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A nursing degree can open up pathways in critical, emergency, progressive and telehealth care through specialisations that range from working in hospitals, schools, government agencies, nursing homes and residential care communities. Some of the top nursing specialisations you could consider include;
Nurse practitioners (NPs) provide care to patients throughout their lifespan, from premature newborns to the elderly. They provide advanced care that includes health promotion, health prevention, wellness and disease management, as well as diagnosis and treating acute, chronic, and episodic illness.
This broad pathway also includes performing physical examinations; diagnosing and treating common acute illnesses and injuries; providing immunizations; managing high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and other chronic health problems; ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, prescribing medications and therapies; performing procedures; and educating and counseling patients and their families regarding healthy lifestyles and health care options.
In some rural or medically underserved areas, NPs are increasingly becoming the front line for patient care.
Geriatric nurses look after elderly patients and ensure their quality of life is the best it can be. They are Registered Nurses who serve as primary and specialty health care providers under a physician. They are able to diagnose and manage their patients’ often long-term and debilitating conditions and provide regular assessments to patients’ family members.
As the baby boomer population ages, the demand for geriatric nurses has expanded. These nursing specialists work in a variety of settings, from nursing homes, with home healthcare services and in hospice facilities, or running their own private practice.
This sub-specialty of nursing works with newborn infants at risk for complications and in need of specialized care. Neonatal nursing generally encompasses infants who experience problems shortly after birth, but it also encompasses care for infants who experience long-term problems related to their prematurity or illness after birth.
Neonatal nurses typically care for these infants until they leave the hospital but in some cases will provide care beyond the newborn phase.
Surgical care practitioners provide treatment in operating rooms, wards, and clinics. Within healthcare organizations, surgical care practitioners are well-established members of the surgery team.
They are trained to perform certain surgical procedures under appropriate supervision and within the scope of their practice. Their primary responsibilities include assisting surgeons and other professionals before, during, and after surgical procedures. Critical Care hiring managers prefer RNs with a BSN because they have the decisive critical-thinking skills required to succeed.
Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) hold a master’s or doctoral degree in a specialized area of nursing practice. Their area of clinical expertise may be in: a population (e.g. pediatrics, geriatrics, women’s health); a setting (e.g. critical care, emergency room); a disease or medical sub-specialty (e.g. diabetes, oncology); a type of care (e.g. psychiatric, rehabilitation); or a type of health problem (e.g. pain, wounds, stress).
Besides the conventional nursing responsibilities which focus upon helping patients to prevent or resolve illness, a CNS’s scope of practice includes diagnosing and treating diseases, injuries and/or disabilities within their field of expertise, providing direct patient care, serving as expert consultants for nursing staffs, and are active in improving health care delivery systems.
An Orthopaedic Nurse Practitioner’s work alongside patients with a variety of musculoskeletal conditions like joint replacements, muscle ailments and even arthritis. They oversee the patients' care, medical notes and exams from the time they are admitted to the time they are discharged.
These nurses also provide patient education and help prepare treatment plans. Specialized skills would include traction, neurovascular status monitoring, continuous passive motion therapy, casting, and care of patients with external fixation.
This popular nursing specialty focuses on the healthcare needs of children from birth through adolescence. Depending on their level of training, pediatric nurses provide both primary and preventive healthcare, conduct physical exams, manage chronic and acute illnesses, perform diagnostic tests, and provide treatment plans. help children in a variety of settings. They also provide healthcare education to patients and families.
Psychiatric nurse practitioners provide consultation and care to patients suffering with mental health, behavioral health, and psychiatric disorders. In addition to administering medication and therapy, their duties include crisis intervention, mental health assessment and evaluation, and patient assistance.
It is the psychiatric nurse practitioner's responsibility to make an official diagnosis, develop a care plan, implement the plan, and continuously evaluate its effectiveness. When medication and psychotherapy are required, the nurse can prescribe them. With a growing population suffering from mental and emotional health issues, there's a demand for Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, also known as PMHNP’s, which is a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.
A nurse anesthetist is a special type of advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who is certified and trained in administering anesthesia to patients. These APRNs also observe vital signs, make adjustments, and monitor patients during surgical procedures and in recovery. Nurse anesthetists work with patients of all ages in scheduled surgical operations or emergency procedures. Prior to surgery, they record patient histories and provide information about the types of anesthesia used in the procedure.
They can provide care in a variety of settings, including hospitals, physician’s offices, rural and medically underserved areas and the military. They can also work in non-clinical settings as a teacher, researcher, or administrator.
Nurse midwives are APRNs who provide prenatal, family planning and obstetric care. Often, they serve as primary caregivers for women and their newborns. They can also be involved in general wellness care for new mothers and babies, providing education on nutrition and disease prevention. Employment for nurse midwives is expected to grow by 11 percent through 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Advanced practice registered nurses who specialize in pregnancy, prenatal care, childbirth, and postpartum recovery can earn certification as nurse midwives. Nurse midwives care for patients from labor through delivery and provide postpartum assistance. While primarily focused on pregnancy care, these nurses may also offer general services for women, including gynecological reproductive and preventive healthcare.
Nurse researchers are scientists who study various aspects of health, illness, and health care. By designing and implementing scientific studies, they look for ways to improve health, healthcare services, and healthcare outcomes. They're known for posing questions, analysing data, conducting studies and more importantly, discovering new ways to navigate healthcare and illnesses.
They work in a variety of settings including hospitals and research laboratories, however many researchers teach in academic or clinical settings, and often write articles and research reports for nursing, medical, and other professional journals and publications. Often, you will begin your research career in positions such as research assistant, clinical data coordinator, and clinical research monitor.
While nurse researchers do not provide direct nursing care to patients, they perform important healthcare functions, focusing on topics that impact the field of nursing and save peoples' lives.
Oncology nurses are involved in many aspects of cancer diagnoses and treatment, from early detection to symptom management. They most often work in hospitals, but they can also be employed by home care organizations, specialty medical centers and ambulatory centers.
Oncology nurses care for patients receiving treatment for various stages of cancer. They typically specialize in subfields such as pediatric cancer, geriatric cancer, breast cancer, or hematology. These nurses administer chemotherapy, identify symptoms, and monitor progress. Oncology nurses also play a crucial role in creating a comfortable and supportive environment for cancer patients.
Infection control and prevention nurses identify, surveil, and manage infections, diseases, and viruses. Typically registered nurses, these professionals have filled a critical role during the COVID-19 pandemic, as healthcare systems need specialized workers to focus on patient case reporting and widespread infection prevention. They work at hospitals, clinics, and community health centers.
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