April 17th, 2013 | The Blog
While the field of healthcare in general is growing at an exceptional rate, the area of nursing is seeing some of the most dramatic growth. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that job growth for registered nurses (RNs) is expected to increase at a rate of 26 percent through the next ten years. This is great news for RNs looking into specialties to help gain an advantage in areas where the job market remains exceedingly competitive.
For nurses who have already decided on their niche area and want to add additional expertise to their nursing credentials, online courses can help achieve the education needed to qualify for certification in many specialties. Blending different areas of nursing expertise can be a smart approach to building job security and versatility, and opening future doors for leadership roles.
Registered nurses who enjoy the adrenaline rush of emergency room settings and the challenges that come along with complex cases may decide to combine specialties such as cardiac nursing, critical care nursing and emergency and trauma nursing. This combination of specialties may help an RN gain a much wider range of professional opportunities. Below you?ll find a brief description of each of these fields. Consider the following when deciding if blending specialties may be a good choice for you and your career.
Cardiac Nursing – Cardiac nurses are experts at understanding conditions related to the heart and supporting systems. These professionals understand pharmaceutical treatments as well as technological tools inherent to treating this special group of patients. Patients dealing with cardiac challenges are a diverse group of individuals. As such, cardiac nurses must demonstrate flexibility and compassion when interacting with heart patients and their families. Cardiac nurses may choose to work in hospitals, assisted living facilities, out-patient centers or treat patients at home through home healthcare networks.
Critical Care Nursing – Critically ill patients require intensive monitoring. Critical care nurses are responsible for administering medication, performing certain procedures, documenting any condition changes and communicating with family members and doctors about the status of the patient. While critical care nursing encompasses more than just the needs of cardiac patients, a nurse who wants to work with cardiac patients in a variety of specialized settings may also achieve credentials as a critical care nurse. This complementary specialty area may help a registered nurse gain professional flexibility and achieve the experience needed to handle more complex cases.
Emergency and Trauma Nursing – Along with cardiac and critical care nursing, emergency and trauma nurses also handle complex medical events with calm, calculated professionalism. Like those who handle cardiac events, emergency and trauma nurses generally do best in fast-paced, high pressure situations where an entire team of people are involved in patient care at the same time. When combining specialties related to emergency and trauma work, many nurses also choose to pursue flight nurse training for a coveted flight nurse position.
Is Blending Specialties Right for You?
If the constantly changing, fast-paced environment of emergency rooms and trauma centers is professionally desirable, then pursuing specialty areas in a combination of trauma care, critical care and cardiac care may be of particular value to your career. In addition to the course work needed to secure a combination job in these areas, a registered nurse also needs plenty of practical experience. Becoming active in a professional organization and seeking career mentoring is one way to gain experience in one area while still working in a different specialty area. Signing up for shifts that allow newer nurses to perform general nursing duties while at the same time working alongside those already performing the desired specialty skills can be an additional way to help grow expertise.
When combining skills, some seasoned nurses may also decide to specialize in a particular sub-set of the population such as newborns, school-aged children or senior citizens. Combining specialties and developing skills related to proficiency in a particular healthcare setting may also provide great experience for an eventual leadership role.
According to the BLS, registered nurses earn a median salary of approximately $62, 000. Leaders in healthcare settings and those who can fill multiple roles may earn over $80,000. Top hospital administrators generally earn over $100,000 per year and generally hold a master?s degree. When planning the strategy for a long-term career, it is important to consider ways to maximize tuition dollars and capitalize on years of experience. While the nursing jobs most in-demand will fluctuate based on geographic and demographic factors, choosing complementary specialty areas may be one way to secure a versatile, lucrative and personally rewarding career as a registered nurse.