Nursing Careers, Which Path Is Right for You?

by Emma Rowlands

Nursing Career

When choosing a nursing pathway, there are a few considerations you will need to make, such as salary, working hours and future progression opportunities.

Luckily, the demand for nurses across the nation is set to increase by 20% by 2022, meaning there will be plenty of avenues open to you in the future.

Whether you've recently completed your nursing registration and are thinking about which specialty to start in, or you're an established nurse and want to change the direction you're headed, the following information may help you make these important decisions.

Nurse Researcher

A nurse researching position is ideal for someone who wants to step away from clinical duties and examine data and figures relating to all aspects of medicine and healthcare.

Nurse researchers gather information, analyze it and produce essential reports that present findings for other members of the research team to take forward.

This might involve drug development, groundbreaking medical trials and much more.

Nurses with several years of work experience can apply to become a nurse researcher. Although a general nursing degree is generally sufficient, if this type of role interests you, you might want to go the extra mile and obtain an Emerging Clinical Research Nursing Certification, which will better qualify you for the position. Nurse researchers can earn up to $95,000.

Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse

If you love pediatric nursing and want to take the next step, why not reach for a job as a pediatric endocrinology nurse?

These specialist nurses help young children living with conditions and diseases of the endocrine system.

The role not only involves caring directly for children, but educating parents about physical growth and sexual development problems associated with endocrine-system disorders. This also provides critical experience for a nurse who may be considering a future in nursing education, or advanced nursing practices. If you are still a nursing student, you can take elective courses in endocrinology and pediatrics to give you the skills and knowledge prior to the interview. Nurses in this specialty can earn up to $81,000.

Nurse Anesthetist

If you have experience working in critical care and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the operating room, you might want to consider going back to school in order to become a nurse anesthetist.

These nursing specialists are present during major operations, or minor outpatient surgeries, and require focus, a good depth of scientific knowledge and excellent communication skills.

While the role does require a master’s degree and a lot of hard work, it is one of the highest paying nursing professions out there. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median national annual salary for nurse anesthetists as of 2016 is $153,780.

Pain Management Nurse

Pain management nurses specialize in the management and treatment of acute or chronic pain.

The role requires excellent communication skills, patience and a great deal of scientific knowledge and problem solving acumen. Many pain management nursing positions are open to recent nursing graduates, and it can be a good place to begin a career given the diversity of the role. However, achieving a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) might be preferred in some cases, especially if graduate positions are not available. Although the salary range is vast, pain management nurses tend to earn a median salary of $78,000, which is slightly higher than the average nursing profession.

Certified Legal Nurse Consultant

To become a certified legal nurse consultant, you need to have a few years general nursing experience.

The purpose of the role is to work alongside a team of consultants and provide advice and guidance on medical legal cases.

The position is usually situated within a hospital setting, but some legal nurses work at law centers or even from home.

A big aspect of the role is the ability to undertake research and deliver objective, thorough and accurate findings so that critical legal and medical decisions can be made. Legal nurse consultants also provide vital assistance in developing hospital policy and risk assessments.

Most legal nurse consultants have no formal legal background or training when transitioning into the role. However, some candidates attend an optional paralegal program or achieve a certificate in a related subject prior to the interview.

The average salary for this nursing career is $62,000. For more information on taking this nursing route, you can read the introductory literature provided by the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants.

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There are many avenues open for exploration within the nursing profession, and your nursing career can progress in all sorts of interesting ways, depending on your preferences. While some positions are only accessible to those with Master’s degrees and a number of years of experience, others are happy to take on graduates from the outset. If you have your eye on a career that you're not currently qualified for, then further education opportunities, additional shifts and voluntary seminars might be available to attend in order to build up your portfolio.

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