The demand for nurses is growing by the day. Therefore, you are likely to find a well-paying and stable job if you find the right specialization. Fortunately, nursing is a vast field with several specialties, so you can always find your ideal work environment or patient group. Below are some of the top specialties you can explore as a nurse practitioner.
Adult-gerontology nurse practitioner
An adult-gerontology nurse practitioner is a professional who manages the healthcare needs of adolescents and older adults. An AGNP prescribes medication, conducts tests, and creates full patient treatment plans. They also provide care for critically ill patients.
It is a good path if you would like to work with patients of all ages – you will work with patients as young as 13. Becoming an AGNP also allows you to advocate for your patients. Some older adults might not be able to speak up for themselves. Perhaps they are not conversant with medical jargon, making navigating the complex healthcare system hard. You can help these patients understand what they are going through and what they need to do.
Another advantage of working as an AGNP is that you get to work in various healthcare settings. These include cardiac care units, palliative care centers, intensive care units, and so many more.
Pediatric nurse practitioner
Do you have a soft spot for children? You can extend this passion into your career by working as a pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP). Baylor University offers a program that allows graduates to work in a number of care environments with children and adolescents after learning the essential care needed. In this specialty, you will care for newborns, infants, toddlers and adolescents. Like all nursing practitioners, you must earn your master’s or doctorate and get certified by an approved certification body. Possible practice settings include convenient care clinics, school-based health centers, and specialty clinics.
Although you will spend a lot of time with children, interacting with others, such as physicians and doctors is part of the role. You also need to inform the patient’s parents or caregivers about their progress. It is worth noting that this career path comes with diverse responsibilities. For instance, the treatment plan for an infant with an infection might not be the same as for an adolescent with the same infection. This diversity goes a long way in enhancing job satisfaction. You will also receive appreciation from your little patients. Some kids might leave you heart-warming handwritten notes of drawings, leaving you feeling valued by your patients.
Women’s health nurse practitioner
A women’s health nurse practitioner is a professional whose job is to assess, diagnose, and treat the healthcare needs of women of all ages. Other responsibilities include educating patients about women’s health issues and providing care for chronic medical conditions. Areas of focus include after-pregnancy care, menopausal care, fertility evaluation, and prenatal visits. In this role, you can work in settings like outpatient clinics, college health, and labor and delivery.
Orthopedic nurse practitioner
Orthopedic nursing is still a growing specialty. In your job as an orthopedic NP, you will care for patients with musculoskeletal problems, such as fractures, tendon injuries, and osteoporosis. Duties include obtaining a patient’s history and ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests. Depending on where you work, you may assist the orthopedic surgeon during surgery. You may also accompany the orthopedic surgeon on their rounds in the hospital.
To be a successful orthopedic nurse practitioner, you need both soft and clinical skills. For instance, you need strong communication skills to ensure patients receive the best care. You also need to be incredibly patient since the healing process for musculoskeletal injuries can be slow.
Notably, your typical day at work will depend on your work setting. If you work in both the inpatient and outpatient setting, you may work four 10-hour days or five 8-hour days. On the other hand, if you work as an on-call orthopedic nurse practitioner, you will not be required to go to the hospital.
Oncology nurse practitioner
Although the death rate from cancer is reported to have decreased, it is still a very prevalent disease in the United States, affecting millions each year. This demonstrates the need for oncology nurse practitioners. An oncology nurse practitioner carries out duties like assessing, diagnosing, and treating oncology patients. The oncology NP may also monitor the treatment plan and ensure that the patient is not experiencing any significant side effects from the medication.
An oncology NP can work in both inpatient and outpatient settings. The setting determines the work schedule for an oncology nurse practitioner. For instance, one who works in a clinic setting will typically work five days a week. One of the perks of this specialty is the more regular or consistent work schedule, which might not be the case with other specialties.
Acute care nurse practitioner
An acute nurse practitioner provides comprehensive care for patients with sudden illnesses or chronic aggravated conditions. As an acute nursing practitioner, you typically work in hospital settings, including the intensive care unit and the emergency department. You can also work in specialty units like neurology and cardiology. Duties and responsibilities include assessing patients, diagnosing and treating illnesses, educating patients and their families, and documenting patient care.
Aesthetic nurse practitioner
The demand for anti-aging and skin care services is on the rise, and with this growth comes the a rise in the demand for professionals in the aesthetics industry, such as aesthetic nurse practitioners. Some of your responsibilities as an aesthetic NP include skin assessment, preparation for the aesthetic treatment, and post-treatment recovery and aftercare management. An aesthetic NP needs skills like communication, precision and attention to detail, and the ability to work with a team.
Family nurse practitioner
A family nurse practitioner is a professional who provides wellness guidance and care services to needy patients. They serve patients of all ages, carrying out responsibilities like screening for disease, administering treatments, and ordering tests. Other duties include referring patients to specialists, communicating with families, and promoting healthy lifestyle habits.
Which nursing specialty is right for you?
With over 100 specialties to choose from, the decision can feel overwhelming. However, you can narrow your options by considering your personality, work style, preferred age group, and job outlook.