Types of Nurse Specializations

Updated April 17, 2017

As a registered nurse, you can choose to specialise in one or more areas, depending on your area of interest. The responsibilities and duties for each nursing role vary according to the area of specialisation. For instance, if you are a specialised nurse based in a particular work setting, like ambulatory care, you may not be suited to work in a neonatal ward since it is not within your trained area of specialisation.

Care or Work Setting Specializations

You can specialise by the type of care that you provide. Specialising as a home health care nurse entails attending to patients recovering from accidents, childbirth and surgery. If you specialise as a psychiatric nurse, you treat patients with mood and personality disorders. If you are an occupational health nurse, you treat patients for work-related illnesses and injuries, and you assist workers in identifying workplace hazards so that they can practice health and safety precautions. You can also specialise according to a particular work setting. For instance, you can specialise in ambulatory or critical care.

Body Organ Specializations

Nurses who specialise in the treatment of organs and tissues work in outpatient care settings or speciality physician settings. Thus, if you specialise according to a particular body organ you can provide services in the critical care units or in the hospital speciality units. For example, if you are a gastroenterology nurse, your work encompasses treating patients with intestinal and digestive disorders, while as a gynaecology nurse, you often assist patients with reproductive system disorders. As an orthopaedic nurse, you take care of people with skeletal and muscle problems. A urology nurse takes care of people with urinary tract, kidney and male reproductive organ disorders.

Preventive and Acute Care to a Specific Age Group

Nurses can specialise by giving preventive and acute care in a health care facility to people of different ages. Those who specialise in treating children, adolescents and infants are paediatric nurses; those who focus on elder health care are geriatric nurses; and nurses for the treatment and care of newborns are neonatal nurses.

Disease and Condition Specializations

Some nursing specialisations require you to concentrate on the treatment and management of a specific ailment, condition or disease. This means that if you are a diabetic management nurse, your work is to assist diabetic patients in managing their condition. Work as a diabetic management nurse involves educating patients on proper diet and injecting insulin. If you are a HIV/AIDS nurse you learn to diagnose and take care of people living with HIV and AIDS.

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About the Author

Zachariah Wavomba started writing professionally in 2007. His articles have appeared in publications such as "Saturday Nation" magazine and "The Standard." Wavomba holds a Master of Arts in international business from the University of Nairobi.