A Registered Nurse (RN) works in various settings and with different patient populations. You can find him/her caring for people in world-class hospitals or in the slums of third-world countries. He/she is the central point of care for a patient and their beacon of advocacy. What most people do not know is that there are so many pathways in a nursing career. These rewarding roles are in high demand and cater to an advanced specialty, thus all requiring post-graduate education.
- Nurse Practitioner (NP) – A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) that can perform a comprehensive physical exam and medical history, order medical treatments, diagnostic tests, and medications for acute and chronic medical conditions. There are different types of NPs: pediatric, geriatric, family, women’s health, and mental health. He/she may work in inpatient settings like hospitals or in outpatient settings like clinics. They bridge the gap between RNs and MDs and are a critical and up-and-coming role in the ever-changing and complex American healthcare system. A patient may choose to have a nurse practitioner as a primary care provider to collaborate with their medical care.
- Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) – A clinical nurse specialist is a source of knowledge and expertise for RNs to consult with in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. They help implement evidenced-based practice interventions within three spheres of practice – with patients, nursing staff, or within the healthcare system. He/she can work with different populations, settings, or diseases.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) – A nurse anesthetist specializes in the administration of anesthesia. Their scope of practice includes all anesthesia techniques including local, spinal, epidural, etc. and usually practice under the supervision of an anesthesiologist. They are an important figure in anesthesia care in our armed forces and in third-world countries.
- Nurse Manager/Administrator – These nurse leaders are responsible for managing a nursing unit. He/she coordinates the quality of care provided by staff and manages the environment in which that care is delivered. They are sources of direction and knowledge and a unifier in a nursing team.
- Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) – A nurse midwife specializes in midwifery. They function as the primary care provider for relatively healthy women during pregnancy whose births are not classified as complicated or “high risk.” They can also provide gynecological care and newborn care. They offer a unique medical practice away from hospitals and respect the wishes of how a woman wants to give birth. He/she is a figure of empowerment in women’s health.
Angelica is a fourth-year nursing student with a minor in English hailing from New Jersey. She has studied or worked in all the major Boston hospitals. Angelica is also a columnist for The Huntington News and enjoys writing creative non-fiction.
Photo source: OnlineNursePractitionerPrograms.com