It takes time, education, commitment, and a lot of energy to become a nurse. You develop along the way and learn to bring in psychology, sociology, and personal attributes such as patience, understanding, and tough love. You work tirelessly — and your aching feet remind you that the hours are long. Nursing takes a special kind of person.
Does your salary match the energy you put forth at work every day? If not, there are many career possibilities within nursing you can tap into. Have you explored your options?
A nurse's salary depends on several factors, including expertise level, specialization area, and years of experience. There are several ways to increase your earning potential if you’re willing to pursue certifications or seek an employer who will pay a higher salary.
To be competitive in the nursing field, you must develop new skill sets and obtain certifications to build on your knowledge base and make you stand out. Going back to school or enrolling in certification programs can also have a major impact on nursing burnout. This additional training can fuel your passion and renew your sense of purpose.
A quality assurance nurse holds a bachelor's degree in nursing and may pursue a master’s degree in health care quality. As a nurse in this role, you might work in a hospital, doctor’s office, or clinic, and the position includes reviewing procedures and suggesting action plans to improve patient outcomes.
Certifications and specializations
Specializing in a niche area can give you opportunities to use skills you learned in your preferred area of study. Niche specializations include:
Wound care nurse — Managing existing wounds and preventing new ones requires a special skill set. Certification in this area could considerably increase your salary.
Nurse practitioner — Nurse practitioners require special certifications and usually master's degrees. As a practitioner, you’d likely perform many of the same functions as a doctor — but without the demanding work schedule.
Neonatal nurse — Caring for newborns in the neonatal unit is another specialty area that offers a higher pay rate. Pay is even higher still if you work in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Clinical nurse specialist — Nurses who decide to work in specialized clinics or units choose to take this path. It not only requires advanced skills and additional training — but could also yield you a higher pay rate.
Computers and health records
While they don’t include nursing-specific duties, behind-the-scenes positions often require those with specialized nursing business knowledge. In one of these positions, you'd oversee computer inputs, manage budgets, and provide HR functions.
Taking an active leadership role — even volunteering at hospital events — can help you prepare for a charge nurse position, according to the Nurseslabs article. It takes practice, listening skills, and leadership confidence, but these positions often offer great rewards.
Little else can advance your career as fast as learning and employing excellent communication skills. Communication is critical in patient care, dealing with co-workers, working with doctors, and handling patients' families. Good communication skills can help you appear more confident and credible, especially if you plan to be in a managerial role.
These are just a very few of the many options available to nurses for increasing earning potential. Thinking about one yourself? Investigate the possibilities and choose something you’re passionate about. It’s never too late to specialize!
If you'd like more information or need answers to your toughest nursing questions, we at Health Providers Choice are always ready to help. Contact us online or call us at 888-299-9800.
Rosemarie Torrento has worked in health care for more than 26 years, beginning as a registered nurse in 1988. Early in her nursing career, Torrento worked as a freelance contract nurse before accepting a position in nursing administration. During her 17-year tenure in that role, she oversaw nursing employment and travel nurse contracting at a Level 1 Trauma Hospital in Michigan. Understanding the challenges travel nurses faced, Torrento founded Health Providers Choice Inc. (HPC) in 2003. Through Torrento’s extensive experience and her role as President and CEO, HPC provides travel placement of registered nurses and allied health professionals to hospital systems nationally.