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My guess? Probably the areas that historically have higher burn-out rates: any ICU, M/S, ER, LTC. I guess that's pretty much the entire hospital other than the OR and peds/OB lol. Those 3 areas, however, seem to have a higher retention of nurses.
It's pretty much the same for all hospitals, I've never heard of a specialty unit being hard to fill/greatest demand, and that's because sickness and giving birth hasn't really changed. With health care reform, maybe the ER's will be less crowded. Home care nursing continues to grow because most patients want to be cared for at home. Many states such as Florida and NY, has a growing population of home hospice. Interesting question/discussion.
Geriatrics, hands down will be the greatest area of need in the upcoming years. This is because a) not a lot of people want to do geriatrics, and b) the babyboomers are getting older.
The other area of greatest need is public health nursing. Again, not a lot of people seem to be drawn to it (perhaps because it's less technical than other nursing specialties), and due to the Obama healthcare reforms, and pull from nursing organizations, there is a pull to increase public healthcare nursing by 2020. This is to help reduce healthcare costs, as public health nurses perform a lot of preventative treatments.
Lastly, any kind of home care nursing will be in high demand, again to reduce healthcare costs incurred by receiving care in a hospital. The Obama reforms want to increase home care nursing by 2020, as hospital facilities will likely not be able to accommodate the upcoming demands of increasing immigration and the aging boomer population. In addition, evidence has shown better patient health outcomes, and decreased hospital acquired illnesses with home care.
All answers are excellent (as usual on All Nurses).
I look at it as what area could a med/surg nurse float into. Almost all other areas mentioned you can transition into from being a med/surg nurse. A B/P is a B/P, an IV line is an IV line, commonly used drugs are the same, etc.
OR nurses are so specialized. You could never just float a med/surg nurse into an OR to circulate. Few nursing programs teach OR nursing. Few hospitals hire OR nurses who have no experience. AORN had a recent article reiterating this idea and the fact that so many experienced OR nurses are nearing retirement age.