Trending Articles

Health

Specialty Career Pathways For Nurses

There are numerous specializations available to nurses who wish to further their careers. Advanced qualifications, such as a master’s degree, can provide opportunities to work in specialized roles. Nurses can research various nursing professions to find careers that match their experiences, aspirations and skills. They can select their preferred areas to work within and how they would like to specialize. By gaining the required qualifications and experience, they can achieve professional recognition and a rewarding career.

How To Begin Your Career 

There are many pathways for nursing career progression. Programs such as the Rockhurst University online nursing programs prepare nurses to provide quality healthcare to diverse populations. Nursing programs provide healthcare innovation, clinical excellence, transformative learning, optimal outcomes and training in specializations. Rockhurst University offers a selection of online degrees and certifications, including master’s programs in family practice, adult gerontology, and psychiatric mental health. The clinical placement services provide individualized placement assistance to help students identify a local clinical site and continue to offer support and guidance throughout the placement.

A Positive Outlook For Nurses

Nurse practitioner (NP) has been recognized as the best job in three categories of the US News and World Report Best Jobs Rankings: 100 Best Jobs, Best Healthcare Jobs and Best STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Jobs. The US News and World Report measured each job for growth potential, average salary, employment rates, job satisfaction and job market health before listing the rankings for 2024. The president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners acknowledged the ranking as a very positive reflection of the NP role and commented on the high demand for NP’s skills and expertise.  

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

The MSN program prepares nurses for a variety of advanced specialized roles. Students gain the knowledge and skills to deliver advanced patient care, participate in policy development and become leaders and specialists in nursing. Nurses learn to assess, diagnose and treat patients and provide all-round care. The MSN program teaches nursing skills that are used daily, such as conducting a physical examination, prescribing medication and making decisions.

Students may also take certification exams in their specialty area, which can lead to improved job opportunities and professional recognition. Some of the specialties offered by the MSN are family nurse practitioner (FNP), adult-gerontology nurse practitioner (AGNP) and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). There are clinical placements and coursework that cover topics such as advanced nursing theory, clinical practice, physical sciences, management, nursing informatics, and social sciences.

Studying for an online MSN can be more practical for working professionals as studying can be arranged around other responsibilities. Students can network and connect through virtual communication. Connecting with students from diverse work settings who share their experiences and challenges can be interesting and educative. Studying while working can be beneficial as learning can be immediately applied to real-life situations.

Family Nurse Practitioner

FNPs typically see patients in person and care for patients of all ages. They develop relationships with patients and learn about their medical risks and needs. FNPs have a wide-ranging view of patient care and often care for both the patient and their family. They have a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their patients’ concerns.

FNPs have varied roles with numerous responsibilities. They are often the first healthcare professionals that patients have contact with and influence their future treatment. They record the patient’s medical history and perform examinations. They arrange for relevant diagnostic testing to effectively diagnose the patient. They analyze the situation and recommend suitable treatment.

FNPs oversee communication between patients and doctors and keep team members informed. FNPs can improve healthcare in underserved communities and improve access to healthcare. They are advocates for better services, and they promote good health.

FNPs working in rural and urban areas can provide modern medical treatment with early-stage intervention and preventative care. FNPs can gain certification in specializations such as diabetes, pain management and obesity.  

Gerontological Nurse Practitioners 

Gerontology is the scientific study of old age and the aging process and looks at the causes and effects of age-related ill health. Adult-gerontology nurse practitioners consider all aspects of care, examining the biological, social and physiological aspects of aging for all adults. This population has bodies that are no longer developing and experience changes related to age, including decreased respiratory strength, reduced bone density, and a higher chance of infection.

An important part of the AGNP’s role in preventing disease and educating patients on maintaining health. The advanced education of AGNPs allows them to diagnose and treat episodic and chronic conditions. They organize diagnostic tests, collaborate with the multidisciplinary team, support patients in dealing with the healthcare system and make referrals to specialists. They have advanced nursing skills for treating chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, stroke and diabetes. The older population is growing, and AGNPs are essential in providing this demographic with quality healthcare. 

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner  

PMHNPs are advanced practice nurses who provide mental health treatment and support services. They provide care for patients with psychiatric disorders, behavioral problems and mental health issues. Their patients are of all ethnicities, ages and socioeconomic statuses. They provide diagnosis, treatment and management of mental illness and develop treatment plans that meet the needs of each patient. They provide preventative care, such as screening and educating patients and families. They can specialize in specific disorders such as anorexia nervosa, anxiety and substance abuse.

PMHNPs work in various settings, such as acute care, long-term care, ambulatory care and community facilities. They collaborate with the mental health team to integrate services and achieve better health outcomes. PMHNPs are responsible for supporting recovery, helping patients manage their mental health and improving their quality of life. The mental health care team will collaborate with the patient to create a care plan that is reviewed regularly throughout treatment. PMHNPs are trained to use intervention techniques, including group therapy and cognitive behavior therapy. PMHNPs are highly sought after due to the growing demand for mental health services across the country.

Career Development

Nurses have many opportunities to further their careers and follow specialization pathways. Studying for a master’s degree can include selecting a specialization with graduates being employed in advanced nursing practice positions. Specialty areas can include family practice, adult gerontology, and psychiatric nursing. There is an increasing demand for nurse practitioners as their expertise and evidence-based practice are highly regarded within healthcare.

Related posts