Here’s an overview of a few of the most popular nurse practitioner disciplines:
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. CRNAs must pass a certification test from the National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists. They work closely with anesthesiologists to administer anesthesia during a procedure. This discipline might be for you if you’re interested in working in crucial, high-pressure environments like the intensive care unit or the operating room. In rural hospitals, these nurses may be the only health care providers on hand when anesthesia needs to be administered. They are also some of the highest-paid nurses in this field.
General Nurse Practitioner. GNPs offer care everywhere from large hospitals to private doctors’ practices. If you choose this discipline, you can expect to answer a range of patients’ concerns. The job requires you to be versatile, prescribing medications one minute and addressing questions over a patient’s cold symptoms the next.
Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner. If you enjoy working with older patients, this is the ideal role for you. These nurses have to be versatile, as they will be helping geriatric patients address a range of health concerns. Those who pursue this field will either be an adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AG-ACNP) or an adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner (AG-PCNP). An AG-ACNP works with those older adults who are acutely sick, meaning they focus on specific areas like oncology or trauma care. The AG-PCNP centers on primary health care. To receive these certifications, you will go through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). As with other nurse practitioners, you will be in a variety of settings. This could include major hospitals, private practices and even community health centers.
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. This type of nurse practitioner offers mental health care. If you pursue this discipline, you’ll be working with people who are living with mental health and mood disorders. These nurses provide diagnostic care and treatment as well as psychiatric and mental health treatment. Given the demand for psychiatrists, nurse practitioners in this field are highly sought out. These nurses will seek their certifications through the ANCC; for those who hope to work as a pediatric primary care mental health specialist, the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board provides its own credentials.
Family Nurse Practitioner. These nurses offer primary health care to the whole family and therefore must be able to administer quality care to people of various ages. These nurses in many ways become part of the family, oftentimes working with people from infancy to adulthood. As the demand for nurses grows and families grapple with increasingly complex health concerns, family nurse practitioners will continue to play a necessary role in the health care system.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Those who pursue this discipline can expect a rewarding career that provides specialized care to newborns who might face a range of pressing health concerns; these may be babies born prematurely or others facing congenital disorders. The National Certification Corporation provides the credentials to practice as an NNP. Certifications include those in maternal newborn nursing, low-risk neonatal nursing, neonatal intensive care nursing and inpatient obstetric nursing. If you work in this discipline, you could be employed in hospitals or work in neonatal intensive care units.
Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse Practitioner. You may be drawn to this discipline if you enjoy working with children with hormonal imbalances. These nurses care for their patients from infancy through the teen years and help them manage endocrine disorders including diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, childhood obesity and Addison’s disease among others. There are various certifications you can obtain in this field, and you can earn credentials in both pediatric primary and acute care.
Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner. This discipline centers on the musculoskeletal system. You will diagnose and treat conditions within this system, which may involve taking X-rays. The Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board details the certifications you’ll need to have for this discipline.