Top Career Specializations for Nurse Practitioners

Have been thinking about becoming a nurse practitioner? The timing couldn’t be better, with the nationwide shortage of nurses and an ever-increasing need for primary care.

Nurse practitioners assume a critical role in delivering primary, urgent, and acute care for a diverse population of patients.

By becoming a nurse practitioner, you can provide more personalized care to patients since you will be tasked with spending plenty of direct one-on-one time with them. This way, you can gain a complete picture of their health needs and establish trust, which is essential in improving overall patient health.

Another draw of becoming a nurse practitioner is the flexibility it provides in changing the focus and direction of your career. Nurse practitioners can practice independently in over half of the 50 states. 

If you’re wondering how to get started as a nurse practitioner, you must first ask yourself what you want to specialize in to answer this question.

Nurse practitioners can specialize in several areas. These specializations generally fall under the umbrella of primary healthcare, although there are unique areas of concentration. Some of the popular specializations for nurse practitioners are the following.

Pediatric Nursing

Pediatric nursing is a part of the nursing profession that involves caring for neonates and children up to adolescence.

As a pediatric nurse, you will be working with other healthcare professionals to monitor young patients’ health and provide them care and support throughout their treatment.

You may also need to oversee childhood immunizations and vaccinations in addition to explaining a child’s health and phases of treatment to their families.

Since pediatric nursing is a specialization of nursing, you will need to earn a graduate degree and pass a licensure examination.

The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board provides certification as a pediatric nurse. This certification requires completing educational requirements and a minimum of 1,800 hours of clinical experience with pediatric patients in the past two years.

Pediatric nurses may work in multiple environments, making it one of the most in-demand nursing specializations.

Recent data shows that nearly two million pediatric nurses are working in the US. This will only continue to grow as the world deals with the risks and uncertainties of the pandemic, making it one of the most in-demand nursing jobs today. 

Family Nursing

Family nursing is a nursing subspecialty that takes a team approach to healthcare.

Unlike other nursing specializations, family nursing is not as patient-centered since it focuses on the care of the family unit.

A family nurse practitioner (FNP) performs several duties that are commonly performed by a physician. They can write prescriptions, and the job requires extensive skills and knowledge to care for their patients.

Like pediatric nurses, they also work in clinics, hospice centers, private offices, homes, and schools.

As a family nurse, you will be providing the initial line of health defense for all types of medical conditions. You can provide annual checkups and physicals and assist in managing chronic conditions.

Becoming a family nurse can be a rewarding career for those who want to build long-term relationships with patients.

When studying for an FNP program, you will go more in-depth on medical issues since FNPs treat various patients, from infants to the elderly. For example, nurse practitioner specializations like family nursing at Walsh University concentrate on pediatric, geriatric adult, and women’s health primary care to provide students with a complete learning experience.

Adult Gerontology Nursing

Adult gerontology nursing is a specialty that focuses on the care of patients from later adulthood to the end of life.

Gerontological nurses work in multiple locations, including outpatient facilities and psychiatric hospitals, or they may even have their practice where they develop treatment plans and complete assessments.

As the population of baby boomers grows, adult gerontological nurse practitioners (AGNPs) will assume a critical part in treating the increasing number of patients with complex issues related to age and chronic conditions.

The duties of AGNPs differ depending on patient needs and the healthcare institution they work in.

They may assist with daily tasks such as eating, bathing, dressing, or walking, in addition to administering medications and tracking health vitals alongside a physician. Other responsibilities may also include the following:

  • Performing physical assessments
  • Interpreting diagnostic results
  • Diagnosing patients

Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing

Psychiatric mental health nursing is a nursing specialization that involves the care of individuals with mental health disorders.

Mental health nurses have advanced knowledge of evaluating, diagnosing, and treating psychiatric disorders, enabling them to offer specialized care. Their primary responsibilities include the following:

  • Assess and evaluate the patient’s mental health
  • Develop a treatment care plan
  • Consult with other healthcare professionals about the treatment plan
  • Maintain medical records
  • Support and educate patients and their family members

Several tasks of mental health nurses are similar to that of a psychiatrist and include psychotherapy and the prescription of medications.

Now you might wonder what and how long it takes to become a psychiatric mental health nurse.

Depending on the state you live in, the following steps are needed to acquire a certification in mental health nursing:

  • Earn an active RN license
  • Complete two years of practice as a full-time registered nurse
  • Practice at least 2,000 hours in a mental health nursing environment within three years
  • Obtain 30 hours of continuing education in mental health nursing within three years

Some psychiatric-mental nurses work in a community capacity to provide mental health services, while others assist individuals in accomplishing routine tasks and improving their lives in a hospital setting, private practice, public health facility, forensic health setting, nursing home, state or federal facility, community mental health center or via telemedicine.

Moreover, mental health nurses may also work in substance abuse programs to help patients who struggle with addictions.

Becoming a Nurse Practitioner Today

Regardless of what nursing specialization you choose, these advanced care providers fill a critical role in the healthcare landscape. Find out how you can become a nurse practitioner by enrolling in a program today.

Medical Disclaimer: All the content available on the website is just for informational purposes. It’s not a substitute for any Professional advice. Don’t take it personally. As a medical student, I’m just trying to use my information through my content, and please keep in mind it’s not written by a professional doctor. Use the data just for educational purposes.

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