The nursing shortage has reached crisis level in healthcare facilities all over the United States, and there is no quick fix. Many nurses continue to leave the profession in the wake of burnout - or “moral distress,” as National Nurses United Director of Nursing Practice Gerard Brogan, calls it. With the “anguish of being unable to take the course of action that you know is right,” nursing colleagues who continue on are even more overworked and stressed.
Meanwhile, the hospitals that need them haven’t devoted adequate resources to educate the next generation of nurses, and nursing schools don’t have the faculty to accept more students. With all those factors at play, it’s no wonder nurses are rethinking their careers. Are you one of them?
When it comes to career opportunities for nurses, polish up your resume and consider one of these exciting avenues.
Nursing schools across the country need nursing professors. The nurse faculty vacancy rate was 6.5% in 2020, and more than half of nursing schools reported a need for full-time faculty.
Teaching options include:
- Clinical Nurse Educator - training nurses already employed in healthcare facilities
- Nursing Instructor – teaching in a classroom setting
- Nursing Professor – teaching at the university level
#2: Conduct research
If you enjoy the scientific side of medicine, consider moving into research. Growth opportunities for nurses exist in both academic and clinical settings. In this role, you’ll design and conduct studies, collect and analyze data, and report the results.
Nurse researchers impact the healthcare industry by finding ways to deliver care more efficiently and improve patient outcomes. You’ll also work with physicians and other healthcare professionals in a new way.
The caveat: you’ll need a Ph.D.
#3: Become a specialist
Some of the highest-paid nurses have highly specialized roles. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) earn a mean annual salary of $189,190 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For whichever specialty you select, you’ll need some additional education and licensing to get started. Nurse specialties require an RN license, graduation from a master’s program, and a passing grade on the National Certification Examination. Many specialties require specific nursing certifications.
More high salary specialty options include:
- General Nurse Practitioner
- Clinical Nurse Specialist
- Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
- Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse
#4: Think outside the box
Who says you have to work in a hospital? A wide variety of industries need nurses.
If you like to travel and don’t get seasick, consider becoming a cruise nurse. If you’d rather stay on dry land, explore opportunities at pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, or within the legal system and forensics. Large manufacturing companies also need nurses in occupational/industrial health. If you like to write, consider moving into grant writing, science writing, or medical writing.
#5: Go independent
If, like many healthcare professionals, you want to set your own schedule and work in a variety of settings, now is the perfect time to become your own boss. Experienced RNs are in high demand right now, as short-staffed hospitals work to maintain optimal nurse-to-patient ratios.
Travel contracts can be high paying, but can also come with drawbacks. They often don’t gel well with the need for a flexible schedule. If you want to be home to pick up the kids from school or take care of a loved one, consider per-diem.
It’s simple to chart your professional - and financial - future as a per-diem professional with CareRev’s on-demand platform. While you apply, interview, and post your profile on our mobile app, our healthcare facility partners upload their shift needs to the platform.
As a CareRev professional, you can view and accept nursing shifts right from your smartphone. Work when you want - where you want - with no long-term commitments.
- pick up a one-day shift or a six-week assignment at a healthcare facility near you
- pick up extra shifts when you’d like
- take time off when you need it
- only work holidays when you want
- achieve a healthier work-life balance that will allow you to bring your best self to every shift
You can expect to:
- be paid twice a week through direct deposit
- earn bonuses for your referring your healthcare colleagues once they complete two shifts through CareRev
- take advantage of our preferred partner offers, including affordable health insurance with Stride Health
- get support from a growing community of your qualified industry peers when you need it
Click here to learn how it works to become a CareRev nurse - including how we verify your credentials to match you with the most relevant opportunities.
Nursing professionals will continue to be in demand for years to come. Now is the time to consider career options in the field that can redefine your future.