Nurse Practitioner Specialties

  • Pediatrics
  • Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Home Healthcare
  • Emergency

Choosing to specialize as a nurse practitioner is a great way to begin an advanced career in nursing. Specialties allow nurse practitioners, or NPs, the opportunity to work in a specific sphere of healthcare. There are many areas of specialty that NP students can choose from, and some of the most popular and exciting choices are described briefly in the sections that follow.

1. Pediatrics

One of the best nurse practitioner areas of specialty for persons who enjoy working with children is pediatrics. Pediatric NPs, more formally known as pediatric primary-care nurse practitioners, provide care to children ranging in age from infants to teenagers. Common responsibilities of persons who choose this concentration include diagnosing illnesses, conducting routine checkups, ordering laboratory tests, and counseling patients and their family members.

2. Mental Health

Also known as psychiatric nurse practitioners, mental health NPs can be found working in a variety of settings including psychiatric wards of hospitals, community mental health centers, private psychiatric offices, and various long-term care facilities. Nursing students who choose this nurse practitioner specialty are typically accountable for such tasks as counseling patients suffering from various mental health disorders, prescribing medication, and creating effective treatment plans.

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3. Gerontology

Nurse practitioners who would like to provide care to elderly persons may want to consider specializing in gerontology. There are basically two levels of the gerontology specialization: primary care and acute care. While primary care involves routine care for elderly patients, acute care involves providing care to patients suffering from serious health issues. NPs who specialize in this area can expect to earn about $111,100 per year according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

4. Home Healthcare

Home healthcare is a rapidly growing area to specialize in as a nurse practitioner. NP grads who do not want to be confined to a brick and mortar place of employment will love this option. Home healthcare nurse practitioners provide care and treatment to patients in their own homes. Daily tasks may vary depending on each patient’s unique needs but often include ensuring patients are taking medications properly, providing necessary treatments, and addressing any concerns patients may have.

5. Emergency

Emergency care is a terrific area to specialize in for nurse practitioners who are able to work in busy and highly stressful environments. These professionals typically work in the emergency departments of private and public hospitals; however, many urgent care centers choose to employ emergency care NPs as well. Emergency care nurse practitioners work with patients of all ages and are required to treat and diagnose a broad range of chronic and acute health issues.

Choosing to specialize in one concentration of healthcare is a fantastic way for nurse practitioners to advance in their careers. Nursing professionals who choose to focus on one concentration will find that there are many exciting areas to specialize in as a nurse practitioner, and the paths described above are among the best.