Nursing is a rewarding and versatile job with no shortage of opportunities for growth and advancement. Becoming a registered nurse in itself is a huge achievement, but specializing in a field of healthcare best suited to your talents and motivations is an excellent way to build a satisfying and successful career. Whether you’re a trained nurse thinking about advancing your career or are simply considering a career in nursing, these are a few of the many interesting avenues to explore when it comes to choosing a specialty.
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Family Nurse Practitioner
To become a Family Nurse Practitioner, you will first need to qualify as a registered nurse, and from there you can pursue further education from an institute that specializes in the advancement of registered nurses.
Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) are highly qualified professionals who work within their communities, providing care to their patients from birth to old age. As they may become a primary healthcare provider to some people for many years, this gives FNPs a unique relationship with their patients an insight that other healthcare professionals would not have, often allowing them to make more accurate diagnoses or offer more appropriate treatment.
FNPs have the option to work within a doctor’s office, clinic, hospital, school, or even as a private practitioner. Because of their high level of training, FNPs often have the option to advance further as administrators or even healthcare policymakers. These are just some of the significant draws of training and practicing as an FNP, but for a comprehensive outline of all the benefits, click here.
Legal Nurse Consultant
This is another career path that calls for a previous qualification as a registered nurse, and while it’s not necessarily a requirement, most aspiring consultants will seek a further specialty qualification or an advanced degree for better job prospects.
A Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC) is a healthcare professional with a background in nursing who gives legal testimony based on their medical expertise. LNCs are hired to analyze all details given of the care and treatments provided in medical litigation, such as malpractice or injury lawsuits. They make informed assessments of the standards of care and adherence to best practices and share their medical opinions to help legal professionals resolve disputes. LNCs can work in a variety of settings, from law firms and insurance companies to hospitals and clinics, or may even practice independently.
A role as an LNC allows nursing professionals to use their considerable knowledge to bridge the gap between legal and medical fields, and has the potential to be a dynamic and interesting career.
Emergency Room Nurse
An ER nurse is responsible for the rapid assessment and triaging of patients as they are admitted to the hospital. Registered nurses can apply directly to hospitals as soon as they are qualified, with no further study required.
It takes a very particular personality to become an ER nurse, as practitioners will need to stay calm and collected in the face of not only serious trauma and illness but possibly even death. ER Nurses also need to be able to work efficiently without sacrificing compassion and care for the frightened patients and their worried loved ones. A role as an ER nurse is best suited for someone who thrives in a fast-paced environment and can think on their feet while offering reassurance to people in pain or distress.
Though there are of course difficulties, ER nursing offers the opportunity to help people in dire and urgent need. Each shift in an emergency room will bring new challenges and no two days will ever be the same.
Registered nurses with clinical experience can pursue a certification in forensic nursing, training for the skills needed to assist law enforcement professionals in criminal cases.
Specialists in this field will need to be both compassionate and methodical to succeed. Forensic nurses work closely with victims of physical and sexual assault, and other forms of abuse or neglect, offering emotional support while gathering medical evidence. Many forensic nurses will also work alongside coroners and pathologists to identify causes of death and record medical evidence from corpses for use in autopsies, courtrooms, and prosecutions. Like legal nursing consultants, they will often provide legal testimony that draws on their expertise and professional opinion.
Forensic nurses not only help patients and families who are experiencing unimaginable trauma but also work with legal professionals to successfully prosecute assailants. Though it can be trying to work with people suffering through such pain, there is a huge satisfaction to be had from helping to make communities safer through criminal justice.
To practice as a nurse-midwife, registered nurses will need to complete a graduate degree from the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).
One of the draws of midwifery is working closely with sweet babies and their deliriously happy new parents, but there is so much more to this broad medical specialty. Nurse-midwives specialize in the care of expectant mothers through pregnancy, labor, delivery, and beyond. They are set apart from traditional midwives due to their medical training and their status as primary care providers, with the ability to prescribe treatments and medications. As a certified nurse-midwife, you have the option to work from a private practice or in hospitals alongside OBGYNs.
Midwifery nursing has a varied and interesting remit. Specialists not only provide support through pregnancy and childbirth; they educate patients on reproductive health, inform new parents about proper infant care, ensure the health and proper development of newborn babies, and support postpartum women through their recovery. If you’ve dreamed of a medical career that focuses on families and their wellbeing, certifying as a nurse-midwife could be the right path for you.
With a background as a registered nurse, there is a bounty of diverse roles and interesting opportunities available to you. Whether you choose to work alongside legal professionals resolving disputes and prosecuting criminals or put your talents towards helping families and communities, your nursing career has endless potential to be not only engaging but truly fulfilling.