Are you a registered nurse feeling stuck in your current role? Or do you find yourself wondering what other career opportunities exist for nurses like you? If the answer to either question is yes, you have come to the right place. There are a variety of lucrative career paths available for registered nurses. However, with so many options, it could be tricky to know where to start.
That is why, in this blog post, we are going to take a deep dive into the most lucrative career options for registered nurses. From management and leadership positions to specialized fields, we will explore the potential salary and job outlook for each. So, whether you are just starting in your nursing career or looking to make a change, keep reading to make an informed decision about your next career move:
- Gerontological Nurse
More than half of the American population is above 65 and is managing two or more chronic conditions that may require regular treatment or monitoring. Nurses who care for older patients are known as gerontological nurses. As the needs of older patients vary from person to person, the duties of gerontological nurses may also vary similarly.
Gerontological nurses assist doctors with physical exams, track the patient’s cognitive function, their mental health, and look after common issues, such as insomnia, dementia, and fall risk in senior patients.
To be a gerontological nurse, you require an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Next, you must pass the RN-NCLEX to meet the state licensing requirements to become a registered nurse. After that, you can enroll in a Master of Nursing Program specializing in adult gerontology acute care.
The average geriatric nurse salary in the US is $79,811 per year for the starting position. You can earn up to $125,000 as you gain experience.
- Orthopedic Nurse
Orthopedic nurses care for patients with mobility issues caused by diseases, disorders, or injuries. They work in various healthcare settings, including orthopedic wards and emergency rooms. Depending on the specific environment, their responsibilities may vary.
In orthopedic wards, for instance, they help with post-operative care, medication administration, and patient monitoring. They collaborate with physiotherapists to devise treatment plans for patients and aid in their recovery.
You need a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), two years of APRN experience, and an Orthopedic Nurses Board certification to work in orthopedics. If you are working full-time, you may enroll in an online MSN program to accommodate classes according to your schedule. The annual salary for an orthopedic nurse is $96,259. However, the highest salary range for an orthopedic nurse can go up to $144,000.
- Nurse Anesthetist
A nurse anesthetist is a highly trained registered nurse. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, surgical centers, and private practices. Typically, the responsibilities of these professionals include:
- Conducting pre-anesthesia evaluations
- Managing pain control during and after procedures
- Monitoring patients’ vital signs and responding to any changes
- Collaborating with surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare professionals
- Keeping accurate records of patients’ anesthesia care
A nurse anesthetist’s salary is among the highest in the medical field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they draw a median annual salary of over $180,000. The demand for nurse anesthetists is also on the rise, with a projected job growth of 16% from 2019 to 2029.
To become a nurse anesthetist, you must go through extensive training and study, including a Master’s degree from an accredited nurse program and successful completion of a certification exam. If you are a registered nurse looking for a challenging and financially rewarding career, becoming a nurse anesthetist may be the perfect fit for you.
- Nurse Attorney
Do you consider yourself a nurse at heart but have always been fascinated by the law? In that case, becoming a nurse attorney could be your ideal career path. The best thing about this unique profession is that it allows you to make a real difference in the healthcare industry. As a nurse attorney, you will have the power to advocate for change and ensure that healthcare providers are held accountable for their actions.
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Juris Doctor (JD) are required to enter the field. So you will need to earn a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, then go to law school for three years, and pass the bar exam. Indeed, becoming a nurse attorney requires commitment and a lot of hard work. But, if you are up for the challenge, the rewards could be substantial. Following recent statistics, the average annual salary for a nurse attorney is around $99,022.
- Nurse Midwife
From prenatal check-ups to postpartum recovery, nurse midwives specialize in providing comprehensive care for women. These professionals collaborate with obstetricians and other medical staff to ensure the mother’s and baby’s safety and well-being. According to Salary.com, the median annual salary for nurse midwives in the United States is around $118,109. However, the amount may vary depending on location, years of experience, and the type of employer.
As a general rule, nurse midwives must hold a Bachelor’s degree in nursing and a minimum of one to two years of relevant work experience. This will give you a solid foundation in patient care and nursing skills. After that, you will need to graduate from a nurse-midwifery program that meets all the necessary standards.
- Emergency Room Nurse
Emergency room nursing is a challenging yet rewarding field. Emergency room nurses assess, diagnose and treat patients with varied medical conditions. As an emergency room nurse, you must stay on top of the latest medical technologies and procedures.
These nurses are typically the first point of contact in emergency departments. Thus, apart from technical knowledge, they must possess a unique combination of critical thinking, quick decision-making, and effective communication skills.
According to Glassdoor, a registered nurse working in an emergency room in the United States can expect a yearly salary of $111,362. The job outlook for registered nurses also looks promising, with a projected growth rate of 7% from 2020-2030.
To work in the emergency room, you must first earn a nursing degree, such as an Associate or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Next, you need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a licensed registered nurse. Once you get some experience in nursing, you can choose to specialize in emergency nursing by obtaining additional certification through organizations such as the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN). If you are more ambitious, you may even continue your education and earn a Master’s degree in nursing or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) to advance your career.
The demand for nurses is constantly on the rise. And it is not going to slow down any time soon. That said, with so many career paths to choose from, it could be difficult to make the right decision. After reading this write-up, we hope you will be able to narrow down a career option that aligns with your passion and interests and reap the financial rewards of the chosen profession.