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The future is bright for travel nurses in general, but certain nursing specialties are beginning to draw attention.
Retiring nurses and those choosing to work less than full time will continue to fuel a need for new nurses. ER and pediatric care professionals are always needed by short-staffed hospitals, and that’s not expected to change any time soon. In addition, societal conditions are setting the stage for unprecedented new nursing opportunities in the areas of informatics, genetics, ICU and geriatrics, too. If you are interested in one or more of the following nursing specializations, consider investing some time in continuing education or certification online.
Technology’s ever-expanding capabilities, combined with the mandatory electronic health records (EHRs) conversions occurring across the country, are creating demand in a unique specialty: informatics nursing.
These nurses, who specialize in integrating computer science and health science, will help develop and improve upon new electronic medical record systems. The EMR system will document care, store basic patient data and provide evidence of practice, enabling consistent information sharing across each patient’s care team—while maintaining accuracy and security. Electronic health records will help bring about efficient, well-coordinated care and should result in healthier patients while reducing healthcare spending.
It’s estimated that the North American EHR market could reach $10 billion by the end of 2015.
Consequently, many universities are offering continuing education opportunities in Nursing Informatics online and on campus. Graduates of nursing informatics programs will work in a variety of health care organizations. Nurses’ familiarity with the medical workflow will also be needed at technology companies, helping to develop useful software and systems to organize patient information and document care. Nurses will also work for the federal government, developing documentation standards, and gathering or converting initial information.
Intensive care nurses will continue to be sought after because industry-wide patient care goals increasingly focus on maintaining health and keeping all but the sickest patients out of the hospital. In addition, more surgical procedures and advanced medical treatments can now be performed on an outpatient basis. This means that the hospitalized patient population is sicker overall and a greater percentage of them will need complex, high-acuity, high technology critical care.
Additional ICU nursing opportunities will be available across the board in general intensive care, CICU (cardiac care), pediatric ICU and neonatal ICU. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses recently estimated that there are over 500,000 ICU nurses in the US and that number is only increasing.
Geriatric nursing, along with home health and hospice care, is also set to expand greatly as Baby Boomers reach old age, becoming more vulnerable to chronic illness and disease.
As one of the most in-demand nursing specialties, specialized gerontological courses and programs are increasing at nursing schools across the country.
NGNA (National Gerontological Nurses Association) notes, among US RNs, less than 1 percent are certified geriatric nurses, while seniors will make up 20 percent of the total population by 2030.
Genetics nursing is another wave of emerging specialty needs. What's more, the President's 2015 budget sets aside federal funding for personalized medicines and treatments based on patients unique genes, which will bring great attention to the genomics field. Genetics nurses treat conditions with a hereditary component such as Alzheimer's, cystic fibrosis and many more.
These specialized nurses work in many different settings where hereditary illnesses are studied or treated, including cancer centers, clinics for gene-based therapy, primary care settings and more, according to the International Society of Nurses in Genetics (ISONG).
Since many in-demand specialty certifications and advanced practice degrees can now be pursued online, travel nurses have a unique opportunity to gain new nursing specialty certifications while working full-time.
If you choose your staffing agency carefully, you will find that some of the best companies offer continuing education benefits for nursing specialties to cover part of the cost of online education.