Professional Opportunities for Nurses

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Professional Opportunities for Nurses

Check out these growth areas

By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN
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Although most people picture nurses as working in hospitals, the reality is that nursing, even more than most professions, is practiced in a myriad of ways and places. Aging populations and the changing nature of healthcare reimbursement also contribute to the variety of nursing fields opening up in both clinical and nonclinical roles.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing is expected to grow 26 percent between now and 2020. Salary growth will also prevail, with the most gains in the nursing home and home health areas.

•  Critical care, emergency departments, and the operating room need well-trained nurses, and those who specialize in patients at either end of the age spectrum are especially sought after.

•  Real growth is also predicted for nurses who want to work with technology. Transitional care managers who follow patients by telephone after discharge and nurses who are informaticists are increasingly in demand. Telehealth is also growing, particularly in rural areas.

•  For advanced practice nurses, the field continues to broaden. Outpatient and home health opportunities abound (seeing 33 percent growth, compared to 17 percent for in-hospital positions) and certified registered nurse anesthetists are much in demand, again primarily in rural areas. Nurses who do not need hands-on patient care as part of their professional identity can also find many opportunities in nursing law and in academia.

Although the entry to practice level is relatively low with an associate degree, further education is the key and lifelong learning the critical component to employment security.  


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