By Beth Greenwood, RN
There is much more to a career in nursing than working in a hospital, clinic, or doctors office. No matter what your educational background may be, there are many opportunities for licensed nurses to follow a more unique career path by specializing in a nursing niche. Not only do these niche careers offer unique experiences, nurses who specialize in a niche field are in high demand. These niche careers include school nursing for students with autism, working as a psychiatric nurse, and supporting terminally ill patients and their families as a hospice nurse.Not only do these niche careers offer unique experiences, nurses who specialize in a niche field are in high demand. Click To Tweet
School Nurses and Autism
School nurses are usually required to hold a bachelor’s degree and can obtain certification in that field. School nurses working with autism must be knowledgeable about the cognitive and emotional issues related to the disease, as well as medication management and management of related issues like gastrointestinal problems, seizures, anxiety and sleep disorders. In addition to the patient, they often work closely with family members and collaborate with other health care professionals like social workers and occupational therapists.
Psychiatric nurses provide direct care and case management for mental health disorders in outpatient clinics or psychiatric hospitals. They care for patients of any age with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and conditions like anxiety and depression. Psych nurses may hold any of the basic types of nursing degrees. Some psychiatric nurses are APRNs, who hold a minimum of a master’s degree and provide primary mental health care, including prescribing medications.
Hospice nurses care for people who are in the last stages of life. Also called palliative nursing, nurses in this specialty provide physical, psychosocial, emotional and spiritual care to terminally ill patients, their families or caregivers. Hospice nurses may hold any kind of nursing degree and may be certified in the field. Although these nurses may work in inpatient centers designed specifically for palliative care, most work in the home setting. They are often assigned to specific patients for an extended period and work on call.
Whether you are just beginning career in nursing or you have years of experience, consider these niche nursing careers as your enter the next phase of your professional life. Specializing as a school nurse for students with autism, a psychiatric nurse or as a hospice nurse are excellent opportunities to stand out in a career where your skills are in high demand. Get started today by exploring what it takes to get certified and take your nursing career in an exciting new direction.
Beth Greenwood is a registered nurse with over 40 years of experience in the field, including both inpatient and outpatient care. She has been a freelance writer for six years, specializing in medical and health care topics as well as health care careers.