Top Nursing Specialties for 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has created chaos within the healthcare industry for close to 18 months. While COVID data is slowly trending in the right direction in 2021, there are still hot spots and uncertainty to contend with for the foreseeable future.

Nurses and other healthcare providers have faced dramatic impacts throughout the pandemic, and this will continue for the foreseeable future. Nurses have been valiantly working through the ever-changing conditions created by pandemic patient volumes. Let’s examine which nursing specialties will see the highest demand throughout the rest of 2021.

In Demand Nursing Specialities

Critical and Intensive Care (CCU/ICU)

Nurses with critical and intensive care experience have many assignment options available to them due to the ongoing volume of COVID patients. Once a patient reaches the CCU/ICU, they are seriously ill and can be suffering from multiple conditions. Nurses in these units are working in stressful situations. They have to be highly skilled and able to think and react quickly to changing conditions.

Med-Surg and Telemetry

When discussing nursing specialties, medical-surgical and telemetry are sometimes considered together, but in practice, they have different responsibilities. Demand for both of these specialties is on the rise as they pertain to the largest population of patients in clinical settings.

A med-surg nurse typically works with patients with a lower acuity condition and is considered stable and recovering. They will administer medications, provide for post-surgery wound care, monitor vitals, etc.

A telemetry nurse is primarily focused on caring for patients with heart disease and other conditions requiring continuous telemetry monitoring. These nurses care for patients who are on the mend, which is why their unit is sometimes referred to as a step-down unit. In telemetry, nurses need to have superior assessment skills and react quickly to diagnostic information to help their patients avoid returning to a critical care situation.

Emergency Room (ER)

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we can recall the frightening news images of hospital emergency departments being overrun with patients. ER nurses triage the patients as they arrive at the hospital or care facility and prioritize ongoing care based on the severity of a patient’s condition. Nurses with ER experience are in demand in communities across the country due to the increase in patient volume during the summer months and the ongoing pandemic conditions.

Operating Room (OR)

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, operating rooms around the country quickly shut down with cancellation and postponement of elective surgeries. Many operating room nurses were shifted to other clinical areas to help with the increased influx of patients. Since then, surgical schedules have returned.

With OR nurses now following new and ever-changing protocols to ensure staff and patients are protected against exposure to COVID, they are a very necessary specialty today. OR nurses are performing their responsibilities working directly with surgical teams in sterile operating suites. In addition to setting up the OR for a procedure, responsibilities can include pre and post-surgery patient care.

Psychiatric and Behavioral Health

If it is possible for a specialty to be overlooked during a pandemic or post-pandemic, it is psychiatric nursing. Now more than ever, people are seeking out mental health services. Psych unit nurses specialize in facilitating the social and emotional needs of their patients. In addition, they are responsible for managing medication schedules and creating a safe, supportive environment for those under their care.

Home Health Care

For families with loved ones in long-term care facilities, the fear was on an entirely different level as this population was especially susceptible to the dangers of the virus. For many, the pandemic motivated them to find ways to keep their loved ones at home.

There has been an incredible demand for home health care nurses who provide support for individuals in the home rather than a typical care setting. Home health nurses are responsible for managing a care plan under a doctor’s supervision, much like a nurse working in a clinical setting. The difference is that a home health nurse travels to the patient’s home to provide the care.

A home health nurse is responsible for administering medication and insulin, conducting various tests, inspecting wounds and changing dressings, and completing reports and medical records. A home health care nurse must have the skills and confidence to work largely independently, be adept at listening to patient and family concerns, and maintaining accurate records.

More Opportunities for Nurses

Demand for nursing, in general, is on the rise and will continue to grow faster than most occupations. Throughout 2020, the COVID pandemic created fluctuating demand throughout the country as changing geographic regions contended with outbreaks at different times. However, post-pandemic conditions have shown that demand for most nursing specialties still exists, making it a perfect time to consider where your career is heading.

Supplemental Health Care has RN, LPN/LVN, and CNA opportunities available throughout the country. Consider partnering with a company annually recognized as ClearlyRated’s Best of Staffing since 2018. Our team of recruitment professionals can work with you to find opportunities that support your career goals and lifestyle.


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