Nursing—and medicine itself—is becoming increasingly specialized as new technologies are developed and as different conditions become more prevalent. It’s hard to know whether that specialty you love will take off or fall by the wayside.
If you’re looking for a new specialty outside the box or wonder where your skills will serve you best in the future, here’s a list of a few booming fields in the nursing industry.
Informatics nursing isn’t exactly a new specialty, but it’s a specialty that’s poised to take off in the future. When you’re an informatics nurse, your job is to help computer programmers figure out how to create software that’ll help nurses do their jobs more effectively. In some situations, you may even learn how to create programs of your own, but your primary job would be to determine how the computer fits into the clinical picture.
Since everything in the hospital is switching over to computers, more nurses will be needed in this area to assist in the development of software and help train nurses. If you’re an informatics nurse, you could find yourself on a typical day observing and interviewing other nurses to determine what their needs are and help the computer programs make their lives easier. You would also assist in deciding how computers help the patient to receive better care.
Closely related to informatics is the specialty of telemedicine. The American Nurses Credentialing Center doesn’t list this specialty yet, but with the evolution of computers, it’s only a matter of time. Telemedicine is providing care and advice to patients over the phone or over the Internet. For people who live far away from care centers, this connection to a nurse could actually save their lives.
Many insurance companies now have nurses to answer questions over the phone, but with the evolution of services such as Skype, nurses could have an even more interactive experience with their long-distance patients. Some home healthcare companies have small boxes that will monitor the patient’s blood pressure, pulse and other vitals, and the software will beam it to a nurse who is in charge of care! It’s not exactly Star Trek, but let’s face it, nurses 50 years ago would be impressed. Telemedicine is the wave of the future, and more people will be using it as the technology becomes cheaper.
Two words: baby boomers. More nurses will be needed who specialize in old age. Simple as that. Whether it’s nursing home care for Alzheimer’s patients or working as a home health nurse who checks in on an aging patient, geriatrics is a specialty that will need dedicated workers in the future.
The baby boomers aren’t getting any younger, and they will require nurses with specialized knowledge to help them. If you want a specialty that will be hungry for professionals, and one that will allow you the special role of helping the aging through the last years of their lives, you should become certified as a geriatrics nurse.
“The Hottest Up and Coming Nursing Specialties” by Melissa Wirkus, 2009
For more Career Advice for Nurses pick up the latest issue of Scrubs magazine, available at a retail store near you!