If you want to succeed in the healthcare industry, you can no longer be a generalist. This holds true in practically any industry today, but will be most acutely felt in healthcare. As the future grows increasingly dependent on technology, and research opens up new fields in medicine, you will have to specialize to succeed.
If you’re a recent college graduate, your career advisors probably alerted you to at least one of the many emerging fields in healthcare. If you’re already working as a healthcare professional, you may have gotten wind of these new career directions by attending a seminar, conference or through one of the medical journals you read. Either way, here’s a summary of the three hottest careers you can expect to emerge in healthcare:
Nurse Clinical Specialists
Requiring a master's degree or even a PhD, Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) direct patient care, concentrating on one specific area. A CNS is responsible for better patient outcomes and nursing care through mentoring and disease management, health promotion, and prevention of illness and risk behaviors. As a CNS, you may even diagnose and treat diseases, injuries and disabilities within your field of expertise. You’ll provide direct patient care, serve as expert consultants for nurses under you, and help improve health care delivery systems. Some CNS professionals will go into teaching or research; others will serve as consultants or move into management. For more information on this challenging new field, consider joining the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists.
A broad and growing field, Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) help individuals with speech, language, cognitive-communication, voice, or fluency disorders. As an SLP, you’ll evaluate and diagnose disorders and treat individuals of all ages, from infants to the elderly. As baby boomers head into retirement, the need for SLPs will continue to grow. To move into this field, you’ll need a master's degree, pass the Praxis Examination in Speech-Language Pathology and acquire some clinical experience. SLPs collaborate with other health care professionals, often working as part of a multidisciplinary team of teachers, physicians, audiologists, psychologists, social workers, and rehabilitation counselors. For more information, check out the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.
Sometimes referred to as Recovery Room Nurses, Perianesthesia Nurses care for patients before and after surgery. You may consult with patients before their surgery, help those who react aversely to anesthesia, and provide recovery tips for when they leave the hospital. To become a Perianesthesia Nurse, you’ll need an ASN or BSN degree and complete the Nursing Certification given by the American Board of Perianesthesia. Many institutions require specialized training in areas such as cardiac and invasive monitoring, administration of intravenous push medications, as well as CPR and ACLS.
If you’re a nurse and want to specialize in any of these hot fields, the time to start is now with more training and certifications.
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