There has been explosive growth in the healthcare sector in recent years.
This has led to a big demand for medical and nursing staff around the country.
A registered nurse can specialize in specific areas of nursing and potentially be paid very well for their work.
Here are some of the highest paid RN jobs.
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Highest Paying Registered Nurse Jobs
1. Orthopedic Nurse
Orthopedic nurses work with patients who have broken bones, fractures, and other musculoskeletal conditions.
They may work with patients who also have arthritis, joint injuries, and osteoporosis, though their work may involve a wide range of musculoskeletal issues.
- Build rapport with and communicate with patients and their families.
- Assist doctors and patients before and after orthopedic surgery.
- Follow disease control procedures.
- If patients are having orthopedic surgery make sure the patient understands the nature of the surgery and what’s going to happen.
- Educate patients about post orthopedic surgery instructions.
An orthopedic nurse can expect to earn a median wage of $95,991 per year.
You can apply for orthopedic nursing jobs in your area on the nursing job board.
2. Endoscopy Nurse
An endoscopy nurse (also called a GI nurse or gastroenterology nurse) works with patients who have gastrointestinal health problems.
They will assist the gastroenterologist in using special equipment to look inside a patient and diagnose GI related illnesses.
This procedure typically involves inserting a fiber optic cable with a small camera that transmits images of the intestines or stomach.
- Adhere to disease control protocols.
- Work closely with board-certified gastroenterologists.
- Assist in the insertion of endoscope equipment.
- Clean and sanitize endoscope equipment.
- Prepare endoscopes for use.
- Prepare room pre- and post-procedure.
An endoscopy nurse can expect to earn a median wage of $78, 669 per year.
If being an endoscopy nurse sounds interesting check out the GI nurse jobs in your area.
3. Operating Room Nurse
This crucial role involves working with surgeons and patients before, during, and after surgical procedures.
The operating room nurse works in the operating room and is expected to assist during surgical procedures.
Specific tasks depend on the type of procedure being performed in the OR.
This can be a high-stress role and the OR nurse is expected to work closely with the OR team.
The nature of this occupation demands everything be near perfect to prevent mistakes that could cause patient infection and other potentially fatal complications.
- Be adaptable and calm under pressure and stress.
- Work closely with the operating team.
- Develop a good rapport with patients before and after surgery to keep them calm and keep them informed.
- Communicate with family members about the surgery.
- Assist in setting up the operating room before surgery according to the individual needs of the surgeon.
- Monitor patients’ vital signs during and after surgery.
- Monitor patients post-surgery and administer medications and interventions as needed.
An operating room nurse’s median salary is $89,408 per year.
Find operating room nursing positions on the job board.
4. Surgical First Assist Nurse
The surgical first assist nurse works closely with the operating team in the operating room.
During a surgical procedure, they assist the surgical team with equipment selection and the use of equipment.
As such, this role requires initiative and a sense of anticipation of what the surgeon needs at any time during the operation.
The surgical first assist nurse may also need to perform other basic surgical tasks, such as helping to stop bleeding and closing up incisions after surgery.
- Working closely with the operating team and anticipating their needs during surgery.
- Handling the patient and preparing them for surgery in the operating room.
- Selecting the right instruments at the right time for the surgical team during procedures.
- Assisting the surgical team to operate certain tools.
- Auditing surgical materials before and after surgery.
- Closing incisions, stopping bleeding and applying wound dressings and sponges.
A surgical first assist nurse can expect to earn on average $96,596 depending on experience.
Find first assist nurse positions on the job board.
5. Recovery Room Nurse
After a patient has been under sedation or anesthesia for surgery or treatment, they go into a recovery area, and this is where the recovery room nurse works.
The recovery room nurse monitors patients in the recovery area, listening to their needs, and administering pain relief when required.
The role requires that the nurse monitor each patient’s vital signs and health during their recovery from the anesthetic.
In some cases, they may be required to communicate with the surgeon or the anesthesiologist (or CRNA) if there are complications related to the surgery that is being noticed.
Complications such as deteriorating patient condition/vital signs or bleeding.
- Listen to patient needs and provide medication or pain relief when necessary
- Discuss with the surgical team when necessary if patient’s condition starts deteriorating
- Be prepared to provide discharge teachings and instructions upon discharge.
A recovery room nurse can expect a medium pay of around $86,209 per year.
See what recovery room nursing jobs are available in your area you can go to our job board to see.
6. Flight Nurse
The flight nurse has been trained specially to provide medical care and support to people and patients on an aircraft.
They may be required to work with a medical crew during rescue operations on flights. This may even include helicopter crews.
The Flight Nurse has a very important job.
They will provide emergency care to patients during airborne transportation until they arrive at a medical facility.
This means that they must stabilize the patient, perform CPR, provide oxygen, medications and whatever else is necessary to stabilize the patient from pickup to the nearest medical facility.
- Deal with emergency situations under stress in the field.
- Assess patients and perform triage and treatment according to protocols.
- Perform basic and advanced first aid, including CPR, oxygen, and IV lines.
- Securing the patient onboard aircraft safely and also ensuring that they disembark safely.
A flight nurse can expect a medium pay of around $85,000 per year.
Find flight nurse positions on the nurse job board.
7. Oncology Nurse
The oncology nurse provides care and support to cancer patients throughout their cancer treatment.
There are many modern medications available to treat a wide range of cancers, and the oncology nurse has a specialized job in dealing with patients.
They provide education, prepare medications for treatments such as chemotherapy, and developing deep relationships with cancer patients (since for may patients treatment can last 4-6 months (source).
- Building good rapport and deep relationships with cancer patients during their treatment journey.
- Implementing new cancer treatment methods.
- Assessing a patient’s emotional and physical health.
- Preparing and administering special cancer treatment medication.
- Communicating and working with oncologists and other specialists when necessary.
An oncology nurse can expect to earn a median pay of $75,370 per year.
Search for oncology staff nurse positions in your area.
8. Psychiatric Nurse
Those who want to make a difference in the field of mental health should research psychiatric nursing.
In this role, the nurse provides care and support to mental health patients.
They’ll monitor and assess patients, including individuals and groups, and will be responsible for developing a treatment plan.
While you are assessing a patient’s physical health your primary objective is assessing a patient’s mental wellbeing.
As a mental health nurse, you’ll be dealing with patients of all ages who are at risk of being a danger to themselves or others.
It can be sad as you’ll be dealing with patients who have been through very traumatic life events.
Rest assured it’s also rewarding as you’re with the patient on their journey as they overcome those life events.
- Build rapport with mental health patients.
- Work closely with a mental health team in a facility.
- Monitor and assess patient behavior.
- Diagnose patients and develop a nursing care plan for them.
- Conduct psychotherapy sessions for patients.
A psychiatric nurse can expect to earn a medium pay of around $75,016 per year, depending on qualifications and experience.
See psychiatric nurse positions available in your area on the job board.
9. Cardiac Nurse
Heart disease is rampant throughout the country, and cardiac nurses have a special role to play.
They provide care and support to cardiac patients (i.e. patients who are suffering from cardiovascular-related illnesses.
This also includes patients who have had cardiac surgery such as bypass surgery.
They are expected to monitor cardiac patients, keep an eye on vital signs, and prepare and administer cardiac medications.
- Work closely with a cardiac team of specialists.
- Educating patients and patient’s family members about heart health.
- Monitoring patient vital signs.
- Prepare and administering heart medication for cardiac patients.
- Assist in patient code situations when necessary.
The average salary of a cardiac nurse in the U.S. is $84,743 per year.
Find cardiac nurse positions in your area on the nurse job board.
10. Transplant Nurse
There has been a lot of advancement in the area of organ transplants, and the transplant nurse plays a vital role.
The transplant nurse will work with donors and help to prepare them for donating an organ, advising them of risks and providing information.
They will also work with those who are receiving donor organs, and prepare them for surgery, and also provide care and support to them after surgery.
- Communicate with donors and receivers before and after surgery.
- Prepare both donors and receivers for surgery, including post-operative care and support.
- Work closely with specialists and laboratories to order lab tests to determine donor and recipient compatibility.
- Provide assistance to surgeons during organ harvesting and transplantation surgeries.
As a transplant nurse, you can expect to earn a median salary of approximately $75,985 per year.
Find transplant nurse positions in your area on the nurse job board.
Here’s a breakdown of how we got the information above.
What is the average national nursing salary?
The average national nurse salary is about $70,000 for registered nurses and about $45,000 for licensed practical and vocational nurses according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
How did we get the salaries for the nursing specialties?
We got the salaries from either:
Other sources may have been used if we were not able to find the information from the above-mentioned sites.
Do average salaries tell the whole story?
For the most part, no they don’t.
It’s important to note that we gave the medium salary of the positions we listed.
We that said it’s important to remember that those are just averages and that it will vary greatly based on:
- Your state
- Your city
- Your facility
- Your ability to negotiate
Related Article: How to Negotiate a Raise as a Nurse
Because of the above-mentioned reasons, some nurses will earn less than the average and others will earn a lot more than the average.
The last thing to remember is that nursing and healthcare are forever changing and there will be nursing jobs you will find that will earn more than the ones we mentioned at some point or another.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are some faqs related to the topic of this article which is high paying RN jobs.
California is the highest paying state for registered nurses with an average salary of $106,950 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Yes, an RN can make $100K. It might involve working a lot of overtime hours or moving to a state that pays nurses more.
South Dakota is the state where nurses earn the least amount of money according to Forbes.
Nursing can be a very rewarding career choice.
If you want to develop your skills in a specific area, such as mental health, there are many opportunities for registered nurses who want to take on new challenges and really make a difference in their chosen field.
As you can see many of those roles are can be well compensated.