With the various types and levels nurses, deciding on what to choose in this field to get a higher salary of a nurse can be quite challenging and overwhelming. Taking into consideration the figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that nursing actually represents one of the biggest workforces in the healthcare industry with more than 2.5 million practicing nurses in the United States alone. This means, if you want to get ahead of the pack, you must know which specializations to target.
It is equally important to remember that aside from higher compensation, job security must also be one of the more important factors to consider. Keep in mind that it would be utterly useless to receive a huge salary if the prospect of being cut from your job looms over your head regularly. In order to help plan your path to get the highest salary of a nurse possible, you should be aware which among the advanced practices can allow you to reap the most rewards financially.
To achieve professional growth and possibly a more stable future, consider the following specializations.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist or CRNA
This type of nurse is considered as one of the highest paying in the nursing profession. It is important to understand that you must complete your licensing to become a Registered Nurse or RN in order to become qualified for the graduate program that will lead to a CRNA degree. The average salary of a nurse with this type of specialization is anywhere from $100,000 to $135,000 annually.
The basic responsibility of a CRNA is to become an extension of the anesthesiologist in the delivery of the anesthesia during a surgery. This means that for nurses who have a keen interest in surgery, it remains as one of the most practical and viable options for growth.
It is important that nurses who intend to pursue this specialization should have the right technical skills aside from good interaction with patients, despite those under their care being asleep during most of the procedure.
As the title suggests, nurses who want advance studies in this field will deal mostly with patients that are suffering from mental or psychiatric health disorders. They deliver both care and consultation services to patients in various mental health care facilities around the country. The goal of nurses in this field of the healthcare industry is to be able to help in the promotion of the restoration and maintenance of optimum mental health.
It is quite possible that nurses in this specific specialization can work independently aside from being part of a traditional multidisciplinary healthcare group. They are trained to deliver holistic and client-centered nursing services as well as normal tasks like recording health history, mental status assessment, and physical examination results of patients.
These nurses usually cooperate with other healthcare professionals as well as law enforcement professionals in the development and implementation of therapeutic programs. The salary is about $95,000 on the average.
- Certified Nurse Midwife
The primary role of nurses in this capacity is to provide care for women during gynecological exams, prenatal care, family planning advice, neonatal care, and labor and delivery among others. The work environment is normally clinics, hospitals, homes, health departments, and private practices as well. Usually subjected to unpredictable working hours, they represent one of the highest in terms of salary of a nurse, with $84,000 annually.
Nurses in this field of healthcare should possess good communication skills and should be committed to a holistic approach for patient care. This means delivering not only physical support, but emotional as well before, during, and until after childbirth. The specialization training allows them to deal with pregnant women and also newborn babies.
The services that they can assist with can include breast examinations, Pap smears, pelvic examination and evaluation, and they play a vital role in lowering the rate of maternal and infant death in the country.
- Nurse Practitioners
In the hierarchy of the nursing profession, these nurses represent the mid-level providers in the healthcare industry. In most instances they are tasked to provide patient care under the direct supervision of licensed physicians. They are not only qualified, but also authorized to proceed with patient examinations including minor tests and procedures. The State laws that cover the practice of Nurse Practitioners can vary considerably depending on the locality.
Some States can be as strict as requiring licensed physicians to sign off on the work done by Nurse Practitioners, but in some, they can work independently and can even prescribe minor medications. Without a doubt, it remains as one of the valid options in the nursing profession considering that they pull down a substantial amount of $78,000 annually on salary.
- Clinical Nurse Specialist
One of the main responsibilities of a Clinical Nurse Specialist is to assist in the handling of specialized research, advocacy, education, and management. They are holders of a Master’s of Science in nursing degree with a completed CNS certification for their preferred area of expertise. This dedication to the academic and management field has a corresponding $76,000 salary of a nurse in this area of the healthcare industry.
Being educated and trained in a specific medical area, they can assist in clinical trials, provide educational and informational meetings, and assist in the development of nursing protocols that will result in the improvement in the quality of the methods used of a specific department of a hospital. There are numerous areas of specialization open to a Clinical Nurse Specialist like oncology, cardiology, geriatrics, psychiatry, and infectious diseases among others.
- Gerantological Nurse Practitioner
The area of specialization for these nurses is geriatrics. They receive advance training in the diagnosis and management of patients that suffer from the effects of long-term or debilitating medical conditions. They are capable of providing regular assessments to the family members of the patient in order to ensure that proper care can be given to the specific health condition being experienced.
The approach that is used is holistic and pays special attention to the bedside manners for elderly patients. As registered nurses, they must possess a Master’s Degree to be able to receive the specialization to care for older adults. The Gerantological Nurse Practitioner is efficient in diagnosing and managing acute and chronic diseases. The average annual salary of nurses in this field is about $75,000.
Being aware of the different choices you have as a nurse will allow you to maximize the benefits in your field. Moreover, you will be able to create a career path to possibly one of the highest salary of a nurse.
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