Nurses represent one of the most important components of patient care delivery in the US. Nurses have the basic knowledge they need to work in most medical specialties. Although many nurses choose not to acquire specialized training, those that do can expect more job opportunities and a higher earning potential. Individuals who decide that they would like to work as a registered nurse in a specialty field will need to first complete the basic education, training, and certification that is required of all nurses.
Most nursing programs in the United States are designed to teach individuals how to provide patient care. Common responsibilities included in the nurse’s job description include collaborating with medical personnel, providing patient care, ensuring optimal health outcomes, performing clinical procedures, discharging patients, developing treatment plans, enforcing policies, reviewing standards of practice, analyzing patient records, and much more. These general job responsibilities are shared among all medical specialties and are tailored to meet the specific needs that different types of patients encounter. Some of the practical skills that all registered nurses must possess include recording medical histories, collecting vitals, administering medications, documenting in charts, operating medical equipment, performing diagnostic tests, and educating patients.
Specialty Practice Options
Specialty employment options for nurses are abundant and provide opportunities for individuals to tailor their career to their own personality and long-term objectives. Some areas where nurses decide to work include pediatrics, oncology, dermatology, geriatrics, cardiology, nephrology, critical care units, neonatology, rehabilitation, and anesthesiology. Each of these fields provides its own unique set of challenges that can impact the nature of the work environment and the amount of money that can be earned. Those who want to work in nephrology can expect many years of job security and a very competitive dialysis nurse salary. While all of the specialties outlined above can expect strong job growth, the dialysis industry is one of the most promising because of the dramatic increase in diet and exercise related illnesses over the past several years.
Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two most common diseases that lead to end stage renal disease. Most of the patients who have kidney failure require a kidney transplant or dialysis treatment to survive. Because renal failure is a chronic disease, hospitals depend on the nurses to carry out the orders of the physicians and supervise technicians as they administer treatment. Nurses are critical to dialysis care and they can expect to receive a dialysis nurse salary that reflects their large contribution to care.
Dialysis Nurse Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a registered nurse in 2010 was around $65,000 per year. While some nurses earned less than $45,000 per year, there are also nurses who made over $100,000 per year. Factors can that affect the size of the salary include place of employment, location, education, training, experience, and credentials. Some nurses also earn more because they work long hours or elect to work during unpopular shifts. Most medical facilities offer 24-hour care to patients and are in need of nurses who can work through the night or for very long periods of time. In general, a nurse can expect to earn more in a surgical hospital compared to something like a nursing home and will typically be paid more along the coastal states compared to those in the Midwest.
A nurse who decides to specialize in nephrology can expect to receive a dialysis nurse salary between $60,000 and $125,000 per year. Indeed.com is an excellent resource for comparing different employment opportunities for dialysis nurses across the United States. According to their website, there are openings in Louisiana, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Indiana that are offering more than $100,000 per year while those in Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and California less than six figures. On average, a dialysis nurse salary falls somewhere close to $68,000 per year which is slightly higher than the average for all nursing occupations.
Job Growth Projections
Like other areas of healthcare, the nursing profession can anticipate strong growth for many years to come. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is expected to increase by 26% between 2010 and 2020. This rate of growth is faster than the average for all other occupations. One of the major reasons for this growth is the fact that members of the baby boomer generation are entering their retirement years at an astonishing rate. As people age, they tend to require more medical care. The fact that there will continue to be a tremendous increase in the number of elderly individuals means that the healthcare system as a whole will need to hire more nurses and increase the dialysis nurse salary along with all other salaries.
The government reports that facilities are not able to recruit and retain enough nurses. This shortage has created an excellent career opportunity for those who like patient care and who want to have an impact on patient’s lives. Many employers have begun to offer incentives including a high signing bonus, a flexible work schedule, and reimbursement for continuing education. Nurses who want to maximize their dialysis nurse salary may want to consider an administrative position that pays more.
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