Gone are the days when nursing roles were limited to assisting physicians and surgeons and performing menial administrative duties. Modern-day nurses are making great strides in clinical care, with many specializations focusing on various aspects of physical and mental health. Nursing pathways continually evolve, carving out more clinical authority and professional freedom for specialized practitioners.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities rely on qualified and experienced nurses to ensure patient safety and maintain quality standards. The acute shortages of skilled physicians across multiple specialists have put nurses at the forefront of clinical care. Nurses have more control over planning their career trajectories by choosing specializations that support self-actualization and a healthy work-life balance.
For instance, family nurse practitioners can work towards a private practice and help families with primary healthcare services. There’s a growing demand for skilled geriatrics nurses, midwives, and pediatric nurse practitioners to address staffing shortages.
Keep reading to learn more about the fastest-growing nursing specializations.
1. Gerontological Nursing
Seniors constitute a significant proportion of the world’s population, and these people are vulnerable and dependent on their caregivers. The population of seniors diagnosed with chronic and acute illnesses is rising steadily, given the increase in life expectancy rates. Geriatric nursing is a burgeoning field that revolves around managing the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of older adults.
Senior care is more than just managing chronic health symptoms and preventing the risk factors of arthritis or dementia. A geriatrics nurse is a trusted companion who provides emotional support and companionship, helping seniors enjoy healthy life quality.
Suppose you enjoy spending time with older adults and find joy in alleviating their pain and discomfort. In that case, consider advancing your career with an adult gerontology nurse practitioner master’s degree program through an accredited e-learning platform. BSN professionals interested in senior care can explore lucrative opportunities with an MSN degree in adult-gerontology. BSN nurses can reduce their shift hours to make time for their online program, balancing higher education with nursing duties.
Geriatric nursing jobs are expected to grow by 26%, with a steady demand for MSN professionals across nursing homes, hospitals, and private clinics. Typically, geriatrics nurses must obtain registered nurse (RN) licensure and complete a BSN program. However, lucrative and well-paying opportunities demand an MSN degree to develop specialized skills with advanced clinical authority.
Geriatric nurses can also serve senior patients with home care facilities, attending to their basic needs and providing clinical care.
2. Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
Do you want to work closely with families and communities and enjoy a healthy work-life balance with financial stability? The rising shortages of skilled physicians have allowed FNPs to step forward and provide primary healthcare services to families. FNP specializations allow professionals to build a rewarding career with in-depth clinical involvement and a thriving community presence.
Family nurses diagnose illnesses, design treatments, prescribe and administer medications, conduct physical exams, and educate patients on lifestyle management and prevention. In many ways, FNPs perform the primary care duties of physicians, working closely with families and children. However, the route to working as an FNP demands higher education and rigorous training. FNPs required a registered nursing (RN) license and an MSN degree with a family nursing specialization. But keep in mind that there are also accelerated RN to FNP programs available to attain your degree faster than normal.
FNPs must also complete around 500 clinical hours or more, depending on state-mandated requirements, under supervision. Family nurse practitioners bank an average salary of over $100,000 annually, and industry observers predict a 16% job growth. This nursing specialization is ideal for professionals who enjoy working with families and treating patients from various age groups.
3. Pediatric Care
Do you find joy in nursing infants and helping patients ensure healthy development for their toddlers and children? If yes, pediatric nursing opens up rewarding opportunities to care for infants, children, and teenagers. Nurses with pediatric specializations operate in various settings, such as hospitals, clinics, physician’s offices, private practices, and schools.
Pediatric nursing involves in-depth clinical and pharmacological training in managing chronic and acute conditions. Pediatric nurses are hired in all facilities that involve children and teenagers, such as sports facilities and community centers. These nurses handle everything, from flu and the common cold to life-threatening diseases like cancer. Their responsibilities include routine check-ups, diagnosing health conditions, administering medication, and extending primary care.
Registered nurses need to pursue a BSN program, followed by an MSN degree to specialize in pediatric care. Job opportunities within pediatric nursing offer job security and financial stability, with lucrative six-figure packages.
The work schedules are flexible, allowing pediatric nurses a healthy work-life balance and the intrinsic motivation of working with children. Observers predict that pediatric nursing jobs will grow by over 15% by 2022.
4. ER Nursing
There’s a growing demand for skilled nurses specializing in ER care and emergency management. The ongoing staffing shortages have contributed to the rising demand for ER nurses to maintain quality care standards and reduce fatalities. Hospitals recruit emergency nurses to perform various responsibilities to evaluate, diagnose, treat and stabilize patients.
Serving as an ER nurse is one of the most challenging nursing career paths, resulting in overwhelming bouts of occupational stress. ER nurses have advanced clinical training in handling various health conditions, injuries, infections, reactions, and life-threatening chronic symptoms. They undergo extensive pharmacological training to administer proper medication at the right time to prevent loss of life. Moreover, ER nurses are trained to conduct and analyze medical tests, examine charts, tend to wounds, and monitor vital signs.
Nurses serving in the ER handle complex and challenging cases involving numerous diseases in highly stressful situations. They work for exhausting 10-12-hour schedules, often doing back-to-back shifts to address staffing shortages. On average, ER nurses make an annual income of over $62,000. This career path is suited for nurses who can operate efficiently in stressful situations and assist patients with various concerns.
5. Cardiac Care
Heart disease ranks amongst the leading causes of death and diminishing life quality worldwide. Cardiac care is a burgeoning nursing field that opens up clinical authority avenues and works closely with senior specialists. Cardiac nurses assist patients diagnosed with cardiovascular and heart-related conditions.
They help patients cope and manage their symptoms by designing lifestyle shifts, administering medications, and promoting awareness. Skilled MSN cardiac nurses assist surgeons with various surgical procedures, including pacemaker surgery and angioplasty.
There’s a broad array of nursing specializations to map out the career that aligns with your ambitions. We believe that it’s wise to reflect on your interests and inclinations. Nursing isn’t just a profession; it’s a calling to serve humanity with kindness and compassion.