If you aspire to become a nurse, to render critical services to those with health care needs, then you are probably already aware of the fact that nursing skills and credentials are in high demand, and that they will offer you an exciting career path with real stability and job security. Generally, Registered Nurses are the most highly in-demand brand of nurse, commanding a median annual wage well above that of most national and state averages- and they are projected to rise significantly by the year 2025.
In order to really thrive as a nurse, however, many RNs opt to earn additional degree certifications, to go for a masters in nursing practitioner’s degree, (MSN) and to specialize in one or another particular area of nursing practice. This will boost the earning potential of these professionals and help them to qualify for more prestigious positions at more reputable hospitals. Some MSN holders may even be able to open their own healthcare clinics.
To help you choose which nursing career is right, and most appealing to you, we’ve compiled this brief list of some of the best-paying specialties for MSN certified nurses, what you will learn, and how you can get started on your journey to becoming an advanced practice nurse. Remember that salaries will vary significantly based the employer and location where you practice. See all Nurse Practitioner careers and salary by state.
- General Nurse Practitioner – The advanced nursing designation of general nurse practitioner will grant you access to professional roles wherein you’ll perform much of the same duties and fulfill the same responsibilities that professionals with an RN license would do. You may, however, choose to open up your own independent practice where your advanced skills will greatly broaden your earning potential.
- Family Nurse Practitioner – Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) will fulfill many of the same duties and responsibilities of a general practitioner. FNPs perform many, if not most of the same purposes as an MD. These professionals will work in a clinic, medical office, hospital, or nursing facility. Among their chief responsibilities include prescribing medications, delivering treatments, holding patient consultations, patient assessments, and more.
- Clinical Nurse Specialist – Nurse practitioners who wish to work in a specialized clinic or medical unit may consider taking a course of training as a clinical nurse specialist (CNS). In addition to delivering diagnosis and treatment for various diseases and health conditions, as a CNS, you will be regarded as a specialized expert on your health care provider team. These professionals may also specialize in the treatment of one of many specific illnesses.
- Pain Management Nurse – A Pain Management Nurse (PMN) helps to manage patient pain after surgery. They may work with patients who suffer from chronic pain issues. A PMN works as part of a health care team helping to determine the origin of the pain and providing recommendations for the best course of treatment. They may also educate their peers, patients, and the public about the risks of pain management in an effort to help patients and families to avoid addiction and dependence.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) – This highly skilled professional designation involves the preparation and administration of anesthesia to patients working closely in collaboration with anesthesiologists, surgeons, podiatrists, dentists, and any number of other qualified healthcare professionals, as specified by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.
- Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner – For those nurses who have an interest in the field of mental health, choosing a career as a psychiatric nurse practitioner (PNP) will give those so trained the opportunity to work under the supervision of a psychiatric physician and to serve and counsel patients diagnosed with and being treated for mental health disorders.
- Informatics Nurse – This is where the time-honored discipline of nursing, meets modern information technology. According to the Association of American Medical Informatics, informatics nursing professionals integrate nursing, its tools, techniques, and expertise, with the management of data and communication technologies in order to better promote public health.
- Neonatal Nurse – Nurses who have a genuine love of newborn babies may be inspired to follow a career path where caring for newborns is their primary function. Such individuals will find a career as a neonatal nurse highly personally rewarding. This Neonatal nursing specialty earns its practitioners an attractive salary, especially for nurses with an MSN degree.
- Critical Care Nurse – To become a critical care nurse (CCN), you will need a highly specialized set of medical skills as you will be handling the emergency care of patients in the throws of life-and-death injuries and conditions. Often, many such professionals will work in an intensive care unit (ICU). This is an intense and fast-paced environment with long hours, often working on-call. There are innumerable life-threatening conditions that a CCN must deal with- from car accident victims to the victims of violence, heart attacks and much, much more. These professionals must have strong nerves, a cool temperament, quick wits and will be held to among the highest levels of professionalism in the entire medical industry.
- Health Policy Nurse – Nurses who are passionate about the state of public health policies- and policies that affect the public health, becoming a health policy nurse (HPN) will lead those who select this career track into advocacy roles, clinical and statistical research, big data analysis, public policy development, as well as influencing public policy implementation and evaluation. These professionals often become leading members of their communities and are sought after for their expertise and leadership abilities.
- Medical-Surgical Nurse – Medical-Surgical Nurses (MSN) provide a critically important support system for doctors and surgeons as they operate on the front lines of the medical industry. They are the face of the nursing profession and represent a wide range of pay grades. More advanced practitioners command the best salaries. Because these professionals carry such a great proportion of the burden of medical practice, those who excel in this role and manage to advance will be considered to have entered into a specialized area of medicine.