What kinds of nursing specialties are there?
Marty Witrak, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N.
Dean, School of Nursing
The College of St. Scholastica
There are three particular health specialties for which there will be an increasing need in the coming years.
Family Nurse Practitioner: Family nurse practitioners provide diagnoses and treatment for common health issues, and also lend to the management of care around a patient’s lifestyle to prevent symptoms from getting worse. This role is important in rural health care settings where clinics have limited staff and budgets. With the predicted shortage of family practice physicians, especially in rural clinics, the need for these nurses will increase in the coming years.
Gerontological Nurse: This specialty exists at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition to conventional practice in an office, clinic, or ambulatory care center, gerontological nurses provide care for patients in a variety of settings, such as the home, workplace, long-term care facility, or hospital. With the baby boomer generation reaching retirement and people living even longer, these nursing groups are becoming one of the fastest-growing segments of the population.
Nursing Informatics: Nurses with expertise in informatics manage many of the activities associated with the use of electronic health records (EHRs), such as quality and safety reporting requirements and the measurement of the impact of nursing activities on patient health. As the federal mandate to move to EHRs advances, this nursing specialty will be in high demand.
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