Nurse Practitioner Specialty Areas to Consider

Nurse Practitioner

In the healthcare industry, nurses play an essential role when it comes to making sure that patients get the right care. With nurses playing a hugely important role in the healthcare industry these days, it’s never been more important for nurses to get the right advanced training to prepare them for providing their patients with high-quality care standards. Nursing is a career option that offers a lot of different opportunities for progression, growth, and advancement for professionals. There has been an increase in investment in more educational options for nurses, including further development of the role of the nurse practitioner.  

Today, nurse practitioners are taking on more and more important roles in the delivery of primary healthcare. These advanced practice registered nurses are trained to a very high standard with a master’s or doctorate degree in nursing. Nurse practitioners are highly trained healthcare professionals who are offered more responsibility and autonomy in their career compared to registered nurses. In twenty-two US states, nurse practitioners have full practice authority, which allows them to examine, diagnose, and prescribe treatment to patients without a doctor’s supervision. 

What Is the Role of a Nurse Practitioner?

A degree program such as the FNP DNP online from Baylor University is designed to prepare nurses for the role of a nurse practitioner. The everyday role and responsibilities of a nurse practitioner will depend on a range of different factors including the environment that they work in and the area of specialty that they choose. Many nurse practitioners work in settings where they are required to take part in a number of different tasks including management and planning along with direct patient care. Nurse practitioners work in clinical healthcare settings where they are often the first professionals to see the patient during an early stage of their care and respond to their concerns. Nurse practitioners diagnose injuries and illnesses through an examination of the patient, before determining which, if any, treatments or medications need to be prescribed. Nurse practitioners are also responsible for providing counseling and education to patients when it comes to managing their health and preventing health concerns. 

Specialty Areas for Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners work in a wide variety of specialty areas within healthcare. There are various different types of nurse practitioner roles that nurses can consider when they move towards pursuing a role as a nurse practitioner. Some of the most popular specialty areas for nurse practitioners to work in include:

Family Nurse Practitioner

A family nurse practitioner works in a primary care role, which is also the most popular type of nurse practitioner for nurses to get into. Along with this, the family nurse practitioner is also one of the most in-demand roles in healthcare around the US with these healthcare professionals being hired across the country to work in positions that are in need of filling due to a shortage of primary care physicians. In this role, the main responsibility involves working with the general population and family health. They treat patients of all ages and deal with a wide range of healthcare problems and conditions in much the same way as a primary care physician. While family nurse practitioners typically offer general healthcare, some do choose to specialize in certain healthcare areas like women’s health. 

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Pediatric nurse practitioners mainly work with children and young people. They can either offer general healthcare to children or work in a specialist role to focus on diseases and conditions that are more likely to impact young children rather than adults. To work in this role, you will need a nursing master’s degree that specializes in pediatric care, and some roles will require you to have experience working as a pediatric registered nurse. 

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

A psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner specializes in working with patients who are suffering from mental health conditions and emotional disabilities. In this role, you may be working directly with patients who are struggling with conditions such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and others. These nurse practitioners receive highly specialist training in mental health and psychology. They may work in a range of different healthcare environments but are mainly found in areas where mental healthcare is a priority including secure units, psychiatric hospitals, mental health outpatient clinics, and rehabilitation centers. 

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Neonatal nurse practitioners are highly trained and skilled professionals who specialize in caring for newborn babies or neonates. Neonatal nurse practitioners will typically work in the neonatal intensive care unit, which is designed to care for babies born with health issues that need addressing. Babies in the NICU tend to have issues such as drug dependency, birth defects, and other health issues that require specialist care. 

Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

Adult gerontology nurse practitioners are healthcare professionals who specialize in treating adults with a variety of healthcare issues. Most of the time they will work with seniors and older adults, although they can treat adults of all ages. Adult gerontology nurse practitioners work in a range of different environments including hospitals, doctor’s offices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, and other settings. The role allows these nurse practitioners to focus on certain specialty areas that affect adults more often, for example, specializing in the care of older adults with dementia. 

Surgical Nurse Practitioners

Surgical nurse practitioners are highly advanced practice nurses who are responsible for assisting with surgical procedures. However, they do not have the authority to practice surgery without supervision, even in states where full practice authority is generally awarded to nurse practitioners. These nurse practitioners will receive more in-depth training compared to surgical nurses, which allows them to offer more assistance to surgeons during surgical operations. 

Nurse practitioners are becoming more and more needed in the healthcare industry, as fewer medical students decide to go into primary care. While family nurse practitioners tend to be the main type of nurse practitioner standing in for the lack of primary care physicians, nurses who are interested in this role can choose from a range of specialty areas.


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