7 High-Demand Nursing Specialties to Consider
It's widely acknowledged that the United States is facing a critical nursing shortage, but the same can't be said about nursing specialties. Johnson & Johnson lists nearly 100 specialties. While many of these are Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (APRN) positions that require a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, there are plenty of rewarding areas of specialization open to RNs with ADNs (Associate Degree in Nursing) and BSNs (Bachelor of Science in Nursing).
7 Nursing Specialties to Consider That Are in High Demand
More Americans are now choosing to die at home than in the hospital for the first time since the early 20th century, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. And hospice nurses are there to manage pain while helping terminally ill or critically injured patients and their families navigate the end-of-life transition. Another reason for the high demand is due to the aging American population. PayScale cites a $30.90 median hourly rate for hospice nurses.
Cardiac care nurses are in high demand because heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with cardiovascular disease accounting for 1 in every 4 deaths. Cardiac care nurses support these patients by performing exams and stress test evaluations as well as caring for those recovering from bypass surgery and other heart procedures. The median hourly rate is $30.33.
Nurses who thrive in a fast-paced environment in which no two shifts are alike find their place in emergency medicine. You need steady nerves under pressure and the ability to multitask and make split-second decisions to take on this high-demand role. PayScale cites an average hourly rate of $35.20. If you're wondering where in the United States emergency nurses are kept extra busy, Becker's Hospital Review reports that the 14 hospitals with the most ER visits in 2019 include:
- Parkland Health and Hospital System (Dallas): 242,640 visits
- Lakeland (Florida) Regional Medical Center: 210,285
- Joseph's University Medical Center (Paterson, N.J.): 167,500
- Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center: 158,968
- Montefiore Medical Center-Moses Campus (New York City): 158,226
High demand for this nursing specialty is attributed to high-population-growth states with an increased need for both doctors and nonphysician clinicians, such as obstetric nurses, to care for female patients during pregnancy, labor and childbirth. Obstetric nurses work in a variety of settings, including hospital maternity wards, community clinics, OB/GYN physicians' offices and family planning centers. The average OB/GYN clinical nurse hourly pay is $28.41, according to PayScale.
The American Cancer Society predicts 1,806,950 new cancer cases and 606,520 cancer deaths in the United States in 2020. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in both men and women nationally. Cancer patients need oncology nurses to administer chemotherapy and provide education about illnesses, treatment plans and side effects of treatment. It often falls to oncology nurses to act as patient advocates, facilitating communication between the rest of the medical team and a patient's caregivers or family members. Oncology nurses on average earn $32.93 per hour.
One of the best nursing specialties to consider if you're tech-savvy is telemetry. This niche specialization has a steep learning curve and requires good time-management and prioritization skills. Telemetry nurses work in clinical settings where they monitor a cardiac patient's vital signs, typically using an electrocardiogram and other sophisticated equipment. They review and interpret the data, administer medications and communicate with patients regarding their condition. Patients are often elderly and may have recently suffered a stroke or heart attack. Some patients have just been released from the ICU after heart surgery and require around-the-clock monitoring. PayScale puts the average hourly pay for telemetry nurses at $31.17.
As the costs of hospital stays and long-term care facilities continue to rise, more people will rely on home health nurses for care. Many patients living with chronic diseases are elderly, but children with mobility or developmental issues are also good candidates for home health visits, as are adults recovering from injuries or accidents. This is a great choice for an RN who wants a hands-on role with patients in a setting that's more relaxed and intimate than a hospital environment. The average hourly pay rate comes out to about $27.32.
Are you ready to consider nursing specialties that let you apply your skills where they're needed most? Visit the AMN Healthcare job board to search for available assignments throughout the United States.