Nursing may seem generalized while you’re in school, but once you’re on the job you are for all intents and purposes working within a nursing area of specialization, such as Trauma or Emergency Nursing, Family Health, Critical Care, and Oncology, to name just a few.
But you don’t really study specifically those areas of specialty at the undergraduate level. During the course of an Associates or Bachelors program in nursing you learn to care for general populations, which of course prepares you for a first launch into any of the areas of care that accept entry-level nurses.
You do however get to pursue a distinct specialty once beyond the BSN level. At the graduate level in any nursing school you will find, alongside the core Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN), a varying number of diverse nurse specialties, sometimes called concentrations.
Along with an MSN you could opt to choose specialties/concentrations such as:
So you get your foundational MSN coursework and the second part of your degree is the curriculum associated with the concentration. For the clinical specialties students are also engaged in clinical practice.
At the graduate level you may also have the option to study in a campus-based degree program, via online program, or in a combination of the two, called “blended.”
Advanced practice nursing degrees include a handful of very specialized and advanced nursing specialties:
Besides the core MSN program these specialties go above and beyond the curriculums of other concentrations. These take RNs into practice realms where they may even have the option to practice independently of physicians.
For example, the Nurse Anesthetist programs are example enough of the rigor and competitiveness found at this level of nursing. Every nurse that dreams of becoming a CRNA, doesn’t make it. Compared to the high volume of starry-eyed candidates, far fewer spots are actually available in anesthesia schools across the country. The curriculum is unlike anything student anesthetists have engaged in prior to their program.
Use this guide to find out more about the nursing school pre-requisites for each specialty and advanced practice degree. Learn what roles these RNs play in the larger scheme of Healthcare and what exciting careers may be built in the short-term and long-term.