Nurses have long been viewed as the most imperative component of patient care. They serve as the educator, care taker and communicator. In most patient satisfaction surveys, the score is directly correlated to a patient’s experience with their nurse. It is no wonder that it has become one of the most in demand fields in healthcare today as it estimated to have a growth potential of 28% in the coming years. Below you will find a few of the fastest growing career options in the nursing industry today.
NURSING INFORMATICS ANALYST
There is a growing usage of technology within healthcare with has a direct impact on the nursing profession. A Nursing Informatics Analysts has the responsibility of working with the technical department to ensure that applications are user friendly and set up appropriately. In addition, they can mitigate potential set up problems that might cause documentation errors which can directly impact patient safety. An analyst will also be responsible for statistics and reporting. They will provide important data elements around patient care, nursing utilization and other clinical information to leadership teams within a health system. In order to qualify for this type of position, one must have at least two years of experience as an RN and pursue additional certifications. The average salary for a Nursing Informatics Analyst is $80,600.
Decreasing the overall expense of healthcare is a standing initiative for our federal and state governments. One of larger components of the Affordable Care Act was an initiative to increase the number of cost effective access points that patients have to the healthcare system since many uninsured patients would only interact with the system at the most expensive points of entry such as the emergency room. A potential resolution to this problem is the Nurse Practitioner. They can provide almost 80% of the primary and preventive care that most patients require as they have the skill set to diagnosis, complete treatment programs and educate on preventative care at a lower cost than a specialized physician. The demand for nurse practitioners will continue to grow with healthcare reform. The average salary of a nurse practitioner is $91,500.
As the baby boomer population approaches the retirement age, a substantial number of individuals will begin to qualify for Medicare coverage. Since the allotted dollar amount for this program will not be able to grow at the same rate as the population that will need to access it, it is critical that preventative care in this age group become a focus as this is the number one way to reduce the cost of care. For this reason, the demand for nurses that hold advanced degrees in geriatric care is at an all time high. These nurses are specialized in provide holistic care to the aging population across the entire continuum of care. While their employers can range from private practices to hospitals, they all have the same goal to diagnosis and treat patients long term conditions and care. The average salary for a Gerontology nurse is $96,500 and this field is expected to grow 31% in the next ten years.
NURSE CASE MANAGER
While decreasing the cost of healthcare is an important focus it cannot occur at the cost of patient safety or care. In order to ensure that focus is providing quality care in the most cost effective manner possible, there is a growing need for Nurse Case Manager. This role is a liaison between the payer, provider and patient. The case management will monitor the progress of the patient, communicate with the insurance company when appropriate, suggest alternative care options, and educate the patient about post discharge care to avoid the need for re-admission. They will also evaluate if the patient has sufficient post-discharge support for the best outcomes. The average salary of a nurse case manager is $70,000 and will continue to grow in order to stay aligned with federal and state quality care initiatives.
With the demand for nurses growing exponentially, so does the demand for educators in the nursing industry. Currently, there is a shortage of educators and many qualified individuals are not able to enter nursing school. Not only does a shortage impact potential nursing students but it impacts the ability for existing nurses to complete necessary continuing education courses to ensure knowledge is maintained and treatment methods are current. In this role, a certified nurse will design and deliver education programs at hospitals, universities or online. The average salary for Nurse Educators is $84,000.
CLINICAL NURSE SPECIALIST
The Clinical Nurse Specialist role is also growing as hospitals have an increased focus on delivering consist and quality care. These individuals focus on becoming an expert on clinical care and provide leadership thought and develop policies around case management, education and overall clinical improvement. This requires leadership ability, analytical skills and a passion for process improvement. The average salary for a Clinical Nurse Specialist is $96,000 annually.
While nurses have always been a critical component of patient care, they now are key to ensuring that future initiatives are deployed in a manner that keeps quality and cost effective patient care at the core of policy implementation. There will continue to be new and innovative roles created that will allow for career growth in the nursing industry and will hopefully assist in maintaining talent long term.