May 1, 2008 | American Society of Registered Nurses®
Nursing Today

Current Nursing Trends

One of the great things about nursing is its diversity.  There is truly something for everyone in this profession.  Once you've been in it awhile you also begin to know that there is also something for every stage of a single nurse's career as well.  In nursing, you can literally take yourself anywhere you want to go.

The biggest problem is that we still need more nurses than we have.  Where do we get these nurses?  How do we bring in enough help to get healthcare back up to the quality nursing standards we want to uphold?  It is a question every nursing school and nursing employer would like an answer to.  Unfortunately, the projections tell us we may never be able to keep up.

But, there is another side of nursing that we can affect.  Over the past few years, we have been seeing another influx of new specializations, career paths and degree programs to meet the needs of a changing world.  We have choices and opportunities to work in the area that brings us the most joy and satisfaction.  We also have the opportunity to go where we are most needed.  What are the current trends in patient population and new knowledge?  Where are you in highest demand?

Travel nursing, especially for the experienced nurse, remains one of the hottest employment areas for those who are willing.  Choosing travel means also choosing diversity, change and new challenges as well as excellent pay and in most cases even better benefits.  The most common locations for travel nursing are Arizona, California, Florida and Texas.  For those who have an adventurous spirit free travel, free housing and many other perks make travel nursing an attractive option.

If you're firmly planted in one area there are still multiple options.  For those with big hearts, end-of-life nurses are greatly valued for helping our aging population die with dignity.  Specialized infusion nurses successfully utilize medical advances such as implants and inserts for venous access needed for chemotherapy and long-term medication delivery.  You'll also find many opportunities for the neonate, operating room, critical care, or hemodialysis nurse.

Not your thing?  How about the newer field of nursing informatics?  We need a specialized set of nurses who can take their practical clinical skills and weave them into the world of information technology.  Nursing informatics are employed by corporations, teaching facilities, and hospitals for research, sales, technical training and even as systems analysts.  Informatics is appealing to the highly organized nurse who can assimilate new information quickly and effectively.  It also offers an attractive option for those who no longer want the physical demands of direct patient care.  Another tract for those leaving direct care is the role of legal nurse consultant.

For any nurse it will always be important to build on your previous education.  If you're looking toward an advanced degree, consider Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP).  These nurses provide care to the critical patient, often in the ICU or specialty critical care units.  Other areas of focus for the ACNP are psychiatry, anesthetics, or genetics.

The genetic nurse acts as a moderator between the critical genetic scientist who map human genomes to identify genetic connections for medical conditions and those that can be affected by this information.  As patient advocates, the genetic nurse takes the scientific conclusions and interprets them for individuals and families trying to make informed decisions about their care.

The general rule of thumb for your nursing career is: if you want to open doors of opportunity, specialize.

References

Nursing Job Markets. Nursing School.com. Accessed April 2008.

Planning Ahead: Thinking about a Career in Nursing.  Yahoo! Education. Accessed April 2008.

Sterzenbach, B. Emerging Trends In Nursing Jobs. My Online Nursing Degree. Accessed April 2008.

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