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Choosing Your Nurse Practitioner Specialty

When looking into a career in healthcare, you should consider various nurse practitioner specialties that open up options in nursing, which can make valuable use of your skills and strengths. This is especially true if you’ve already decided that nursing is going to be your career field. While being a Registered Nurse (RN) is a rewarding profession, carving out a niche that allows you to apply your education to the specific field that interests you and provide you with a career that remains satisfying for the long-term.

Choosing a specialty for your nurse practitioner (NP) pursuit will be easier or harder due to the current national health circumstances, depending on how you look it. Americans are living longer, but health in general is on the decline. This unique situation has added to the healthcare needs already in place, opening up the field for many different specialties to arise, giving RN’s who wish to specialize, a long list to choose from when deciding on an area to specialize in.

5 Nurse Practitioner Specialties

Nurse practitioner specialties that center on family are always in demand, and if you enjoy working with children, as well as adults, you’ll fit well as a Family NP or Pediatric NP. The trend towards more basic, natural healthcare has increased demand for Midwife NP’s. If you have a heart for the elderly, you should consider a job as a Geriatric NP. Or, if you’re concerned about the obesity issue, consider becoming a Health and Wellness NP to help patients who struggle with weight.

Educational Requirements

When you opt to specialize and focus on an area that interests you, there are educational requirements you’ll need to meet. Typically, nurse practitioners are required to have:

•Registered Nursing degree
•Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree
•Clinical experience, at least as an RN, but experience in the chosen area of specialty is helpful, too
•Specialty Certification in the chosen area
•State licensing from the state in which you wish to practice

Finding a Job

Once you’ve decided on an area of specialty and obtained your degrees and licensing, all that’s left is to find a job. There was a time when most nurse practitioner specialists were placed with employers through services associated with their programs. Even having the credentials and the recommendation from the program, however, placement wasn’t always guaranteed or quick to happen. Currently, though, the acceptance of NP’s by physicians and patients as a vital part of healthcare service has increased demand for nurse practitioner specialists, accelerating the placement of recently graduated NP specialists and providing openings for those with experience.

Fitting with an NP Specialty

Nurse practitioner specialists don’t live a 9 to 5 existence. Some practice in hospitals, making their schedules subject to the hospitals’ needs. NP specialist who work rural settings may find themselves making house calls and even those in more urban areas might see their patients on an out-patient basis. There are positions for NP specialists in clinics that have more traditional schedules and hours, but the point is that you should be prepared for the unusual to be usual if you decide to specialize as a nurse practitioner. The job can be demanding, diverse and bring you a new challenge every day, and if you thrive in that type of environment, you’ll never find a more rewarding career.

Nursing Scholarships

American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) American Cancer Society Doctoral Degree Scholarships in Cancer Nursing Gallagher Student Health Careers Scholarship
The Gates Millenium Scholars (GMS) National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA)
New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) Nurse Corps Scholarship (NCS) Nurses of Tomorrow
Nursing Economics Foundation Tylenol Future Care Scholarship American Holistic Nurses Association
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Quick Fact
In 2018, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
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*Bureau of Labor Statistics

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