With the year coming to a close, it’s time to start making new goals for 2020. Maybe you’d like to pursue additional education. Perhaps you’re looking to change careers. Maybe you’re just hoping to hone in on your skills and find your specialty.
There are a number of nursing niches on the horizon for the new year. If you’re looking for something different and “off the beaten path,” take a look at these 15 nursing specialties.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
Many Registered Nurses go on to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) because of the benefits, prestige and meaningful contribution to patient care. CRNAs are advanced practice nurses who administer anesthesia and other medications. If you’re willing to get your Master’s degree and pass a certification exam, you could be one of the highest paid RNs in the industry.
- Nephrology Nurse
Nephrology is the branch of medicine that focuses on kidney health. Since there are a number of factors that contribute to this, Nephrology Nurses often work with a wide range of ages and demographics. There is also plenty of diversity for nurses in this field. You’ll assess kidney health, administer kidney disease treatments, and educate patients on their renal medications or kidney disease diet.
- Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner
If you’d rather spend time in a physician’s office or at a clinic, consider becoming an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner. In this specialty, you’ll work with patients who suffer from a range of musculoskeletal conditions, such as arthritis, joint replacements or muscle ailments. These nurses oversee patients’ care, exams and medical notes from the time of injury to discharge.
- Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
One area that is often overlooked is the mental health field. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs) provide comprehensive care to those suffering from behavioral and mental health disorders. With an emphasis on diagnosis, treatment and overall wellness, these nurses implement both medication and therapeutic methods to ensure quality care.
- Gerontology Nurse
If you have a passion for patients, consider becoming a Gerontology Nurse. These nurses work directly with older adults to ensure a high quality of life, which is only growing in demand. In this field, you could work in a private practice, a personal home or a nursing home. Like most specialties, you will need to invest in additional certification.
- Certified Nurse Midwife
Becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is the perfect option for those with a strong interest in women’s health and prenatal/postnatal care. You’ll help mothers deliver their babies safely and naturally, and provide family planning support and gynecological care. It’s also worth noting that midwives differ from labor and delivery nurses, who are trained to monitor vital signs and care for patients during the labor process. Midwives see their patients all the way through delivery.
- Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
Speaking of women’s health, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners (WHNP) are also growing in popularity. Differing from a CNM, these nurses provide care that spans the patient’s entire lifetime. Rather than focusing on childbearing, WHMPs also gear their work toward gynecology and other health-related issues that are specific to women. Some even split time between an office setting and academic research.
- Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Nurses who have a soft spot for babies and children should consider work as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP). You’ll be able to provide preventative health care to children from birth to young adult, assisting with growth and development, as well as managing illnesses. This field is vital not only for children, but for parents as well, as these nurses are the ones who will educate and reassure people as they navigate the unknowns of parenting.
- Nurse Researcher
If you are an introvert who prefers to be behind the scenes, consider becoming a Nurse Researcher. Nurse Researchers are scientists who pose questions, conduct studies, analyze data and report their findings in various aspects of health and illness. Many Nurse Researchers also teach in academic and clinical settings, write for medical journals and partner with other industries in research projects. The possibilities are endless in this field – perfect for those who want to contribute knowledge and innovation to the healthcare system, perhaps without as much patient interaction.
- Informatics Nurse
Another less traditional route is that of nursing informatics. This field is dedicated to improving patient care by providing efficient communication, systems and technology. An Informatics Nurse may analyze trends, monitor for errors and implement new protocols within a practice. These specialists must be able to incorporate knowledge of nursing, computer science and technology in order to impact the daily work of health care providers. If you’re a tech-wizard in the nursing field, consider informatics as a way to utilize all of your strengths.
- Diabetes Nurse
A Diabetes Nurse specializes in treating and educating patients and their families on how to manage the symptoms of diabetes through nutrition, medication and lifestyle. If you’re a great communicator, this specialty may be perfect for you, as you’ll deliver information between patients, families and doctors.
- Medical Surgical Nurse
For those who are more interested in the hospital setting, consider becoming a Medical Surgical Nurse. These professionals provide care to patients admitted for both nonsurgical and surgical conditions. You’ll be expected to make judgment calls based on your scientific knowledge. This is a field with plenty of room for growth, particularly in developing individualized health care plans.
- Endoscopy Nurse
Also known as Gastroenterology Nurses, Endoscopy Nurses assist in procedures that involve the screening and diagnosis of gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders. Endoscopy Nurses prepare patients, assist during the procedure and answer any questions the patient or family may have about the findings.
- Pain Management Nurse
One of the most prevalent needs in the health care industry is that of Pain Management Nurses. In this field, you’ll care for patients that suffer from chronic, sometimes debilitating pain, offering techniques and pain management skills, in addition to assessing conditions and administering medication. With the rise in opioid addiction, there is an increased need for Pain Management Nurses to find alternative solutions to chronic pain.
- Forensic Nurse
If you’re interested in combining your knowledge of nursing with another field like, say, criminology, forensic nursing could be a great fit for you. You’ll provide compassionate care for crime victims, gather medical evidence to support law enforcement, or assist coroners in determining causes of death. This niche field can be one of the most rewarding because of its simultaneous contribution to both the justice and healthcare systems.
As 2020 approaches, consider taking a leap into a new specialty that will further your nursing career and ensure you’re always learning.
Jenny Hart is a health and wellness writer with a passion for travel, cycling and books. Her focus is topics related to the affects of aging on health and she is interested in research that can help people age better. When she isn’t writing or travelling, she’s traversing NYC with her two dogs Poochie and Ramone.