Nursing Opportunities: Finding Your Niche
The medical field is growing and changing by the year. This rapid development has provided many opportunities and almost created a necessity for nurses to pin point a career field for specialized study. Nurses of varied educational levels can work solely in departments like pediatrics, emergency, home care and many others.
How to Choose a Specialized Nursing Career Field
Choosing a specialized field of study could potentially be one of the hardest educational decisions a nursing major makes, so here are some tips. Through your courses and practicum you’ve been introduced to a number of settings, medical conditions and patient populations. Narrow down your options by asking some key questions:
- Where do I want to work? Do you enjoy the adrenaline rush of the emergency room, treating patients with a wide variety of critical conditions? Or would you rather work in a private practice office where you greet the same patients as they cycle through during their regular check-ups? Consider the home health setting in which you travel to provide medical assistance to those who cannot easily leave their homes. Or perhaps you’d prefer the research, education, or administration side of the medical field. There are a plethora of options to choose.
- What age group do I want to serve? Do you have a knack for putting sick or worried children at ease? Or do you love interacting with elderly patients? Perhaps you have a way with adolescents or maybe you’re at ease interacting with adults? Whatever age group you enjoy most may be a key in choosing your specialization.
- What medical conditions/diseases/disorders do I want to treat? Would you like to work with preemies and infants in a neonatal unit, or would you’d be thrilled to help a new mother welcome her little one into the world as you work in labor and delivery? Perhaps you have an affinity for those struggling through cancer, cardiac problems or extremely painful medical conditions? An excellent nurse is able to empathize with his patients, and there are many conditions that require special attention.
A Sampling of Specialized Nursing Career Options
Are you wondering what your job description would be as a nurse practitioner, psychiatric nurse, or critical-care nurse? Aside from caring for patients with various ailments, providing emotional support for both patients and their families, and reporting observations to the overseeing doctor, each are has its own special challenges. It’s ideal to do some thorough research before you jump into the first specialty you see. Here’s a sampling of a couple options available:
- Critical Care – A critical care nurse provides emotional and physical support for very ill patients and their families. He acts as a patient advocate, evaluates complex health situations, provides high intensity therapies and interventions, and provides constant vigilance over the patient.
- Hospice Care – These nurses work in collaboration with physicians, social workers, and chaplains to provide comfort to terminally ill patients. Their primary role is to provide emotional and physical comfort during the patients last days.
- Nurse Practitioner – Nurse practitioners provide basic health care to infants, children and adults in a wide range of settings. A nurse practitioner typically obtains advanced education beyond the standard for a registered nurse.
With so many nursing opportunities to consider, it’s imperative to seriously consider your interests. Sift every specialized option through the sieve of your unique qualities, and you’re sure to find a nursing career that you’ll enjoy!
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