Nursing specialties in Canada range from specific services to more general, but each is equally important. The salaries for these positions range from $70K to about $90K a year.
If you’re considering going into nursing or specialty nursing, understanding what each job entails might help you make your decision.
Top Nursing Specialties in Canada
Below are the top six highest paid nursing specialties in Canada. Though many other specialties are available for anyone interested in becoming a nurse, this list offers an insight into what kind of tasks each specialty entails.
- Enterostomal therapy nurse (ET)
- Cardiovascular nurse
- Community health nurse
- Critical care pediatric nurse
- Critical care nurse
- Emergency nurse
6 Highest Paid Nursing Specialities in Canada (2021 Update)
1. Enterostomal Therapy Nurse
An enterostomal therapy (ET) nurse undergoes intensive training to treat open wounds and stomas. Stomas are openings in the body, either natural or artificial. An example of a natural stoma is the mouth or nose. Artificial stomas are put in place by a doctor or surgeon to treat various conditions. For instance, if a patient undergoes a colostomy, they will receive an opening in their colon.
ET nurses treat stomas and help patients recover from them. Sometimes stomas do not heal after they are meant to, leading an ET nurse to continue treatments. They offer these treatments at facilities, hospitals, or homes as needed. ET nurses also provide education and rehabilitation to help patients get back on their feet after an ostomy procedure.
Because of their extensive knowledge on the subject, ET nurses will also offer advice about potential ostomy surgeries. They might speak about where to best place a stoma, or how the procedure could affect the patient in question. They can also be in charge of planning discharge or rehabilitation steps.
All this expertise helps make an ET nurse one of the highest paid nursing specialties Canada has to offer.
2. Cardiovascular Nurse
A cardiovascular nurse will assist in the caring of adult cardiovascular patients. Cardiovascular refers to a condition with the heart, so many of these nurses work with patients with acute or chronic heart conditions. They also sometimes assist cardiac surgeons during heart surgery.
Most often, a cardiovascular nurse works in treatment and rehabilitation after an episode such as a heart attack. They might also perform resuscitations via defibrillators if a patient goes into cardiac arrest.
These nurses build their skill sets and knowledge around the cardiovascular system, using their training for assessments and monitoring to better understand their patients’ issues. An example of an assessment is arrhythmia interpretation, during which a nurse might listen to a heartbeat for irregularities. An irregular heartbeat is another condition cardiovascular nurses treat.
The position is highly sought after and uses extensive knowledge and skills regarding the heart.
3. Community Health Nurse
Unlike many nurses who work based out of hospitals, community health nurses connect with the community more directly. They can give aid from strategic locations such as health centers, schools, or even from patients’ homes.
Community health nurses fill a specific niche within the nursing role. Along with providing treatment, community health nurses can create health plans such as nutritional diets for their patients. As their patients encompass their community as a whole, these nurses will offer plans to the surrounding area and help implement them for an overall healthier community.
Another large role for these nurses is education. Though they do treat diseases and conditions, they can also teach patients about the prevention of such issues. Sometimes issues they try to counteract are obesity, substance abuse, or sexually transmitted diseases.
Due to the nature of the job, community health nursing is one of the highest paid nursing specialties Canada has, coming in close behind cardiovascular nursing.
4. Critical Care Pediatric Nurse
A critical care pediatric nurse looks after children in need of critical care. Any child between ages 0-17 in serious condition needing intensive care will receive treatment by one of these nurses. These nurses can care for children with serious illnesses or those recovering from an accident or surgery. Critical care nurses provide long-term or short-term care depending on the condition of the child.
These nurses also act as the liaison between a surgeon and the family in the event of an upcoming surgery. The nurse will explain the procedure to both the patient and their family and ensure both have a good understanding of the situation. After the surgery is complete, these nurses might also discuss with the patient and family what took place and whether it was successful.
Critical care pediatric nurses have extensive training to treat a variety of highly serious conditions. If a child might succumb to a specific condition, such as heart failure, these nurses will take it upon themselves to resuscitate the patient and get them into a stable condition.
5. Critical Care Nurse
Critical care nurses treat anyone from ages 18 and older with a serious condition. Similar to critical care pediatric nurses, critical care nurses provide either long-term or short-term care depending on the patient’s need. They will also act as the go-between for the patient and their family, and a doctor or surgeon.
Usually stationed in the Intensive Care Unit or the Trauma Unit, a critical care nurse often looks after patients who come from the emergency or operating room. Once a patient is in a more stable condition, they will leave the emergency or operating room and remain in critical care until they recover.
Patients who go through the emergency room might have a sudden, life-threatening injury or condition, such as a heart attack. Others who need the services of the operating room might travel from critical care to operating and back, depending on what their surgery is for. Others still might come from the ER and travel straight to the operating room, where they will recover from emergency surgery in critical care.
6. Emergency Nurse
Emergency nurses work in high-stress situations like emergency rooms and departments. They also provide treatment for patients in ambulatory care centers and military settings, including war zones.
Emergency nurses have the training to deal in any emergency, capable of assessment, diagnoses, stabilization, or even resuscitation. Trauma and life-threatening injuries or conditions need immediate care, and emergency nurses are the first available to give it. Because of this need, these nurses learn to take charge of a situation and make quick decisions.
These nurses do not work in the same areas as urgent care nurses, who treat non-life-threatening scenarios. Instead, emergency nurses work to stabilize a patient until they can move to a critical care unit, or an operating room if they need immediate surgery.
Which Specialty Makes the Most Money?
Of this list, the ET nurse earns the most money per year. This is due to the incredible specificity and education an ET nurse must exhibit to do a complete job. In dealing with open wounds or stomas, understanding when and where to place them, along with how to help them heal, can drastically change a person’s health.
An ET nurse often has more involvement in a patient’s life than other nurses because they focus on rehabilitation after a stoma. They also offer support if a stoma isn’t healing on its own, and can design a plan for their patients to follow for a faster recovery.
What Type of Nurse Is Most in Demand?
Today, Registered Nurses with a Bachelor of Sciences in Nursing are the most in-demand by healthcare facilities everywhere. Though these nurses do not have a specialty, their versatility makes them desirable. Especially during shortages of healthcare workers, RNs can easily use their skills to cover multiple areas.
RNs who want to get into a more specialized area can easily do so. Though at times they might need extra training or education, it’s not hard for an RN to shift their career path into something new. In such a way, RNs can become specialty nurses, so even during a shortage, an RN can provide proper support for those in need of special care.
How Can a Nurse Get 100K per Year?
If this question is a big concern for you, keep in mind your lifestyle can affect your bank account just as much as your salary. However, there are a few things nurses can do to pull in some extra cash. These ways include:
- Work nights
- Get certified, and show it
- Take on more shifts
- Switch to a more intense area, like Emergency
- Get into travel nursing
- Get into management
You can also move into teaching positions as you work. Some nurses find adequate extra income through blogging, others through consultation for universities. Any extra help you offer for future nurses can result in compensation that could increase your income.
Highest Paid Nursing Specialties in Canada: Which Will You Choose?
No matter which nursing specialty you choose, the care you provide will result in adventures, hard days, and rewarding moments.
If you choose to become an RN, there’s always a chance you can shift your career into a more specialized branch later down the road. And if you want to pad your income, there are plenty of ways to do so while also caring for others, be they patients or future nurses.