Nursing is a dynamic job role that offers many opportunities. With the advancement in healthcare, the profession has also evolved beyond bedside care and patient education. Today, nurses can specialize in various areas and provide specialized care to niche groups of patients. Here are some options if you’re unsure about which area of nursing care to pursue:
1. Nurse practitioner
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are crucial to healthcare systems since they are authorized to diagnose and treat medical conditions and recommend medicine, much like a doctor. NPs help to reduce the shortage of senior healthcare workers in the community.
This role allows you to work in hospitals, clinics, private practices, schools, nursing homes, etc. Many NPs also work in underserved areas, providing care to patients who might not otherwise have access to quality healthcare services.
2. Family nurse practitioner
Typically, people get confused between NPs and Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs). While there are some similarities between both roles, diving into the FNP medical meaning will enable you to understand the differences between an NP and FNP.
FNPs serve as primary care providers for patients of all ages, from infants to seniors, and manage various health concerns. Aside from primary care responsibilities, these professionals also play a crucial role in healthcare advocacy and policymaking.
To become an FNP, nurses must first earn a master’s degree in nursing with a specialty in family medicine. This advanced degree program, sometimes called an MSN FNP degree, focuses on the primary care needs of individuals and families. The curriculum covers various topics, including disease prevention, health promotion, and acute and chronic illness management.
The job outlook for FNPs is also favorable in terms of salary. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the average salary for an FNP is $115,800, which may also vary depending on location and years of experience.
3. Emergency room nurse
ER nurses specialize in providing urgent care to patients with critical injuries or illnesses. Due to the unpredictable nature of the ER, nurses in this specialty need to be adaptable, flexible, and quick thinkers who can make critical decisions under pressure. They must also have excellent communication skills to avoid making medical errors in a hurry.
Because of the high risk involved in their job, ERNs earn up to $127,000 a year. If you have a passion for helping others and thrive in a fast-paced, high-stress environment, a career as an ER nurse might be the perfect fit for you.
4. Nurse midwife
Nurse midwives work as primary caretakers for pregnant women; they play a crucial role in the well-being of both mother and child before, during, and after labor. Their duties include conducting tests and providing ongoing care and support to women throughout pregnancy, and they are often seen working closely with OB/GYN physicians.
The projected 40% increase in demand for nurse midwives by 2031 is a promising outlook for individuals considering a career in this field. Remember, this growth is much faster than the average projected growth rate for all occupations, which is approximately 8% over the same period.
5. Cardiac nurse
Cardiac nurses specialize in providing specialized nursing care to patients with debilitating cardiovascular diseases. They collaborate closely with physicians and other healthcare experts to provide an extensive array of treatments and clinical procedures, including bypass surgery, angioplasty, and pacemaker surgery, to name just a few.
Aspiring cardiac nurses must first hold either an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in nursing. In addition, they must possess a valid state license to practice. Moreover, many ambitious cardiac nurses opt to bolster their credentials and enhance their prowess in the field by obtaining specialized certification in cardiovascular nursing.
Apart from providing essential care to patients with heart-related illnesses, cardiac nurses also play a critical role in educating patients and their families about lifestyle changes and other strategies to manage and prevent cardiovascular disease. With a median annual salary of over $60,000, cardiac nursing is an attractive career choice for individuals interested in healthcare.
6. Nurse anesthetist
Nurse anesthetists ensure that patients receive the optimal care they need during surgery. These professionals are primarily responsible for administering anesthesia to patients with the utmost care and precision. As highly skilled and well-trained individuals, their job requires them to make importantdecisions on the fly during the surgery, such as adjustinganesthesia dosages and keeping a vigilant eye on the patient’s vitals.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for nurse anesthetists is expected to escalate sharply in the coming years, with a projected growth rate of 31% by 2026 – a surge much faster than the average for all occupations. If you are considering this career, it is important to note that this role requires extensive education and training. In addition to a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, you must obtain an MSN degree in anesthetics and pass a national certification exam.
Nursing has a plethora of specialties that offer ample opportunities for making a significant difference in the lives of patients under your care. Therefore, if you are considering a career in nursing, be sure to explore the many optionsavailable to you, including the ones mentioned above. Armed with a nuanced understanding of the intricacies and demands of each discipline, you can discern the nursing specialty that best aligns with your unique interests, skills, and passions. And in so doing, you open yourself up to a world of possibilities that promises personal and professional fulfillment beyond your wildest imagination.