If you are a registered nurse (RN) with some experience under your belt, you may be ready to make a job change in the new year. Some of the most interesting and rewarding role advancements in nursing are also some of the hottest specialty career choices in the health care field. Many of these roles will allow you to keep wearing your nurse stethoscope and favorite scrubs, while others will require that you trade them in for offices and business clothes. Check out each of the career choices on this list to discover which new role may be right for you.
The field of nursing informatics is one of the most interesting specialty careers for RNs. While it may take a few years for you to land your dream job, it will be worth it. Nurse informaticists are critical members of today’s hospital system and clinics. Job responsibilities for these analytical minds include analyzing and reporting about the critical data that will help to increase a hospital’s efficiency and enhance patient care. Some nurses are also asked to interpret data to help cut unnecessary costs in a medical facility.
To be successful in this role, you should have technical skills and an interest in problem-solving.
Along with a few years of experience, nurse informaticists are expected to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Some roles may allow nurses to have an RN license with a degree in health care or information technology. The responsibility comes with a reward. According to ZipRecruiter, nurse informatics professionals make an average of over $102,000 per year. As the field of technology evolves, you are also sure to be challenged throughout your career.
2. Nurse Case Manager
If you want to help patients but prefer working in an office, a nurse case manager role may be the best specialty career choice for you. These professionals work with patients, families, and their physicians to coordinate resources and deliver the right health care services. They also collaborate with insurance companies to ensure all services are rendered appropriately. At a minimum, you must hold an RN license, but most employers in this high-demand field will prefer a BSN. The more education and experience you receive, the better.
According to the Commission for Case Manager Certification, nurse case managers with a BSN earn an average of $80,000 per year. Over half of those nurses who are executive-level certified case managers earn more than $100,000 annually. To begin making the transition to this career, gain experience in management roles and switch to practice settings.
3. Legal Nurse Consultant
A legal nurse consultant has the unique opportunity to combine the fields of law and health care. Those RNs who have excellent organizational and critical thinking skills would make great medical consultants for attorneys and clients. Legal nurse consultants use their communication skills and knowledge of legal terminology to review documentation and analyze it against medical records. They are also asked to conduct research, identify standards of care and draft medical-legal documents.
Other responsibilities for the legal nurse include participating in client interviews, assembling trial evidence, and providing expert court testimony. Benefits of this specialty role include regular work hours, the ability to work in the comfort of an office, and a higher salary than many other RNs. Search job openings in your area for more information. The role may even inspire you to become a nurse with a law degree in the future.
4. Psychiatric Nurse
If you want to work in a clinical environment but do something different, psychiatric nursing is a growing and rewarding field. You will work alongside a team of psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers to provide mental health care to patients. While some psychiatric nurses work in hospitals and outpatient facilities, others work as consultants. Primary responsibilities include assessing patients’ needs, creating treatment plans and managing medications. They may also provide counseling services or educate families.
As a psychiatric nurse, you will gain additional skills in problem-solving, communication, and empathy. You can also prepare yourself to earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing (DNP) and become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). Benefits of becoming a mental health nurse include good pay, career security, and job satisfaction. You will also get to work in a variety of patient care settings.
5. Certified Dialysis Nurse
A certified dialysis nurse (CDN) cares for patients with advanced kidney disease. Some of their primary responsibilities include educating patients and families about their condition, recording patients’ medical information, and assessing patients before they receive treatment. They also monitor for adverse reactions during dialysis, manage fluid balance, and communicate treatment needs or changes to physicians. Since they are part of such an essential specialty with the need for advanced knowledge and skills, RNs will need to obtain certification as a CDN, as well as at least 2,000 hours of experience caring for nephrology and dialysis patients over two years.
To stay certified, it is essential to complete 15 hours of continuing education in nephrology. While you are an important part of your patients’ life-saving treatment, you will also be a part of an in-demand specialty career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all jobs in nursing are expected to grow by seven percent in the next several years, while you can earn an average of $72,000 per year.
Ready for a fresh, flexible, or challenging role as an advanced nurse? One of these specialty careers is sure to make you feel rewarded both personally and professionally. Match a job that you are interested in with your educational goals, your personality and your patient values. You will be amazed at just how exciting and life-changing a new role in nursing can be.