The healthcare sector is an integrative and collaborative force. From doctors and physicians to lab workers and researchers, each member is an integral part of the crew and must put forth their best effort to provide quality patient care. Nurses are a critical component of the healthcare squad and one without which the whole crew can malfunction.
The Role of a Nurse
Nurses are the backbone of any medical institution, serving doctors and patients alike. Their responsibilities are challenging and vary on a day-to-day basis. They are the first in line to interact with incoming patients and assist them in navigating the complex medical care facilities. By hearing the client’s concerns, assessing their symptoms and physical state, they can guide them to the relevant professionals, thus bridging the gap between doctor and patient. Nurses remain on their feet all day, gathering lab results, maintaining medical records, drafting treatment plans, and coordinating with team members.
To pursue your career as a registered nurse, you must acquire a Bachelor’s in Nursing and clear the NCL exam to secure your license. A master’s degree sets you on the path to becoming a practitioner, a position of much higher authority and autonomy. While this will enable you to work in hospitals or clinics, many more opportunities can be unlocked should you choose to further your education. Indeed, this profession isn’t for the faint of heart, rather those who intend to utilize their talents to serve humanity and make the world a better place.
Specializations in Nursing:
As an NP, you don’t have to limit yourself to mundane hospital errands. Instead, you can specialize in a field of interest and cater to a target clientele. If you’re wondering what can nurse practitioners specialize in, worry no more because we’ve got you covered. To help you decide, we have listed a few of the many specialties NPs can pursue.
Family Nurse Practitioner
FNPs provide primary care, preventative healthcare, medical education, disease management, and guidance facilities to patients of all age groups. From infants and children to adults and seniors, FNPs must cater to all issues. As an FNP, you must master the ability to manage a wide variety of medical conditions, including acute injuries, mental health issues, chronic illnesses, and so on. Unlike registered nurses, FNP can work independently without supervision and even start their private practices. They are also eligible to conduct tests, administer essential treatments and prescribe medications without the approval of any physician. The need for FNPs is prominent not only in hospitals or clinics but also in schools, doctor’s offices, state health units, nursing homes, and community service centers,
Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
To be successful in mental health nursing, you need strong doses of compassion, empathy and patience. These specialist nurses have a patient-centered, holistic and collaborative approach to care. They must cater to patients struggling with various forms of mental illnesses.
To work as a mental health nurse, on-the-job training as well as a postgraduate education are important. You can do both at the same time with the availability of online courses. For Master of Mental Health Nursing programs, you’re generally expected to combine study with clinical practice in a mental health nursing environment.
As a mental health nurse, you will encounter patients from every walk of life, listen to diverse stories, and witness life on a level deeper than most. You will encounter patients with disorders like depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia, victims of alcohol, drug abuse, and eating disorders, survivors of assault and harassment, and so on. You must create a space where they feel comfortable and safe enough to speak up without the fear of judgment.
Through avid communication and psychosocial evaluation tests, a Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner assesses the patient’s symptoms, diagnoses their illness, and highlights the root cause. They may prescribe medications and will consult with family and other health professionals as required.
Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
This fast-paced area of specialization requires nurses to observe extreme focus, commitment and master the ability to work under pressure. ACNPs must provide advanced nursing care and immediate attention to brief but severe illnesses or injuries. Unlike chronic diseases, acute health care conditions like blunt-force trauma, lethal wounds or injuries, cardiac issues like heart failure, respiratory distress, or septic shock must be diagnosed and treated without delay.
They must then go over their medical records, history, and past procedures to draft an appropriate treatment plan. If surgery is needed, they must prepare the patient for the procedure, administer anesthesia, monitor their vitals, and provide post-operative care to ensure recovery. This is a difficult specialty, and will require that they work at night a lot; thus, nurses will have to learn how to get enough sleep as a nurse shift nurse.
Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
Gerontology nurses provide primary and preventive healthcare to the elderly to enhance the quality and the length of life. AGNP’s are nurses specialized in dealing with adults and seniors over the age of 60. They have advanced-level education in diseases, disorders, and other health-related issues that arise with old age. Based on the conclusion, AGNPs prescribe medications, therapies, and treatments, keep an eye out for potentially harmful symptoms and recommend lifestyle changes to delay the onset of the impending condition. Moreover, they can assist in chronic disease management, educate patients and their caretakers on managing painful symptoms, provide emotional support.
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
Practitioners specializing in this field cater to the illnesses and health-related issues women encounter during their lifespan. Since they must tackle diverse problems, they have knowledge and training in obstetrics, reproductive, and gynecological health management. WHNPs assist expecting mothers by overseeing regular health and fertility evaluations, prescribing pre-and-post-natal medication, monitoring fetal growth, and offering STD testing and treatment. They work alongside surgeons and other gynecologist specialists during normal labor and C-sections to monitor the vitals of both mother and the baby. In addition to physical care, they provide emotional support and education regarding the challenges of motherhood.
The nursing field is ever-growing, and their demand is expected to double in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that job opportunities for nurses are expected to rise by 38% between 202-2030, which is exceptionally high compared to other professions. It is an occupation that embalms you to earn a good living while serving humanity and leaving your mark in the world.