The decision to embark upon nursing career is a big one, but choosing a specialty within the nursing profession can be a far more difficult choice to make.
The list of potential specialty nursing jobs is almost ever increasing as changes in global health issues and technological advances in the health care field create new areas of concentration. More traditional specialties such as dialysis and labor and delivery are still in need of qualified nursing candidates as well.
These four nursing specialties are not only in demand, they also provide an opportunity for nurses to put their talents and training to use in unique and interesting ways:
1. Health Care Systems Management
One specialization option for nurses pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is Health Care Systems Management (HCSM).
This interdisciplinary program encompasses not just health care courses but also educates master's candidates on research methods, using informatics in health care, data management, financial resources, and human resource management in health care.
Nurses with a degree in HCSM may work directly with patients but also oversee and lead teams with members across many different departments, making sure that each cog in the collective machine is working efficiently and expertly at all times. This specialty is a chance for nurses to have a far-reaching impact on patient care as well as on the overall systems and employees of a hospital, clinic, or other similar entity.
2. Health Promotion
Health Promotion revolves around the idea that good health is much – if not more – about preventing illnesses and injuries as is about treating them.
Nurses who choose to concentrate their efforts on a Health Promotion specialty will spend much of their time interacting with the public, demystifying common yet often life-threatening illnesses like cancer, heart disease, sexually transmitted diseases, and diabetes.
Within the Health Promotion specialty there is still room for nurses to concentrate their efforts within a particular medical sub-specialty. For instance, nurses working in women's health who also wish to focus on Health Promotion might educate women on the need for yearly pelvic exams, introduce them to birth control options, and discuss the proper way to conduct home breast exams.
There are also opportunities for addressing public safety issues, such as campaigns that promote the use of bike helmets or seat belts, working with the elderly, or fighting domestic abuse or the needless spread of childhood diseases.
3. Nursing Informatics
For nurses who think a marriage between health care and computer science sounds interesting, Nursing Informatics offers up a blend of the two.
As the health care industry continues to embrace technology and become more and more digitally based, there is a need for nurses who understand the medical terminology and who are also qualified to assist in integrating the digital aspect. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included a staggering $1 billion set aside just to cover projects involving the acquisition and digitization of health records so that the American health care system can evolve into the electronic age.
Nurses who graduate with a Nursing Informatics degree or concentration may find work helping health care organizations to develop systems connecting them with other institutions and streamlining patient care. The goal is to improve both quality of care and efficiency, which saves everyone time and money in the end.
4. Occupational Health Nursing
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 3 million non-fatal workplace illnesses reported by U.S. employers in 2013, which works out to around 3.3 reported cases per 100 full-time workers. These incidents result in lost wages for the employee and out-of-pocket costs (for decreased efficiency as well as related financial concerns like worker's compensation costs) for the employer, causing many companies to begin employing nurses who specialize in occupational health.
Nurses who opt for the Occupational Health Nursing specialty work to assess potential risks in the work place, working with their employers to develop plans of action to reduce risk and make the environment safer for all involved. Issues may include everything from using ergonomic furniture or accessories to preventing repetitive motion injuries to establishing broad guidelines that change the face of an entire industry.
Specializing in Occupational Health Nursing also offers nurses the chance to work outside of a health care setting, creating more opportunities for employment in industries across the spectrum.
These four specialties are major players in the nursing field in 2015. If you’re serious about a nursing career, it’s worth your while to explore these options.