10 Fastest-Growing Careers in Nursing

Many careers in nursing are on the upswing as the population grows and ages, pushing the demand for nursing expertise higher and higher. But while the whole of nursing is undoubtedly prospering, some specific nursing occupations are doing much better than others.

Licensed Practical Nurse

These nurses work under physicians and registered nurses to provide patient care. The bulk of an LPN’s duties is to carry out basic health care procedures, such as taking a patient’s vital signs and recording information on symptoms and treatment progression. Employment opportunities for this branch of nursing are expected to increase 21 percent during the 2008-18 decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Geriatric Nurse

The demand for these nurses will undoubtedly increase as the Baby Boomer population reaches retirement and elderly age. Geriatric nurses work with the elderly in alleviating age-related disabilities and ailments like impaired movement and heart conditions. Job growth is expected to increase a whopping 25 percent in nursing care facilities, where many geriatric nurses work, according to the Bureau.

Perioperative Nurse

These nurses work in operating rooms alongside surgeons. They are charged with the duty of preparing the room for a surgery, acting as an extra set of hands during the surgical procedure, and cleaning up after it is finished. Operating room nurse occupations are expected to increase as surgical work branches out to ambulatory surgical centers.

Ambulatory Care Nurse

As more health care services leave the hospital and begin popping up in physician offices, the demand for ambulatory care nurses will undoubtedly increase. These nurses work in physician offices, providing care and treatment to patients with a variety of illnesses and injuries. They work under the guidance of a physician. Nursing job opportunities in physician offices are expected to increase 48 percent during the 2008-18 decade, according to the Bureau.

Cardiovascular Nurse

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For this reason alone, the demand for cardiovascular nurses is expected to increase. In fact, as a large portion of the population enters its elderly years, which is when heart disease typically arises, more cardiovascular nurses will be needed to provide care. Cardiovascular nurses work with cardiologists in treating patients with heart conditions and heart surgery.

Gynecology Nurse

More and more women are beginning to understand the importance of regular visits to the gynecologist. Gynecology nurses work with gynecologists to provide care to female patients. They do not only work with patients on reproductive health, but may provide basic care for general illnesses and injuries as well. These nurses take vital signs and record treatment notes and progress reports.

Pediatric Nurse

These nurses work with babies and young children in providing basic care. They work under the guidance of pediatricians and have duties including taking vital signs, updating medical histories, and talking to the parents of patients about the child’s symptoms. With an increasing population, the demand for pediatric nurses will grow in response as well.

Long-term Care Nurse

The Baby Boomer population is reaching retirement and elderly age, inevitably driving up the number of patients suffering from mental deterioration and the aftermath of stroke. These patients typically need the help of long-term care nurses, who provide aid to patients who will need care for an extended period of time. Job growth is expected to increase 25 percent in nursing care facilities, where numerous long-term care nurses work, according to the Bureau.

Nurse Practitioner

Unlike regular registered nurses, nurse practitioners have more freedom in their work. They can act as general physicians and even run their own health care offices. The increasing cost of health care will drive many patients to seek out the aid of nurse practitioners rather than physicians because nurse practitioner services typically cost less. Yet, despite the decreased cost, these nurses still provide the same level of care as physicians.

Nurse Educator

The need for more nurse educators is obvious. With an increasing demand for nurses, there will need to be an increase in nursing students, which in turn will drive up the need for more nursing educators. Many nursing schools and programs are suffering from a shortage of qualified nursing educators, so this is a field that is rapidly growing and constantly hiring. In fact, there were a whopping 55,100 nursing educator jobs in 2008, according to the Bureau, and that number is expected to increase.