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What types of nurses are paid the most? What specialties are most demand?What types of nurses are paid the most? What specialties are most demand?

Tuesday August 12, 2008
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Dear Donna,

I am almost 40 years old and interested in pursuing a career in nursing. Can you please tell me the best course of action to take: Should I earn my BS in nursing? (I have a BS in elementary education). What types of nurses are paid the most, and what specialties are most demand? I want to plan my education accordingly since I will be joining the profession a bit later than most.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Alicia,

I would suggest that you look into entering an accelerated BSN program for those who have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. Your other option would be to complete an associate’s degree program in nursing, depending on what is available in your area, the amount of time required to complete it, and other factors. It is good to have a BSN eventually, but whether you get it right off the bat or go back for it is up to you and your needs/resources.

Critical care nurses are always in the highest demand (ICU, emergency department, recovery room, cardiac care) and sometimes get paid more — depending on the employer. Once you get into school and start doing your clinical rotations, you’ll get a better feel for what’s available and what you are drawn to.

If you haven't already, visit www.discovernursing.com. There you’ll find lots of info about the profession, including educational options, scholarships and financing, and various specialties.

You say you are joining the profession a bit later than most. Second career nurses like you make up a bigger part of the newest nursing workforce than you might imagine. So you'll be in good company and not the oldest student in the class — that I guarantee!

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’s “Dear Donna” and author of Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional and The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career. Information about the books is available at www.nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.nurse.com/asktheexperts/deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call (800) 866-0919 or visit http://events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.