5 Most Popular Nursing Jobs

Healthcare in the United States today is evolving faster than anyone can imagine. With new medical technology and a need for more specialized nursing expertise, exciting new career opportunities are now available for nurses of all ages.

Today, more and more nurses are enjoying financially and emotionally rewarding careers outside of traditional hospital and medical clinic environments. New nursing programs like forensic nursing, military nursing and legal nurse consulting are opening new career paths.

If you’re interested in a career in nursing but want to try something new and exciting in the field, checkout the 5 hottest jobs in nursing today.

1. Military Nurse

A career as a nurse in the U.S Army really is something different. Aside from the prestige and privileges that come with being a commissioned officer in the United States Army, you will have access to a wide variety of educational, travel and career growth opportunities as a military nurse.

Military nurses work in close collaboration with military physicians, pharmacists, dietitians, therapists and other health care professionals to help take care of U.S soldiers and their families at home and abroad. When you sign-up to serve as a nurse in the military you can expect to receive generous financial assistance for completing your nursing programs. Along with work related bonuses, low-cost housing, specialized nursing training and the opportunity to apply your skills around the globe.

The U.S military has some of the most advanced medical technology on earth at its disposal. Your professional skills and training will be put to great use in medical facilities than are often more advanced and cutting-edge than there private sector counterparts. Nurse-to-patient ratios are also exceptional.

The U.S Army also encourages and supports ongoing learning. They will support you if you want to specialize in a particular field of nursing including obstetrics, gynecology, critical care, nurse anesthesia, community health, psychiatric and mental health and preoperative nursing. As well as advanced practice nursing roles such as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists.

If you’re ready to specialize or pursue an advanced degree, the Army has a number of programs than can help. You may qualify to receive tuition, pay and allowances that will let you focus your attention on learning. And if you have nursing school loans to repay, the Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program can help you repay up to $120,000 of those loans.

The U.S. Army health care team offers one more important benefit. You may choose active duty or serve in the U.S Army Reserve. This means that you could continue to work in your own community and serve when needed. As a military nurse you will enjoy competitive pay and a comprehensive benefits package that includes low or no-cost medical, dental and life insurance. Along with generous retirement plan options, exciting educational opportunities, financial incentives and much more.

2. Forensic Nurse

With the popularity of television shows like CSI Miami, CSI New York and Bones, there has been growing public interest in forensic science. This has also seen a rise in the popularity of forensic nursing as a career path.

Forensic nursing bridges the gap between health care and law enforcement. Forensic nurses provide care to victims and perpetrators of trauma or death due to criminal acts. You’ll be trained to not only treat injuries but also recognize and collect vital pieces of evidence while performing your nursing duties. From documenting injuries to collecting valuable DNA evidence, forensic nurses really are at the forefront of criminal justice. Part of your role will be to consult and assist assault victims, conduct physical examinations and collect evidence.

Nursing schools are just starting to realize the importance of forensic nursing and in the past five years a number of forensic nursing programs have started in colleges and universities across America to educate nurses that were treating victims of pediatric trauma, sexual assault and domestic violence.

Forensic nurses are being taught about how the legal system works, how to document information and what evidence looked like. Students get hands-on experience in coroner’s offices, hospital ERs, critical care units, law offices, police departments, correctional facilities or other places forensic nurses could end up working. Once they have completed their studies, forensic nurses find employment in hospitals, correction departments, and jails. Some forensic nurses also work independently as private consultants for law enforcement agencies or insurance companies.

Forensic nurses work with victims of rape, sexual assault, domestic violence and pediatric trauma, as well as victims of other violent or traumatic events. Forensic nursing offers an extraordinary career that makes the best use of your nursing skills and the special skills required in bringing criminals and other perpetrators of crime to justice. Forensic nursing is a unique, exciting and growing field of medical care.

3. Travel Nurse

Imagine being in the sunshine of L.A one day and the middle of the Rocky Mountains the next? Or helping with surgery in an uptown New York medical practice one week and then chilling out on the beach in Hawaii the next after working in one of the island’s hospitals.

As a travel nurse, that sort of lifestyle is no mere fantasy. You really have the freedom to choose the city where you’d like to work, the healthcare facility that appeals to you and often even the time that you would like to work. You have the upper hand every step of the way while also enjoying a great salary and plenty of perks.

As far as nursing careers go, nothing really compares to the experience and adventures that you enjoy as a travel nurse. You’ll get to work in some of the most prestigious and cutting-edge medical facilities in the United States. You’ll travel to exciting destinations to put your nursing skills to good use. And you’ll earn benefits that rival any permanent position.

Travel nursing also helps you build a better nursing resume and will make you more marketable as a nurse. But most importantly, travel nursing lets you take full control of your nursing career. With a growing shortage of qualified nurses across the country, you can find short-term work in man in hospitals and clinics.

All offer generous benefits for nursing stints that can range from one to two months up to half a year. Other bonuses usually include free or heavily subsidized housing along with sign-on and completion bonuses to nurses under contract.

4. Surgical Nurse

Surgical nursing is one of the oldest specialties in nursing. But it’s popularity has made a comeback in recent years as more and more nurses have decided to become valued members of a surgical team, assisting surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other medical professionals throughout surgery.

As a surgical nurse, you will assist during delicate organ transplants, precision laser incisions and quadruple heart bypasses, to name a few. From preparing patients before surgery to assisting the surgeon in the operating room to charting progress in recovery, monitoring vitals signs, alleviating discomfort and comforting anxious patients and their families.

Surgical nurses care for patients before, during and after the procedure. Your experience will provide you with a broad range of skills as you’ll work with patients with critical medical conditions and chronic illnesses. Another important part of your job as a surgical nurse is providing information to the patient’s family, other departments within the hospitals, doctors and the surgical team.

Being a surgical nurse is an exciting and rewarding career move. You really are at the forefront of critical patient care and your decisions can literally be the difference between life and death. After you get your diploma or degree, you’ll need to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), offered by the National Council for State Boards of Nursing.

Most surgical nurses begin their careers as general practice nurses before developing the specialized skills needed to succeed in the operating room. But the benefits of this responsibility are good. You can expect to earn between $65,350 and $92,860 per year while job opportunities are continuing to grow in this field.

5. Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC)

With personal injury claims on the rise, medical malpractice suits a growing occurrence and greater awareness of a patient’s rights, there is a huge opportunity today for nurses to become legal nurse consultants.

Your job is to offer advice to attorneys, paralegals and legal experts regarding medically-related issues of the law. A legal nurse consultant’s nursing education and clinical expertise uniquely qualifies her to analyze complex medical information and render informed opinions to attorneys in medical-legal matters. Legal nurse consultants assist attorneys in a wide variety of matters including medical malpractice, products liability, worker’s compensation, nursing liability, personal injury, wrongful death, toxic tort, sexual assault and criminal defense cases. You become somewhat of a medical detective.

Legal nurse consultants screen new cases, locate and interview medical experts and serve as a liaison between law firms, medical experts and other parties. You will be called upon to analysis medical records, interpret the notes of physicians and other nurses and prepare medical record chronologies, charts, diagrams and timelines. Legal nurse consultants also serve as expert witnesses and are often called upon to testify at trials, depositions, hearings and arbitration. As well as prepare expert witness reports for use at trial. To work as a legal nurse consultant you must be a fully registered nurse with a minimum of five years experience.

Many legal nurse consultants today have obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and some have more advanced degrees. Nurses generally enter the legal nurse consulting field by taking legal nurse consulting coursework or obtaining a legal nurse consulting certification. You can expect to gain employment in a law firm, insurance companies and other private institutions or work as an independent consultant. Your income can average between $50,000-$75,000, while independent consultants charge between $60–$100 per hour.