Photo Courtesy: Phalinn Ooi
Hype or no hype, it’s a great time to be a nurse. The medical field is changing, and with a greater focus on technology, elder care, and providing for low-income patients, there are plenty of emerging areas where nurses can take on unprecedented roles.
What does this mean for your paycheck?
According to Scrubs Magazine, nursing is a profession that pays higher than average. The average annual income for an RN is around $60,000, with nurses employed in private hospitals making slightly more. However, when new nurses are ready to choose a specialty, money shouldn’t be the only concern. The right niche for you should utilize your skills and enrich your life. But when you’re trying decide on a career, it’s helpful to know who exactly is on top of the financial hierarchy in nursing.
1. Nurse Anesthetist
Certified Nurse Anesthetists are at the top of the heap when it comes to income, with the average worker making $140,000 a year. CRNAs are considered Advance Practice nurses and given a lot of respect in the field. They administer anesthesia in all kinds of surgical procedures and work in many different facilities from emergency rooms, to dentist offices, to plastic surgeon offices, to delivery rooms. Because this job requires such a high level of certification and such intensive training, the demand for qualified CRNAs is high and expected to grow much higher in the coming decade.
2. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Most nurses in psychiatric wards have similar duties to the psychiatrists themselves, such as examining, diagnosing, and prescribing medication to patients with mental illness. They make $100,000 a year or more and can work in a variety of settings, both public and private, or even maintain their own private practice. A PMHNP bridges the gap between therapy and medicine, providing help to patients who are depressed, suicidal, addicted to drugs, or suffering from PTSD. Like Anesthetists, they require years of training to be properly certified.
3. Certified Nurse-Midwife
If you have undergone specialized midwifery and gynecological training, you can find financial success as a Certified Nurse-Midwife – a type of Advanced Practice nurse who serves as a healthcare provider for pregnant women. CNMs work in hospitals, birthing center clinics, or even with women intending to give birth at home. They can serve as the primary resource for healthy pregnant women or work in collaboration with a doctor to service women with high-risk pregnancies. Depending on the state and facility that employs them, they can make upwards of $90,000 a year.
4. Certified Orthopedic Nurse
Nurses who work in orthopedics deal with musco-skeletal deformities and irregularities due to a number of different conditions. In the past, they focused on children with polio, rickets, or scoliosis, but modern-day orthopedic nurses often work with elderly patients. Due to an aging population, the demand for professional nurses in this area is growing, because more patients than ever suffer from arthritis, osteoporosis, and diabetes. Many of them work in nursing homes, but they can also be found in hospitals and outpatient centers. They make as much as $85,000, with salaries increasing depending on your region.
5. Clinical Nurse Specialist
A CNS is a specific type of Advance Practice nurse that often handles the big picture when it comes to nursing. They’re an integral part of hospital staff who helps to integrate care between the patient, nurses, and hospital system. They work with other nurses to find the best approaches to problems, promote education and illness prevention tips to patients, and strive to reduce the average length of stay and health care costs for hospitals. All this earns them $80,000 per year for a job that is flexible, malleable, and full of research.
Almost without exception, the highest paying nursing jobs require years of training and certification, similar to what the doctors go through. It only proves how important nurses can be, and with the changes the medical field is going through, they will only become more important. Let nobody tell you that nursing is all about long hours and unfair pay. Nurses are making a difference in the lives of patients in every different setting and on every financial level you can imagine.
Writer Brett Harris is an avid blogger. Interested in starting a career in nursing? Consider looking into good online rn to bsn programs.