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Different Nursing Careers

Posted by travel | October 15, 2012 | Travel Nursing Jobs

Nursing is already a fairly rewarding field, both emotionally and financially. But, for those nurses looking to make even more and reach a higher level of gratification, there are specialized nursing fields that make great career options. I have put together some of the most common and rewarding types of nurses along with their requirements and earning potential that comes with that opportunity.


Nurse Anesthetist - Nursing Careers

The educational requirements to be a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) is far more than just a bachelor’s degree. You also need to have graduate education that is approved by the accreditation council of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. It starts with having to be a licensed RN (Registered Nurse). Once you have obtained your 4 year bachelor’s degree in some sort of science or nursing, you then need to commit to some kind of internship or work experience for at least a year. That experience should be in an acute care environment or an intensive care unit. Then you finally have to spend about 3 years obtaining your master’s degree in the education of anesthesia.

I am not going to sugar coat it, the training and education that you will need to become a nurse anesthetist is going to be rigorous and can take anywhere from eight to ten years before you complete it. Right now there is some talk and movements to require that only Doctors in Nursing Practice or Doctors of Nurse Anesthesia Practice degree are able to become nurse anesthetists. This requirement is being put into place in the future by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Even if it were to be put into place, it still wouldn’t happen until 2015. But, once it is put in place, it will make it that much harder to get into this specialty.


The Skills & Work Environment for the Nurse Anesthetist

The simple definition of the job of a nurse anesthetist is the person that gives the anesthesia to the patients that will be operated on. It is a specialty that dates pretty far back in the United States, and it is so very important and specific that it requires an extremely high level of education and training. Many people are under the impression that nurse anesthetists only work in hospitals. That is just not the case, they can work in dental offices, outpatient surgery centers, and a few other places.

A lot of specialties with nursing aren’t very specific on what a nurse can and can’t do by themselves. It is no different when you are talking about this specialization. In a lot of states nurse anesthetists are not actually required to be under the direct supervision of an anesthesiologist. However, in the majority of the states they are required to work under someone that is a licensed physician or healthcare provider. It would be abnormal to have a sort of situation where they are not supervised with such an important task. That is why the majority of hospitals have their own rule that requires an anesthesiologist to supervise them.

Usually if the nurse anesthetist is certified they are able to work fairly independently in situations that have a smaller community, such as small hospitals, pain clinics, and things of that nature. There are many public health organizations that they play a huge part in, including the military medical. There are just over 40,000 members of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. There are also over 30 million anesthetics administered each year in the United States.


Nurse Anesthetist Salary

It is not an easy job being a nurse anesthetist, but the compensation is definitely going to be rewarding to say the least. In fact, it is one of the highest paying career fields in the medical industry besides being an actual doctor. The average salary annually is $155,000. Just under half of all of the nurse anesthetists are male.



Critical Care Nurse

If you are already an RN, than there really is no requirements that are specifically needed to become a critical care nurse. However, there are a lot of certifications that you can get in order to make it easier when applying to become a critical care nurse. These certifications can also make you a better all around nurse too. There is a certification by the AACN (American Association of Critical Care Nurses) in critical care nursing for adults, pediatrics, and neonatal care units. There are also a few other certifications offered by the AACN in cardiac care and surgery, along with critical nursing for adults and critical care of children.

There is no doubt that these certifications are hard to get, but what is life without a little challenge. Plus, like we said before, it is going to make you a better overall nurse as well. These certificates are needed in order to make yourself stand out as a candidate for the specialty. One note that I wanted to touch on real quick, is that you still need to contact the state nursing board to get registered in your specialty, even if you have already gotten these certificates.


The Skills & Work Environment for a Critical Care Nurse

Intensive care nurses can be another name for critical care nurses, and they have to help patients that are having an emergency, or patients that are either very sick or dealing with a hard surgery. They are going to be working in either emergency rooms or intensive care units. When you are helping critical care patients, you have to understand that they are going to need a lot of attention. They are going to need the attention of a nurse that has extensive experience with many life saving technologies.

There isn’t much that critical care nurses don’t do, they are really a jack of all trades. They can be monitoring vitals, dressing wounds, or administering medications. There are also a variety of other tasks that they must complete should they be called upon by superiors to do so. Not only do the critical care nurses need to stay focused and work on these small tasks, they also need to be able to work under extreme pressure when an emergency arises with a patient.


Critical Care Nurse Salary

There is a really short supply usually for great critical care nurses. This is why there are incentives, like a sign on bonus, relocation assistance, and other types of bonuses. The annual salary can fluctuate however depending on where in the United States you live. It can range anywhere from $50,000 to over $80,000.


Informatics Nurse

Informatics nursing is one of those specialties that can really be done all on its own or you could add it to your nursing repertoire that you already have. If you are one of the nurses that wants to really only deal with informatics nursing, than you are going to want to get a master’s degree in informatics nursing. They can be obtained from both online schools and campus based schools. If you are just looking to add this as one of your many skills as a nurse, than you may want to check out many of the certificates that are available.


The Skills & Work Environment for a Informatics Nurse

This is one of the most popular specialties within nursing at the moment, simply because people are starting to pay attention to health care insurance a lot more than they used to. There is a lot of pressure that is put on the informatics nurses in order to deliver efficiently when it comes to outcomes and health insurance. The government paid healthcare is only going to make that pressure even worse in the years to come, starting in 2014.

What is nice about this specialty is that you get to have a hand in technology and still work with patient care as well. The bigger places that provide health care services also have a whole different set of needs when it comes to technology. There are plenty of places to get involved with training, helping with the creation of future technology, and things of that nature. There is also a need for informatics nurses at places that do research as well. They need someone that can handle the data and have it make complete sense. There is no doubt that you will learn a variety of skills in this specialty that can be applied to just about anything in life.


Informatics Nurse Salary

This specialty also has one of the widest ranges of annual salaries that we have seen, coming in at an average of anywhere in between $55,000 and $90,000 a year. The average salary in the United States comes in at about $75,000 a year.


Oncology Nurse

There really is no requirement for a nurse to specialize in oncology nursing. That being said, you still need some kind of training in this specialty if you want to work at some of the best hospitals in the country. They will expect you to have this training when you are presenting yourself as a candidate. Where are you going to find this training? Well one of the groups that provides training and certificates for this specialty is the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation, also known as the ONCC. They provide a variety of courses that range within the specialty from certified breast care nurse to certified pediatric oncology nurse.

If you want to actually practice as an oncology nurse, your best bet would be to get one of those certifications offered by the ONCC. The certification will last for 4 years before you need to renew it and take continued education classes. Some of the requirements to become certified may vary, and a few of them will even require that you have a master’s degree in nursing.


The Skills & Work Environment of the Oncology Nurse

There are quite a few things that cancer patients are going to have to deal with, they include surgeries, treatments, medications, and the issues that they may face with recovery as well. It is the job of the oncology nurse to help that patient get through the process and through the recovery. An oncology nurse needs to be able to communicate well with others, as there will be communication with family of patients as well. This is an area of nursing that is never going to be easy, and it can be extremely hard to maintain your emotions when you are trying to help someone through one of the toughest battles of their life.

A lot of the time nurses within this specialty are going to be working with patients that are enduring outpatient procedures. These can be chemotherapy, radiation therapy, discussions with the team about treatment moving forward, and procedures for diagnostics. Those cancer patients that have come to the hospital because they have a surgery or because they have become ill are going to be will have all of their needs met by specialized oncology nurses and doctors.


Oncology Nurse Salary

The demand for oncology nursing has greatly increased as the age of American’s as a whole increases. Usually it is going to be the older generations that are diagnosed with cancer. It really depends on if you are working at a small hospital or a larger one, but the salary can range from $60,000 to $80,000 a year.



Perioperative Nurse

You definitely have to be a licensed RN to become a perioperative nurse. Although, you don’t have to have any other certification technically. A majority of the hospitals out there either have or are developing programs that help to guide people that are looking to get into this specialty. You will usually need a bachelor’s degree in nursing if you want to be a competitive candidate at the larger medical facilities. The AORN, or Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, does give a test that will allow you to collect some sort of certification in perioperative nursing. Nurses in the perioperative field usually have sub-specialties in fields like cardiac, pediatrics, or dental to name off a few.


The Skills & Work Environment of the Perioperative Nurse

The perioperative nursing department is really in charge of patients before, during, and after their surgeries. They will make sure that all of the important information that is needed, such as allergies, patient history, diagnostics, and things of that nature are ready to go. There are two different types of nurses when it comes to perioperative nursing. There are those that actually scrub in and get involved, then there are those that take on more of a managerial role throughout the operating room.

You have to have good physical stamina in order to work in this specialty. You will often have to stand through long surgeries and you might have to move equipment around that is heavier than expected. You also need to be able to work well with other doctors and nurses in order to successfully do your job. The recovery of the patient is also something that is managed by the perioperative nurse as well.

Perioperative Nurse Salary

The perioperative nursing field has an average annual salary of $82,000 a year, and is one of the higher paying specialties within the nursing field.



Nurse Practitioner

The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and The American Nurses Credentialing Center both offer certification as a nurse practitioner. It is a requirement to have this certification in every single state. In addition, you are going to have to have a master’s degree at the very least in order to become certified, and some certifications also require that you have a doctoral degree. There are also a wide variety of other certifications that are used to narrow down the specialization even further when it comes to nurse practitioners.

The licensing can be a bit less straight forward. The state provides the license for the nurse practitioner to practice. Since the level of care that is given to patients is so close to that of a doctor, the states tend to keep a very close eye on nurse practitioners. The requirements to become licensed in your state may vary from other states.


The Skills & Work Environment of the Nurse Practitioner

We really only saw the nurse practitioner as a specialty in the United States since the 1960s. It was basically to fill the gap, we had more people that needed basic medical care than we had actual physicians. Since then the specialty has seriously grown and now has many sub-specialties of its own. They can have their own practice, although many choose to work in hospitals and nursing homes that are of the high-end variety. Most of the time when a patient has a basic medical issue you will see that the nurse practitioner is the one that handles it. That way the doctor is a little more available for more serious conditions that require more attention.

The day to day jobs of a nurse practitioner are going to vary obviously, but usually include diagnostics like looking at lab results, high blood pressure, and helping in various surgical duties and with basic medical care with patients. There are even some states that allow the nurse practitioner to prescribe drugs in certain situations too.


Nurse Practitioner Salary

On average a nurse practitioner will earn about $90,000 annually in the United States. There are many sub-specialties though that allow easily for a six figure income.