Increasing Your Earning Power in the Nursing Field

Are you like many in the nursing field? You've already earned your degree as a certified nursing assistant (CAN), licensed nurse practitioner (LPN) or registered nurse (RN), but you'd like to earn more money. Many in the wide-open medical industry find themselves in this position and are ready to move on in their career -- for both monetary and personal reasons. So, inevitably, the question becomes how to do this and what additional training is required to move a head to the next level. And just as important, you may be asking if it will pay off or not.

One of the major developments in the healthcare field in recent years has been healthcare reform enacted through the United States government. This development along with an ever-increasing need for nurses in the face of high demand for services has created unprecedented new opportunities. Today, there are more nursing positions available than ever before. So for you, the nursing professional, there has never been a better time to move forward in your career with training to put you in a highly specialized, higher paying nursing job.

One of the major changes in recent years is when the insurance industry effectively transformed the doctor-patient relationship by moving primary care from doctors to nurses. As a result, many patients now go directly to their primary care nurse for common checkups, exams, referrals and sometimes emergency care. As a result, there is a high demand for qualified and highly specialized nurses to handle all of this new demand. Nurses now play an increasing role in all phases of patient care including prevention and emergency care.

To meet these developing needs, many nursing schools now offer increasingly specialized training, accelerated bachelor's or nursing master's degree programs to meet the burgeoning demand for medical services. These courses are designed as integrated education components to train existing RNs, LPNs and CNPs to take on new challenges in advanced practice areas -- areas that also pay significantly higher salaries that generic positions. And to aid with flexibility, many programs offer night and weekend courses and online training required for the continuing education certifications.

One area in the nursing profession in particularly high demand is that of advanced nurse practitioner (APN). APNs, with much higher levels of training and certification, enjoy higher levels of self sufficiency and autonomy on the job, greater responsibilities and a more end-to-end approach to complete patient care. They typically work independently or in conjunction with a physician in a team environment.

To achieve the APN certification, you will need to achieve extra training and certification of the nursing master's degree level. In some cases, the certification can be achieved with on-the-job experience in conjunction with a four-year nursing bachelor's degree. All APNs must be certified by the state, a national board or both.

Areas of Advanced Practice Nursing

There are four main designations for APN's:

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) -- The CNS is responsible for direct interaction with the patient during the care process. And typically, they are focused on a specific and specialized segment of the healthcare field, including women's health, pediatrics, dermatology or stress management.

Nurse Practitioner (NP) -- Prevention is the specialty of the NP. they are focused on preventative health measures, health education for the patient and health maintenance. And, like the CNS, they are usually engaged in a particular aspect of medicine, including family health, gerontology, podiatry or pediatric care. NP's can earn in excess of $70,000 per year in salary.

Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) - As a CNM, you will obviously focus on women's health care. The CNM takes care of women's issues like family planning, overall health, pregnancy, childbirth and neo-natal care. Currently, CNMs are averaging well over $100,000 per year and can go as high as $130,000 per year depending geographic location and demand.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) -- The CRNA works across a wide variety of disciplines in the medical field. They are often in charge of developing anesthesia plans and administration before and during surgical procedures. CRNAs are also in high demand and can earn well over $130,000 per year.

The blue sky scrubs Article Series

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