Nurses are integral to the success of healthcare systems. They ensure patients receive the best care and support throughout treatment.
While nurses are usually seen wearing scrubs and working in hospitals and clinics, their roles go far beyond bedside care. Nursing is the largest profession in the healthcare system and offers many exciting and fulfilling career opportunities. These roles offer many worthwhile benefits, including personal gratification, job security, competitive salaries, learning transferrable skills, and a flexible schedule.
If you want to diversify your nursing career prospects, here are some options worth considering:
- Nurse administrator
Nurse administrators play the role of a leader in healthcare settings. They manage, oversee, and coordinate nursing services to ensure patients receive high-quality care. In some workplaces, they may also manage nursing resources and budgets and allocate them properly. Nurse administrators also ensure regulatory compliance.
If you enjoy managing and leading teams in a healthcare setting, this role might be right up your alley. To pursue a career in nursing administration, you must have a valid nursing license and higher education, such as a master’s in nursing administration, to learn and equip yourself with the skills needed to excel in administrative roles. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary of a nurse administrator is $101,340, and the employment growth rate is 28%.
- Nurse educators
Nurse educators educate and train aspiring nurses to ensure they provide compassionate and comprehensive patient care. They usually work in academic settings like nursing schools or colleges. Their job also involves developing a curriculum based on the latest advancements in nursing, teaching future nurses, and mentoring students in academic and practical settings.
To pursue a career as a nurse educator, you must have an RN license and a master’s or doctoral-level degree in nursing. Moreover, you must also have teaching experience. The average salary of a nurse educator is $107,511, and the projected demand for them is expected to increase by 9%. If you have a passion for teaching and a desire to shape the future of healthcare, becoming a nurse educator could be a rewarding choice.
- Cardiac nurse
Cardiac nurses (CNs) work with experienced cardiologists to treat patients suffering from acute and chronic heart conditions. They are responsible for ensuring the patient’s well-being under the doctor’s watch. Advanced practice CNs assist cardiologists in heart surgeries and angioplasties.
A CN must specialize in catheterization, defibrillation, and advanced cardiac life support. They work in cardiac units, hospital surgery units, rehab centers, and ICUs. To become a cardiac nurse, you must have an RN License, specialization in cardiac care and relevant experience. The median salary for CNs is $75,384 and the job growth rate is 9%. Heart diseases are the leading cause of death in the U.S. As the aged population increases, the demand for trained CNs will increase.
- Clinical nurse specialist
A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is an advanced practice nurse specializing in a specific clinical practice area. They provide direct patient care, act as a resource for other healthcare professionals, and contribute to enhancing the overall quality of patient care. CNSs work in hospitals, clinics, and community health centers and focus on pediatrics, mental health, or critical care. They also engage in research, education, and leadership roles alongside patient care.
To become CNS, nurses typically need a master’s or doctoral–level degree in nursing and certification in their choice of specialization. With their expertise, CNSs play a crucial role in improving healthcare outcomes and promoting best practices. The average salary of a CNS is approximately $93,375 and the job opportunities are expected to grow by 9%.
- Public health nurse
Public health nurses specialize in public health in the workplace and work on the prevention, advocacy, education, activism, and evaluation of public health. They are important in ensuring community well-being and preventing widespread diseases and infections.
Public health nurses care for entire communities and work with large groups of people to provide high-quality care. They educate the community about health issues and ways to improve their health. They play an active role in addressing health disparities and promoting health equity. They work in government agencies, schools, community centers, and non-profit organizations.
To become a public health nurse, you must have relevant education and a valid nursing license. The average salary of a public health nurse is approximately $63,988, and their employment rate is projected to grow by 7% over the coming years.
- Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)
A CRNA administers anesthesia and other medication to patients. They are advanced-practice registered nurses who monitor patients before and after administering anesthesia. They also observe the recovery of the patients from anesthesia to ensure their well-being. CRNAs work with anesthesiologists, surgeons, dentists, and pediatrics and provide anesthesia care to patients undergoing all invasive procedures. They cater to patients from different age groups.
To become a CRNA, you must have relevant certification and a license to practice. You must also have at least one year of experience in an acute care setting. The average salary of a CRNA is among the highest in the nursing sector, i.e., $208,829, and the job outlook is also very promising, with an 11.8% growth rate.
Nursing offers diverse and fulfilling career paths. From administrators to educators, cardiac nurses, specialists, public health nurses, and anesthetists, each role contributes to high-quality care and improved health outcomes. These careers provide job security, competitive salaries, and the chance to impact individuals and communities. Whether your passion lies in leadership, education, specialized care, or public health, nursing offers opportunities to make a lasting difference. So pick a role that aligns with your goals and embark on a rewarding journey in nursing.