UNITED STATES—Pursuing a career in the field of nursing can help you benefit from becoming a part of one of the fastest-growing professions. There is an increasing demand for nurses, and there are many advantages to the nursing career path. You can get a high salary, great opportunities, and most of all a sense of achievement. You can unlock your career potential with any of the many different specializations available. It is important to know that there are multiple types of career paths in the nursing profession, ranging from being a family nurse practitioner to specializations such as oncology. The possibilities are continually increasing, and you can choose to advance in any specific field.
Some of these nursing specializations are discussed below, although there are several others in addition to the ones mentioned here.
Ambulatory Care Nursing
Ambulatory care nurses deliver direct health care to patients in settings other than hospitals, wherever it is needed. They oversee adhering to treatment regimens for acute illnesses, monitoring signs, interacting with patients and their families, and supporting overall patient health.
From early diagnosis to symptom management, oncology nurses are involved in various aspects of cancer diagnosis and treatment. They are most commonly employed in hospitals; however, they may also work for home care institutions, specialty medical centers, and ambulatory centers. They aid in disease treatment and monitoring, as well as offering guidance and information to the patients and their families.
Cardiac nurses have specialized knowledge and care for patients with cardiovascular disease or heart-related health problems. They are in charge of observing signs, treating symptoms, tackling clinical needs, and offering the patient and their family relevant support and education. Cardiac diseases are some of the most common causes of death across the world. The demand for cardiac nurses will be on the rise as the number of patients affected by cardiac problems is constantly increasing.
Geriatric nurses provide care to the elderly and are well-versed in the treatment and diagnosis of illnesses that commonly affect the elderly. Geriatric nurses frequently further specialize in caring for elderly patients who have particular medical conditions. In addition to taking care of older patients, geriatric nurses can also foresee future care for their patients and long-term diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.
Surgical (or Perioperative) Nursing
Surgical nurses play a vital role on a hospital’s medical/surgical floor. Because they frequently care for multiple patients at once, surgical nurses must have first-rate skills in time management and organization. In order to work effectively with other hospital staff as surgical nurses, they need to be excellent communicators. Surgical nurses also focus on pre-and post-operative care for patients. This is the perfect specialization for individuals interested in a fast-paced work environment.
Mental Health Nursing
Mental health nurses or psychiatric nurses essentially care for patients with mental health, psychiatric, or behavioral disorders. These nurses help to offer support and care to mental health patients and their families while they are on the path to recovery. A mental health nurse also specializes in diagnosing patients with psychological disorders.
Travel nurses can move among different locations based on their contracts, and they get to interact with patients from various locations. Travel nurses usually fill up gaps in the workforce while working in healthcare and hospitals. For example, a travel nurse can replace a nurse on maternity leave, or they can deal with emergency situations in disaster zones.
These are some of the specializations that nurses can opt for in their professions. But, before choosing a specialization, you need to figure out your preferences and what kind of professional work experience you are looking for.
How can nurses choose specializations and work towards achieving them?
Almost all nursing specializations require a postgraduate degree course in that specific field. There are even specializations in such programs. For example, you can opt for Baylor University’s online DNP programs to get a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. This program is ideal for registered nurses with a bachelor’s or master’s degree who are seeking to explore the highest level of education in the field of nursing. You can choose from Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Track or Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Track. These specific tracks will help you in your professional career growth in a variety of nursing specializations.
Before choosing any specialization, it is important to understand what exactly is included in the particular nursing profession. For example, to become a surgical nurse, there are many different roles and job requirements to consider. A scrub nurse manages and handles the surgical instruments, and pre-op nurses perform necessary pre-operative duties while preparing for surgeries.
After identifying the selected specialization, you should enroll in a specific degree program regardless of what job profile you are currently working in. To become a specialized nurse, there are several pathways — you can opt for an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree for an entry-level role or an MSN program to earn a master’s degree.
Before starting a career as a specialized nurse in any of the professions, it is important to get the required certifications from the governing authorities. Most employers will also require additional education and some work experience or training before you can start working as a specialized nurse, such as a cardiac nurse, oncology nurse, etc.
Each of the nursing specializations mentioned above and many others have a variety of job responsibilities and opportunities so you can make a difference. No matter the specialization you choose, you can enjoy a rewarding nursing career with ample opportunities for professional growth and financial perks.
Ready to make an impression in the lives of patients? Get started on the path to becoming a nurse with a specialization today!