Registered Nurses pursuing a master’s degree will find that there is no shortage of options for specializations, from education to family practice. Here are 4 popular specialties to consider as you plan your future in nursing.
1) Nurse Practitioner
Nurse Practitioners can practice primary care or focus on more specialized areas. For example, Family Nurse Practitioners provide services to individuals across the lifespan, from infant to adult, whereas Adult Health Nurse Practitioners focus on a smaller segment of the population. As a Nurse Practitioner, your daily work may involve performing routine check-ups, examining lab results, assessing existing conditions, promoting overall health, writing prescriptions and establishing treatment plans for patients.
If you’re interested in direct patient care, a career as a Nurse Practitioner is an excellent choice, with a 34% employment growth projected by the BLS for 2012 to 2022. The majority of Nurse Practitioners work with a physician, but others maintain an independent practice. The BLS lists the 2012 median annual salary for Nurse Practitioners as $89,960.
2) Nurse Educator
Nurse Educators can have rich and rewarding careers combining clinical expertise with a passion for teaching. As a Nurse Educator, you can play a pivotal role in mentoring and shaping the future generation of nurses, preparing them to meet the challenges of the rapidly changing healthcare industry. In addition to providing training at various education levels, you may develop, evaluate and revise curricula as well as conduct research.
In 2010, according to discovernursing.com, 56% of schools had vacancies for nursing faculty. This trend continues today, as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing estimates that, last year, 80,000 capable, prospective nursing students were turned away due to a shortage of educators. According to explorehealthcareers.org, the average annual salary of a Nurse Educator is $78,242.
3) Nurse Administrator
Nurse Administrators and Managers are critical in designing healthcare delivery systems, recruiting and supervising healthcare staff, making policy and financial decisions, promoting improvements in patient care, and incorporating new technology into the delivery of care. As a Nurse Administrator, you’ll also work to optimize interactions between patients, doctors and nurses as well as to facilitate communication between departments.
As the need for RNs increases—with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting a 19% growth rate from 2012 to 2022, so does the need for people to manage this growing workforce. Thus, the BLS estimates that the employment of medical and health services managers will grow 23% from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the 11% average across all occupations, with an annual median salary of $88,580. With an education focused on nurse administration, you may be prepared to work as a patient care unit coordinator, nurse case manager, senior manager or nurse unit manager.
4) Nurse Informaticist
Individuals working in Nurse Informatics combine their nursing knowledge and communications skills with a knack for technology and information structure. As a Nurse Informaticist, you’ll have opportunities to develop, implement, manage and evaluate operational data and information systems as well as collect and analyze patient data with the goal of improving clinical care. As a trusted expert, you may also be required to communicate your findings and train other staff members in the use of these systems.
Nurse Informaticists are typically members of the information systems or technology departments at hospitals, healthcare consulting firms or research organizations. Alternatively, you may be placed in the research or education arm of your institution. According to explorehealthcareers.org, the typical salary for Nurse Informatists ranges from $79,000-$83,675. The need for these individuals is expected to increase in direct proportion to innovations in healthcare technology.
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ExploreHealthCareers.org: Nurse Educator | Nurse Practitioner | Nurse Informatics