Rawsi Williams, U.S. Army Veteran, licensed attorney, and registered nurse (RN) with more than 20 years of healthcare experience said, “To do what nobody else will do, in a way that nobody else can do, in spite of all we go through, that is what it is to be a nurse.”
Through civil and world wars, global pandemics, and natural disasters, nurses have been at the forefront of adversity to help heal humanity for centuries—and the same remains true in the present. Unlike the past, nurses are no longer required to be experts in every field of nursing and instead, specialize in a particular discipline or disciplines, such as cardiac care, labor and delivery (L&D), surgical nursing, and hundreds more.
The need for highly qualified RNs only continues to increase with time and professional nurses have more specialization options to choose from now more than ever. With new and improved specialized healthcare training and experience, a whole new world of nursing has emerged.
The ever-growing demand for nurses
Have you ever been to a healthcare facility that didn’t employ nurses? Probably not. Because nurses are the backbone to the U.S. healthcare system as patient advocates, caretakers, cheerleaders, and more.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), RNs make up the “largest component” of the overall healthcare workforce with more than 3.8 million nurses in the U.S. The long-lasting national shortage drags on and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an upward of 200,000 new nursing jobs to become available by 2026.
Although the nursing shortage began around the 1940s, the current dilemma is unique and different from previous shortage experiences. Today, the AACN says there are “fewer nurses entering the workforce, acute nursing shortages in certain geographic areas [around the U.S.], and [fewer] nurses adequately prepared to meet certain areas of patient needs in a changing healthcare environment.”
One critical problem facing the present-day nursing shortage and overall workforce is the aging population of RNs, other nursing faculty, and Baby Boomers. In fact, the average age of an employed RN is 43 years old, with only 10 percent of the total workforce representing those younger than 30 years old. Plus, nursing school associates and professors are an average age of 49 to 52 years old. The ramifications of this aging community have affected the capacity of schools to educate and train adequate numbers of RNs.
So, how can we counter-balance the shortage? Luckily, just by being a nurse or other healthcare professional, you’re already making a huge impact on the industry, healthcare facility, and staffing agency, as well as each patient that receives your specialized care. So, keep it up!
Understanding nurse burnout
We all feel exhausted every now and then, but normal exhaustion is nothing compared to the burnout nurses experience. "Nurse burnout" is a term used to describe the "state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion caused by sustained work-related stressors." You know, long work hours, enhanced pressure to make quick and accurate decisions, as well as the struggle to cope with patients who have a bad outcome.
When combined with the national nursing shortage, nurse burnout is shrinking the RN workforce. In fact, a recent nationwide survey showed almost half of the nurses surveyed said they've highly considered leaving their profession due to feeling overwhelmed, plus a lack of job satisfaction. Burnout is something most travel nurses are familiar with, but those who work in high-risk specialties are even more "vulnerable to burnout because of their patients' intense needs and uncertain outcomes."
Nursing specializations that are making a buzz
As U.S. healthcare continues to become more complex, many RNs are choosing to hone-in on a specific niche or patient population so they can become experts in their healthcare field. There are a wide variety of diverse nursing specializations, each with their own certification and licensing requirements, and these are the ones currently making a buzz in the healthcare industry:
- Cardiac Care. These talented RNs specialize in heart health to help treat and educate patients with chronic or acute conditions. Typically, Cardiac Care Nurses provide care to patients before, during, and after cardiac surgery. This is a specialization for RNs who have a desire to help people improve their heart health.
Search for Cardiac Care travel jobs.
- Case Management. Someone has to be responsible for creating and implementing patient procedures and resources, right? Correct and you’re thinking of Case Management RNs. These healthcare professionals help coordinate effective and efficient patient care, develop patient resources, plus strategize various treatment plans. A career in Case Management Nursing is for those who are interested in improving processes and who have a passion for building patient relationships.
Search for Case Management travel jobs.
- Critical Care. As the title suggests, Critical Care Nurses work in emergency settings to provide crucial services that keep patients alive. That can include monitoring life support systems or tending to life-threatening injuries or performing diagnostic tests, and more. If you work well under pressure and find fulfillment in saving lives, this specialty may be for you.
Search for Critical Care travel jobs.
- Home Health. The Baby Boomer population is rapidly aging, reaching and exceeding retirement age, and as a result, more Home Health RNs are needed. These healthcare workers provide care to patients directly in their home to assist with mobility and daily treatments. This nursing specialization is ideal for RNs who prefer non-clinical care settings and enjoy making relationships.
Search for Home Health travel jobs.
- Labor and Delivery (L&D). L&D RNs are critical to our healthcare system since they work alongside physicians and midwives to bring new life into the world. In addition to the responsibility to care for mothers and infants throughout labor, delivery, and post-partum, L&D nurses offer emotional support, as well. To be an L&D nurse, you must have the temperament to handle stressful situations, make quick decisions on-the-spot, and express empathy for the mother’s medical and psychological needs.
Search for L&D travel jobs.
- Long-Term Care (LTC). The name says it all—LTC focuses on the needs of patients who require extended care due to illness(es) and disability/disabilities. LTC RNs assist patients across their lifespan, especially the elderly. They work in many healthcare settings, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, and skilled nursing centers.
Search for LTC travel jobs.
- Medical-Surgical. Central to a patient’s healthcare team, Medical-Surgical Nurses offer care to adults with diverse and complex medical conditions, as well as care for patients pre- and post-surgery. These RNs are empathetic and remain calm during stressful situations—is that you?
Search for Medical-Surgical Nursing travel jobs.
- Pediatric. Primary caregivers and educators to infants, children, and adolescents, Pediatric Nurses educate families and caretakers about treatment services and care for children with special healthcare needs. Since they work with kids, Pediatric RNs must have the ability to develop a trusting relationship with children and their parents, plus make them feel comfortable during situations of intense pressure.
Search for Pediatric Nursing travel jobs.
- Orthopedic. With expert knowledge on bones, joints, and muscles, Orthopedic Nurses care for patients with various body pains. Typically, these nurses conduct physical exams, prescribe treatment, and work alongside physicians and other RNs to generate a patient care plan that ranges from initial injury to discharge.
Search for Orthopedic Nursing travel jobs.
- Psychiatric. As more Americans place importance mental health, the need for Psychiatric Nurses also grows. Responsible for mental health diagnoses and medical prescriptions for people who suffer from mental health conditions, Psychiatric Nurses are wildly in demand as the need for adolescent, teen, and adult psychiatric services increases and substance abuse rises. Psychiatric Nursing is the perfect career for healthcare professionals who are passionate about mental health and wellness.
Search for Psychiatric Nursing travel jobs.
- Intensive Care Unit (ICU). This nursing specialization requires a one-of-a-kind skillset and is often referred as “one of the most coveted positions in nursing.” ICU RNs can subspecialize in adult, pediatric, or geriatric critical care to offer even more personalized patient care, if desired. Nurses in the ICU are generally in high demand because they have recurring experience with severe accident cases, significant and delicate surgeries, as well as trauma and other life-threatening situations.
Search for ICU Nursing travel jobs.
- Operating Room (OR). OR Nurses are incredibly talented and often pursued as they’re needed in hospitals, surgical centers, day-surgery centers, clinics, and other healthcare institutions. These professionals coordinate a surgeon’s supplies and instruments, ensure surgical equipment is functioning properly, maintain patient safety standards, plus monitor, record, and communicate the patient’s condition and needs to the interdisciplinary team.
Search for OR Nursing travel jobs.
Of course, there are many more nursing specializations out there for RNs. The beauty is it’s up to you to decide which specialty aligns closest with your healthcare career goals and your personality.
How to propel your nursing career with Fusion Marketplace
Don’t spend time sifting through ads and generic job boards to find your ideal nursing job. Instead, turn to Fusion Marketplace to simplify and streamline your job search process with access to multiple staffing agencies, effortless one-click apply functions, and visibility into nearby housing options. All you have to do is create your Marketplace profile.
Gone are the days of repeating information on application after application. Fusion Marketplace puts you in the driver’s seat and provides a one-stop-shop for you to upload and save your certifications, licenses, professional experiences, preferences, and more so you never have to worry about misplacing important documents.
Partnered with Furnished Finder, Fusion Marketplace provides lodging options nearby a specific travel job placement location. That way, once you’ve found that job posting that gives you butterflies, all you have to do is scroll and click to reserve your temporary housing in that area.
Regardless of your specialty, you work tirelessly to provide the highest level of patient care possible, and you deserve the same in return. As more nursing specializations emerge, you can count on Fusion Marketplace for all of your professional travel needs and healthcare resources.