What Specialization Paths Are Open To Nurses After Graduation?

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Nurses After Graduation

As a nurse, you have the opportunity to improve people’s lives each and every day you go to work, regardless of which area you choose to specialize in. Whether you move into pediatrics, critical care or even roles outside of the hospital setting, such as nursing education, there are a multitude of dynamic and fulfilling roles within the profession that offer scope for career progression.

This article will explore some of these specialization paths that are available to nurses after graduation, as, of course, the first step to specializing as a nurse is to qualify and obtain the relevant certification to practice nursing in the first place.

Critical care nurses provide vital care to those in urgent need

Providing direct care to patients who have been injured or are very ill, critical care nurses often save lives in emergencies. In this role, you would work in a range of settings, including pre- and post-operative care, and also collaborate with doctors and consultants to plan the treatment of patients.

You’ll need a diverse skill set, as part of your time would be spent communicating with patients and their families, but you’ll also need to be an expert on charting and equipment to manage the drips and equipment used on an ICU ward. Not all critical care nurses work in hospitals, however, and you might prefer a role in an outpatient clinic, a nursing home or a trauma center.

Pediatric nurses comfort and heal younger patients

Pediatric nurses help children overcome or manage a medical condition. They provide various forms of specialist care to patients ranging from newborns to teenagers. In this role, you would assess, treat and monitor, as in many other areas of nursing, but as you would be working with children, you would also need to make them feel safe. This involves good communication, making the ward a welcoming place, and building bonds with patients and their families

As a pediatric nurse, you’ll need to be a multitasker, because as well as carrying out medical duties, you’ll be a source of comfort, an advocate and a problem solver for the children in your care.

Adult gerontology and geriatrics nurses support older patients

Geriatric nurses care for those who are aging and have conditions that are associated with getting older. Their work helps to prolong the average lifespan and ensure that people live healthier, more active lives for longer. They treat aging patients with care and dignity, understanding the implications of related conditions on mental well-being too.

In this field, you would help people to maintain their current level of health or improve it so that they enjoy a better quality of life. Part of the role involves encouraging patients to adhere to their medication schedule and care for themselves independently, but you may also be involved with delivering physical therapies to help patients stay active.

Adult gerontology nursing focuses on the acute, chronic and critical care needs of adult patients and these nurses serve as advocates for patients aged over 18 years of age. Designed for practicing nurses who wish to specialize in adult-gerontology nursing, the online DNP-AGACNP program at Baylor University combines online learning with a local clinical placement to make the route into adult care more accessible for busy students. It is ideal for healthcare professionals who plan to work in any aspect of adult nursing, with a curriculum that focuses on diagnostic reasoning, including the importance of history taking, physical examination and diagnostics, in addition to exploring the normal and abnormal changes of the aging body, and studying common and chronic problems relating to the healthcare needs of adults.

Maternal and neonatal nurses support parents and newborns

Babies and their mothers can sometimes need medical attention in the first days after birth. Maternal and neonatal nurses support those who have a range of complications or need surgery to recover. You would also work with healthy mothers and their infants who are staying on the ward after birth. Although most of the patients will be under the age of two, some will stay on the ward for many years or return for stays to manage their condition

The majority of your work would be in medical patient care, but you would also need to provide general care for babies, such as bottle feeding, changing and rocking. Most maternal and neonatal nurses practice in hospitals, but you could also find work in pediatrician’s offices.

Community health nurses foster healthy living across the US

Community nurses are based in outreach clinics and hospitals in towns and cities, serving rural, suburban and urban populations. If you enjoy the idea of improving the health outcomes of entire communities, and teaching people about illness prevention, taking care of themselves and accessing care, then this could be a great role.

You’ll need excellent communication skills as community health nurses often act as liaisons between medical professionals and patients, to ensure that people get the treatments they need. In this role, you would create programs that empower communities by teaching them about healthy living and providing vaccinations, screenings and other forms of preventive care. You would work with diverse groups of people from many different backgrounds, some of whom are underinsured, so cultural competency is essential.

Nurse educators train and nurture talented new nurses

Nurses who are passionate about teaching and learning themselves might want to consider a role in academia. If this appeals to you, then you could share your expertise with younger, less experienced practitioners and nurture their development into better healthcare workers.

In a university, as well as designing curricula and planning lessons, you would be involved with the practical aspects of nurse training, such as lab work. You might also work in a clinical setting in a hospital or clinic. Here, you would educate and train nursing students who are on a placement. This might involve supporting their learning of clinical skills, ensuring that they get the most out of their rotation, and assessing their progress.

Nursing offers numerous career opportunities

Whichever area of nursing you choose to specialize in, by working in the industry, will be working within one of the most rewarding professions in the US. As a specialist working within a multidisciplinary team, you’ll help your patients overcome illness, manage chronic conditions, and live the healthiest and happiest life possible.