Getting a master’s degree in nursing, also called an MSN degree, is a very smart career move. All the signs point to very strong job demand for most of the advanced nursing practice professions, including nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife and clinical nurse specialist.
The next decade appears to be poised to be a great one for nurses in these advanced fields, with a 31% increase in job demand. Anyone who wants to spend their career as a nurse would be wise to get their MSN and focus on these top jobs:
#1 Nurse Practitioner (NP)
Do you want to do many of the same jobs as a doctor, but take much less time to get through school and still be very well paid? A nurse practitioner career could be for you. You will serve as a primary and specialty care medical provider and will manage patient health, just as physicians do. Many NPs decide to focus on specific branches of health care:
- Mental health
To practice in this profession, you must obtain your certification by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
#2 Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
This is another advanced nursing practice position in great demand where you can earn a high salary and do many of the same roles as a full MD, but go to school less than half as much. A nurse anesthetist provides most of the same anesthesia services as a full doctor. They also provide pain management services as well as many ER services.
CRNAs perform very important jobs because all patients may react different to anesthesia. Ensuring that the patient is given the right drug and the right amount takes a high degree of skill.
To be a practicing CRNA, you have to pass the National Certification Examination offered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for CRNAs.
#3 Nurse Midwife (CNM)
Nurse midwives do very demanding jobs but are very popular and in demand, and are paid very well. They provide all types of care to women specifically related to childbirth and the female reproductive system. Their most common duties are delivering babies, performing gynecological examinations, and providing pre- and post-natal care for women.
One of the common misconceptions about this field is that CNMs only deliver babies. This is an important role that they play, but this is a small part of a CNM’s daily job. In fact, CNMs spend just 10% of their day on delivering babies. Approximately 90% of the CNM’s daily job is for primary care and preventative care.
CNMs work very closely with doctors. When the CNM and the doctor work together as they should, the women and her baby receive the best combination of primary and preventative care.
You must be certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board to practice in this profession.
#4 Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
A CNS is an expert clinical nurse in a highly specialized field of nursing. The speciality can be based upon a population, such as pediatrics; a setting such as trauma or ER; or a disease, such as diabetes.
As a CNS works in this specialty, they become experts in that area and provide direct patient care. They further lead initiatives to boost care and clinical outcomes in that area or population. CNSs are very important in helping the national healthcare system to address complex diseases and health care issues.
Whichever speciality you decide upon, you will need to have certification in it from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
#5 Nurse Educator (CNE)
A nurse educator is another advanced practice registered nurse with an advanced nursing education. Most CNEs work for several years as RNs before they move into nursing education.
Nurse educators serve important roles on the faculty of nursing schools and in teaching hospitals. They share their vital knowledge about the field to prepare the next generation of nurses. Among their duties are to develop innovative lesson plans, teach classes, evaluate educational programs, oversee the clinical practice of their students and serve as mentors for student nurses.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports that there has been a chronic shortage of nurse educators for several years. In fact, US nursing schools in 2014 had to turn away more than 69,000 nursing students from BSN and MSN programs because they did not have enough nurse educators.
#6 Nurse Administrator
For the experienced clinical nurse who wants to transition into nursing management, becoming a nurse administrator is a viable option. Nurse administrators perform important roles in managing nursing staffs in hospitals and medical centers.
They will usually work with a staff of nurses and patients to better coordinate nursing care. Many nurse administrators may have less contact with patients, as their main duties are to ensure that the nursing staff is functioning well as a whole.
A nurse administrator’s chief role is to allocate correct nursing resources and to regularly assess whether the nursing staff is meeting patient needs.
A nurse administrator also will plan the schedule for nursing staff and set the budget. You will need to work as a liaison between the senior management for the hospital and the nursing staff, which can be a challenge. Still, being a nurse administrator is an excellent career move for the nurse who wants to work more in administration and management. Most nurse administrators are able to work a regular schedule and do not generally work 12 hours shifts as regular staff nurses do.
#7 Informatics Nurse
Some nurses want to move away from clinical practice and focus on nursing information management. An informatics nurse works in this very important position. He or she integrates nursing as well as its knowledge and information, with information management and the latest communication technologies that promote public health.
The best path into this field is to either earn your Masters in Nursing degree or a Master’s in Information Science with a speciality in nursing or health care.
For nurses who want to enjoy highly rewarding work that pays very well, all of these nursing positions are worth strong consideration.