The medical field is a rewarding one as those in it get to make a tremendous difference in the lives of those they work with. Nurses also get to enjoy quite a variety in what they get to do on a day-to-day basis, and the salaries that most in this field earn is enough for a comfortable living. So, now that you know that you want to become a nurse, the next step is narrowing that focus and deciding on a concentration. Here are some of the more popular ones.
This field has a lot of growth potential as life expectancy continues to increase, and these aging individuals have their own set of medical needs that needs to be addressed. For example, as people age, they become much more likely to experience diseases such as cancer, dementia or diabetes. Learning about gerontology will provide you with the opportunity to improve your knowledge of how aging affects the body and what types of medical treatment need to applied in order to increase the quality of these aging individuals’ lives.
Midwifery focuses on the other end of the life cycle, on newborns and their mothers as they prepare for the birthing process and transitioning into motherhood. Midwives help women throughout their pregnancy, from screenings during the first trimester, monthly visits in the middle three months and measuring vitals and conducting lab tests every week or two in the final trimester. Of course, childbirth is a significant aspect of midwifery. Following the birthing process, midwives help the mother and her baby through the first six weeks of the post-birthing period. This time has been described by the World Health Organization as a “critical phase,” but also one that is “the most neglected,” and more and more midwives have been increasing their involvement during this time as well.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Infants who require additional care due to things like chemical dependence, illness or premature birth are cared for by neonatal nurse practitioners. These medically fragile newborns require specialized care as they fight throughout their first several months of life. Some of the things that neonatal nurse practitioners do is administer oxygen, feed the infants and provide them with any medication or medical procedures. Due to how highly specialized and fast paced this aspect of nursing is, it is recommended that you gain experience in other areas of nursing first.
Orthopedic nurse practitioners help people with musculoskeletal issues that affect their bones, joints and muscles. Examples include arthritis, broken bones and osteoporosis. These setbacks can occur as a result of a birth defect, degeneration, disease or injury. Much of what orthopedic nurse practitioners do also involves educating their patients on why they are experiencing these issues and what they can do to recover their strength and mobility. Assistance is also provided to doctors operating on these patients.
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
This concentration is for aspiring nurses who want to help those suffering from mental illnesses. Psychiatric nurse practitioners help diagnose and treat these illnesses and also prescribe medication in some states. Educating the patients and their families is also done on a regular basis. Although these individuals may work with a psychiatrist or doctor on occasion, they tend to work without supervision; in many cases, they have their own private practices. Work is also done in recovery centers, hospitals, forensic settings and schools.
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Of course, no list is going to include all of the top nursing concentrations. Some of the other ones that you should consider include clinical nurse specialist, family nurse practitioner and nurse anesthetist.