Nurses play a critical role in healthcare and the value of the patient care and work a nurse provides cannot be overstated. The field of nursing is one with incredible variety, and as medicine has evolved, so has the role of the nurse in delivering care. For a nurse, or someone looking to enter the field, having an idea of the specialty you’d like to follow is important, because the education requirements and expected salary can vary greatly between them. Let’s have a look at ten nursing specialties that you can enter to further your career in healthcare.
Like the job title alludes to, as a geriatric nurse, you’ll be working with older patients and specialize in treating and assisting with treatment plans for their specific injuries and ailments. Often this will mean dealing with patients who require frail care, and those suffering from degenerative ailments like Alzheimer’s disease. Geriatric nurses earn an average salary, but there is potential to earn more in private care. To follow this specialty, you’ll require a certification in the care of geriatric patients.
A nurse specializing in cardiac nursing is one in high demand, particularly in the United States, where cardiac related illness and emergencies continue to rise. Your role as a cardiac nurse will be one of assisting specialist doctors in the treatment and surgical intervention of patients requiring heart bypasses and pacemaker surgeries, amongst others. Expect to earn an average salary, though no cardiac specific certifications are required.
The pediatric nurse specializes in the care of children, from infants to teenagers. These patients are often at their most vulnerable, and you are likely going to find yourself dealing with both your patients and their parents, so those who are great at explaining medical conditions simply and easily do well as pediatric nurses. You’ll likely be performing physical examinations, assisting with healthcare and managing vaccines and other child-related healthcare. Expect an average salary and the need to complete pediatric nurse practitioner programs which can be done online with Baylor University.
To become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, extensive training is required, particularly the completion of the CRNA certification, as well as a master’s degree in nursing. This is one of the best paid specialties in nursing and can sometimes pay as much as double the average nursing salary, thanks to the demand for nurses in the specialty. You’ll be responsible for assisting patients with pain management during and after surgical procedures, as well as being present in the operating theatre during surgery.
The perioperative nurse works alongside surgeons and spends most of their time in the operating theatre, both before operative procedures and after. Perioperative nurses are responsible for setting up operating theatres and surgical rooms before surgical procedures as well as assisting with both pre- and post-operative care for patients who have undergone surgery. Perioperative nurses are also often involved in the surgical procedure itself, so it offers a unique working environment for nurses. Expect an average salary. This job requires a Certified Nurse First Assistant certification.
Critical Care Nurse
The critical care nurse does much the same as a Registered Nurse, and requires the same level of education, other than a certification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support. This specialty is one of high stress and intensity as you’re often caring for patients in a critical condition and tending to serious and critical wounds. You will likely find yourself working in emergency departments or trauma units. You can expect to earn a higher-than-average salary as a critical care nurse.
A clinical nurse can be thought of like a team leader in the nursing staff team. They work with other nurses, usually in a supervisory role, and are responsible for direct patient care. You’ll not only be managing nurses in a hospital or department, but you’ll likely also be responsible for a level of training and education within your team too.
Oncology is a very tough field where you might see more patients who don’t make it through their treatments than other specialties, but it can still be very rewarding for nurses. The focus for those providing care in the field of oncology is education. You’ll be providing important help and information about treatment options, and feedback about the disease to your patients. You’ll need to be a Registered Nurse with about 1000 hours of training, but expect to earn an average salary as an oncology nurse and expect to be richly rewarded with interactions with your critically ill patients as you guide and educate them through their care.
Nurse educators are quite unique in that you are usually not directly involved with patient care at all, but instead use their skills to teach nursing students about the field and about patient care. The role of nurse educator pays an average salary and requires a certification as a nurse educator above holding a Registered Nurse License.
Public Health Nurse
A public health nurse works within communities and aims to educate and improve the general health and wellbeing of the community. As a public health nurse, you’ll be responsible for assisting individuals with their healthcare needs, but also spreading awareness and educating those in the community on staying healthy and caring for their healthcare needs. Being a public health nurse requires a lot of empathy and care, and often you’re not paid particularly well either. While the education requirements aren’t as high as some specialties, you’ll need to complete a bachelor’s degree and have a Registered Nurse license, as well as complete a public health or community health nursing exam to become a public health nurse.
As you can see, there are many different specialties, each with their own set of challenges and benefits. Thankfully, with the rise of distance and blended learning, it isn’t difficult to upskill yourself and start your journey to one of the many specialties available to nurses. Choosing a path as a nurse can be difficult, so spend some time deciding what kind of work you’d like to do before you embark on your study.