Registered Nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate care for patients who are sick, injured, and disabled. They also educate patients, families, and the public about various health conditions and treatment plans, and provide emotional support to patients and family members in need. Due to the scope of their role, Registered Nurses have one of the most important, and in-demand, jobs out there today.
When many people think of a Registered Nurse, they think of the nurses bustling about the hospital or doctor’s office – the ones administering medication, taking vitals, talking with family members, monitoring patient conditions. What many do not realize, however, is that there are many types of nurses out there, and many specialized tasks that the various nurses can do.
If you are considering becoming a Registered Nurse, you likely have some idea of the type of career you wish to take on. You may want to work in certain environment (e.g. a private practice) or with a specific demographic (e.g. the elderly, or expectant mothers). You may also want to work with patients who have certain conditions, such as cancer or substance use issues. Within the registered nursing field, all these career paths are obtainable – and more! Below, we outline some of the top Registered Nurse specialties you can pursue today, depending on which nursing degree you pursue first.
Registered Nurse Specialties with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
- Critical Care: If you desire a career that is fast-paced, where there is always something new, a critical care specialization may just be for you. Critical care nurses typically work in hospitals on emergency room, trauma, and intensive care floors. They work with patients who are in dire need of care and treatment, particularly those with life-threatening conditions.
- Dialysis: Dialysis is a nursing specialization that involves treating patients with kidney failure, who require regular dialysis procedures to clean their blood. Dialysis nurses specifically evaluate patients before each procedure, ensure their safety, and perform assessments one the treatment is complete.
- Pain Management: Much like the name implies, pain management nurses are responsible for treating patients with chronic or acute pain (which is a lot of patients!). Pain management nurses can become specialized by earning certification through the American Society for Pain Management Nursing.
- Trauma Nursing: Specialized trauma nurses treat patients in recovery from physical traumas. This may be a head trauma from a car accident, a gunshot wound, or physical or sexual abuse. Due to the high demand of their career, trauma nurses have the potential to earn more than many RNs, according to Nurse Journal.
- Medical–Surgical Nursing: Medical-surgical nursing is the largest nursing specialty in the United States, at the associate degree level especially. RNs in this specialty practice in hospitals primarily, working with a variety of patients in need. To earn the medical-surgical nurse specialization through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, you simply need to be an active and licensed RN – with 2,000 hours of experience in the specialty – during the last 3 years.
Registered Nurse Specialties with a Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN)
- Psychiatry: Nurses specializing in psychiatry have an interest in helping patients with mental illness – including depression, anxiety, PTSD, schizophrenia, personality disorders, and more. Psychiatric nurses work in hospitals and inpatient facilities (such as addiction rehab centers) to help keep patients safe and comfortable. They may also work in specialized nursing homes or in-home care settings, treating patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Informatics Nursing: For aspiring nurses who also have an interest in data and technology, an Informatics specialization could be for you. Informatics nurses use their care experiences to determine how technology can better help patients in need. They inform hospitals, medical staff, practitioners, and companies of new healthcare technology and developments.
- Neonatal Nursing: Neonatal nurses work with patients as they give birth, and directly after birth. In this RN specialty, you can work on labor and delivery, or in the post-partum units, caring for mothers and their babies. Neonatal nurses can also work in intensive care units, caring for babies who are ill, or premature, and who require extended treatment.
- Oncology: Oncology nurses care for patients who have been diagnosed with cancer. They aide patients with pain control, treatment options, side effects, and coping with the disease. They also help educate and support families with loved ones battling cancer. Due to the many types of cancer out there, there are many different certifications you can pursue in Oncology nursing. For example:
- Oncology Certified Nurse (ONC®)
- Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse (CPHON®)
- Certified Breast Care Nurse (CBCN®)
- Blood and Marrow Transplant Certified Nurse (BMTCN®)
- Advanced Oncology Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist (AOCNS®)
Nurses are a special breed of healthcare professionals, with many growth and credentialing opportunities available. The above list only scratches the surface when it comes to all you can do as a Registered Nurse. Whether you choose to pursue your associate or bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSN), you can pursue a range of different titles and certifications as you gain experience in the field.
To learn more about the different Registered Nurse specialties you can pursue in Connecticut, please do not hesitate to reach out. Goodwin College is an accredited nursing school with associate, RN-to-BSN, and master’s degree programs tailored to the busy nurse. Call 800-889-3282 or visit us online to learn more.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.