining license and prescription privileges per state.

Nurse Anesthetist Job Growth:

31% expected job growth within the next decade

 

Nurse Educator

Nurse educators work with other nurses, or soon-to-be nurses to help educate and provide training, teach courses, and create learning curriculums. Some nurse educators also work within hospitals and universities to conduct research for labs, maintain clinical standards, and write grant proposals.

How do I get there?

The requirements to become a nurse educator include earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), becoming a Licensed Registered Nurse (RN), passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), clinical experience as a nurse practitioner, earning a Doctor of Philosophy in nursing degree, and passing a Certified Nurse Educator Examination.

Nurse Educator Job Growth:

19% expected job growth within the next decade

 

Travel Nurse

Travel nursing isn’t necessarily a specialty, but it can be applied to several nursing specialties, if you’re looking to try new places. Travel nurses go from facility to facility and fill staffing needs in their division. Travel nurses can specialize in a specific type of nursing or they can work in a variety of roles.

How do I get there?

The requirements to become a travel nurse include earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Experience as a trained RN could be required at certain facilities and for specific specialties. Additional certifications may be needed per state in which you’re planning to work.

Travel Nurse Job Growth:

19% expected job growth within the next decade

 

 

We’ve also made a handy chart of nursing degrees so you can decide which avenue you’d like to take when pursuing your nursing career. Check it out here.

 

 

nursing specialties 2Are you ready for travel nursing?

So, you've graduated, passed your exams, and have been working in your first real post-school nursing job for a while now. Now what? Do you stay where you are or pursue a career as a travel nurse? And if you choose travel, are you experienced enough to land the job you want? There are many questions to consider when deciding whether you're ready or experienced enough to begin your travel career as a nurse.

While experience is definitely a plus as a travel nurse, there is no magic number of years working that make it the right time to begin traveling. There are, however, many factors to consider when the time is right for you to begin traveling.

Experience: Generally 1-2 years on the job is a good starting point. The more experience you have, the better equipped you will be to handle the demands of quickly learning the ropes in a new facility. Everywhere you go, there is likely to be new systems and protocols to learn. You will likely be given 1-2 days of orientation, but beyond that you may be on your own after that. Building a solid foundation of skills and experience during your first couple years as a nurse are important for your success.

Area of Expertise: The type of experience that you have a makes a difference. If your past experience has been in a fast-paced environment, you may be better off because you are used to the busy environment that is travel nursing. A wider variety of nursing experience you have, the better fit you may be for travel nursing.

Other Considerations: Travel nursing can sometimes be fast paced and require a lot of flexibility. Since your assignment is likely to not be close to your family and friends, being independent enough to thrive on your own may also be an important consideration as well.

 

Building your career takes time, and it is up to you to chart the course that is right for you. If you feel that you are ready to begin your travel career, the first step is to speak to a recruiter so they can help you get started. If you don't feel as though you are ready yet, that's great! Keep working in your current position. More experience will only help build and strengthen your resume for when you are ready to travel.

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