Top Nursing Jobs and Careers for 2024

Top Nursing Jobs and Careers for 2024

May 29, 2024

In addition to being rewarding, nursing can be a lucrative career option. Nurses of all kinds are in high demand, with staffing shortages affecting most healthcare facilities around the country. As a result, finding a position in nursing can be much easier than in other professions. 

Are you considering a career in nursing, or are you currently searching for the right role that fits your exact needs? In either case, at Prolink, we’re here to help you at every stage of your career journey. From finding the perfect job to getting certified to starting your assignment, we’ll help you get to where you want to go in your nursing career.

Ready to get started? Take a look at the top nursing jobs, including details and salaries, and find the one that calls to you.

Certified Nursing Assistant

A certified nursing assistant (CNA) offers basic care to patients and helps them with daily activities. They work under the supervision of a registered nurse or a licensed practical or vocational nurse. You can expect to help patients bathe, eat, dress, and more. You will also have the responsibility of measuring patients’ vital signs. 

In some states, CNAs also dispense medication. To become a CNA, you will need to complete a state-approved program that offers the principles of nursing and supervised clinical work. CNAs often need a state-issued license or certification, which means passing a competence exam. 

This allows you to be placed on a state registry, which is crucial if you want to work in a nursing home, for example. You will also have to complete on-site training. The median annual salary for certified nursing assistants is $38,130.

A smiling female nurse stands among a crowded hospital corridor.

Licensed Practical Nurse

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) provide patients with basic medical care. They monitor vital signs and help with simple comfort tasks, including bathing, eating, and dressing. 

An LPN also discusses care with patients and reports any of their concerns to physicians, registered nurses, or advanced practice nurses. In some states, an LPN with the right training could start IV drips and provide medication. 

LPNs have to complete a state-approved educational program. Usually, community colleges and technical schools offer diploma and certificate programs that satisfy the requirements. 

After completing these programs, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination. You will have the chance to complete additional certifications, too, which could provide more opportunities for employment. The annual median licensed practical nurse salary is $59,730

Registered Nurse

Registered nurses engage in patient care, offer education on health conditions, and can even provide emotional support to patients and their families. They work as part of a team with healthcare specialists of all kinds, including physicians. Some of their duties might include:

  • Monitoring and operating medical equipment
  • Assessing patients
  • Administering medications and treatments
  • Teaching patients how to manage their conditions
  • Helping to perform diagnostic tests
  • Analyzing test results

Becoming an RN starts with a certificate or degree program from an accredited school or university. Most aspiring RNs choose a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) when they begin their nursing journey.

You must have a license to work as a nurse in your state. Compact licenses are also available which enable you to work in multiple states at once. In order to get your license, you have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Some states require that you also pass a criminal background check. The median annual salary for an RN is $86,070

A female home care nurse smiles as she takes care of her elderly male patient.

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners, also called advanced practice registered nurses, can provide specialty and primary healthcare. They take and record medical histories and symptoms and create patient care plans. NPs also perform physical exams and prepare or order tests. 

Nurse practitioners have the ability to give patients treatments and medications, too. They tend to work with physicians but can operate independently as well. In some states, they can even prescribe medications. 

Although the job purview is similar in many ways to an RN, NPs have more responsibilities. For instance, they are often tasked with referring patients to specialists. 

To become an NP, you typically need to: 

  • Have at least a master’s degree in an advanced practice nursing field
  • Possess an RN license
  • Complete an accredited graduate-level program 
  • Pass a national certification exam 

NP positions may also require that you get certifications in basic life support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and advanced cardiac life support. The median annual pay for a nurse practitioner is $129,480.

Take the next step in your career

Finding the right nursing position can be overwhelming because of the many options that are available to you. At Prolink, we’re here to help you find the right location, work environment, and role for your needs. We assess your needs, preferences, and qualifications to search for a position that will help you thrive.

With experienced recruiters and a wide selection of employers looking to staff their facilities, we’re here to help you find the next step in your career. Contact Prolink today to learn more about how we take care of your career.  

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