Ever wonder what the most popular types of nurses are? As we get ready to ring in the new year, it might seem like frontline workers in health care are the most needed and most popular. Nursing students who will soon be headed out into the workforce may want to know what facets of the field have the most needs looking ahead into 2021.

We spoke with Dina Neilsen, Senior Manager of Learner, Career, and Alumni Services as well as the Emergency Committee Co-Chair at Nightingale College to find out about the most popular types of nurses in 2020.

When you say “popular,” what does this mean? The types that have the most nurses working in them? The types that nurses want to work in? Please explain.

This breaks down into a couple of answers—a prospective nurse might want to know what specialties are in highest demand, while others might want to know which are better paid, and which levels of education would need to be completed to work in a desire field.

Each job comes with its distinct set of responsibilities and has particular attributes: some pay better, others are less stressful, while some have the highest growth potential. To make the most out of a nursing career, each individual must decide which aspects are more relevant to them and pursue the position that best fits their aspirations.

Because of the pandemic, have frontline workers become one the most popular types of nurses in 2020? If not, why not?

While there isn’t much data given how recently the pandemic hit, it’s likely that there has been a surge in frontline medical workers. However, the pandemic itself will likely not change the overall top nursing careers.

What are the top popular types of nurses in 2020? Why are they? What has changed in the field to make the more popular if they weren’t in the past?  

The top 20 nursing careers, based on salary and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are:

  1. Registered nurse
  2. Pediatric nurse
  3. Nurse practitioner
  4. Oncology nurse
  5. Emergency Dept. nurse
  6. Clinical nurse specialist (working in specialized units focused on a particular area of medicine)
  7. Nurse case manager
  8. ICU nurse
  9. Nurse educator
  10. Travel nurse (short-term assignment)
  11. Certified dialysis nurse
  12. Operating Room nurse (Perioperative nurse)
  13. Surgical nurse practitioner
  14. Psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner
  15. Cardiac/cardiovascular nurse
  16. Nurse researcher
  17. PACU nurse
  18. Home health nurse
  19. Certified registered nurse anesthetist
  20. Certified nurse midwife

These are the specialties that are sought after by most hospitals, especially in the conditions of the nursing shortage looming ever-so-intensely over the United States.

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