Nursing is one of the fastest growing occupations in the medical field. Nursing careers begin with an LPN or RN certification following an ASN or BSN degree. Some go on to pursue an MSN degree to advance their credentials and specialize in a specific field. We’ve compiled a list of five nursing jobs that we consider to be the best based on salary, flexibility, career outlook and environment.
- Nurse anesthetist: A CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) administers anesthesia to patients in collaboration with surgeons and anesthesiologists. To become one, you need to hold a bachelor’s degree in a science subject or nursing, be a licensed RN with one or more years of experience in an acute care setting, pass the anesthesia education program offered by institutions that are accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), and certification from the National Boards of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). These programs require rigorous prerequisites similar to med school, but you can earn an average of $130,000 on an annual basis upon completion.
- Nurse researcher: If you’re looking for advanced non-clinical positions in the nursing industry, becoming a nurse researcher could be an excellent choice. You can expect to earn $100,000 a year, and you will be involved in performing analysis and preparing reports based on researching data collected on pharmaceutical, medical and nursing products and/or practices in order to improve the practice of healthcare and medical services. Jobs for nurse researchers are available at private companies and in nonprofit organizations that work with health policy. While you’re eligible for the Research Nurse Certification Program if you’re an RN with a BSN, you stand a better chance of finding jobs if you hold an MSN degree or a Doctorate in Nursing.
- Travel nurse: If you love to travel and thrive on continuous change, becoming a travel nurse could be a great option for you. Travel nursing is ideal for those with a sense of adventure and a thirst for new challenges on the job. You can find work as a travel nurse even as an RN, but if you’re a specialist and have more experience, you stand a better chance of finding more lucrative and satisfactory positions. Travel nurses make more money than those who are tied to one location, so if you don’t mind living out of a suitcase, you can contact recruitment agencies and travel nursing companies to enquire about opportunities. Salary is often based on the location, the demand for nurses with your level of skill there, the healthcare setting you’re required to work in, and your negotiation skills.
- Nurse midwife: A Certified Nurse Midwife is responsible for providing primary care to women. They conduct gynecological exams, provide advice on family planning and prenatal care, assist in labor and delivery, and also provide neonatal care in conjunction with OBGYNs. You can earn around $85,000 a year in a variety of healthcare settings. To become a nurse midwife, you need to hold a master’s degree in nursing and complete advanced training and education in Nursing and Midwifery.
- Nurse practitioner: Nurse Practitioners are in high demand in the primary care sector, especially in rural locations that are underserved and in need of primary care physicians. They’re responsible for providing holistic healthcare for patients and assisting primary care physicians in routine examinations, recording patient history, providing preventive care advice, and helping patients manage chronic diseases like diabetes and asthma. Nurse Practitioners can also work on their own and provide primary care to patients, under the supervision and guidance of registered physicians. They can prescribe medication on varying levels, diagnose disease and refer patients to the required specialists. NPs earn $80,000 a year or more and must hold an MSN or higher degree in addition to being certified nationally in an area of specialty such as acute care, family medicine, women’s health, pediatrics or adult care, and being licensed by state nursing boards.