Careers and jobs in nursing have changed significantly in the last decade. At its core, the job of a nurse remains patient centered. Technology, legislative action and other social factors have restructured what was once a female-dominated career focusing on nurses as assistants to doctors. Today’s nurses are empowered to take on more responsibilities as training requirements have intensified. The career track for nurses is graduated in a practical way so that certain functions are open to those who are just starting out with minimum training and the requisite license. As nurses hone their skills, enhance their education and build up their credentials, jobs with greater responsibilities and higher pay open up. Here are a few of the jobs available in nursing.
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Working in a hospital, outpatient facility or doctor’s office is the traditional career path for nurses. The tasks involve both patient care and administrative functions. The huge difference between then and now is that nurses working in hospitals and clinics have greater autonomy with advance practice nurses or physician assistants serving as supervisors instead of medical doctors. Administrative functions remain a key component of the job, but electronic records have made enhanced these functions. The level of skill and required credentials for facility-based nurses range from beginners to highly advance professionals in supervisory and managerial levels.
Community Health Practitioners
Community health nurses are typically involved with government or private organizations whose primary goal is to serve entire communities or demographics. These nurses should be familiar with research practices and would often be called upon to generate data for policy reports and investigative efforts. Community health nurses may be part of ongoing and widespread efforts to keep the community informed on health issues and to deliver the preventative services needed to manage diseases.
Skilled-Care and Long-term Care Nurses
Nurses who care for clients and patients in skilled care facilities are charged with their long-term care. They may not have to deal with emergency care situations apart from basic life support strategies because patients requiring critical care are moved to hospitals when the need arises. Instead, these nurses manage the day-to-day needs over extended periods of time, which is the typical situation for patients in long-term care facilities.
Hospice nurses are tasked with the care and management of patients facing end-of-life situations such as those who are terminally ill. This aspect of the nurses’ job may require regular home visits and close cooperation with social workers, families and spiritual persons to deliver holistic care to clients who may not live longer than six months.
Full-time school nurses are tasked with ensuring that the health issues of students are addressed appropriately by a qualified individual. The job may require supervision and implementation of medication schedules for chronically ill students, providing first aid care, and managing critical care situations as necessary. School nurses lead health information campaigns and support health initiatives, including vaccination and healthy eating campaigns.
Since the training and credentials required in different nursing jobs vary widely, so would compensation levels and demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics that this occupational sector would grow by 15 percent in the 10-year period between 2016 and 2026. This is higher than average and may even be a conservative estimate due to changes in the population that would enhance the need for nursing care services on different levels.