Nurses often advance in their careers by becoming specialized in certain clinical areas. These advanced practice nursing roles help patients navigate complex healthcare situations and improve outcomes.

Choose This Specialty If: You thrive in fast-paced environments and work well with a team, like in the emergency room (ER). Critical care nurses assist in medical, surgical, and acute care settings.

Critical Care

The nursing profession offers many specialties to choose from, catering to specific healthcare needs and patient populations. Choosing the right nursing specialty can offer you greater job satisfaction, advancement opportunities and salary growth. However, it is important to consider your personal work environment preferences and long-term career goals when making your choice.

Critical care nurses provide support to patients facing life-threatening situations, including severe illness, injury and surgery. They can be found in a wide range of hospital settings, but may also be employed in community health agencies or private clinics. Nurses in this field are trained to evaluate a patient’s condition, administer medication and provide supportive therapies.

Nursing specialty options include medical-surgical, pediatric, psychiatric and labor and delivery. Nurses who specialize in these areas are trained to provide the highest level of patient care. They must be prepared for emergency situations and often work closely with a team of medical professionals, such as doctors and surgeons.

Nurses in this field are trained to monitor a patient’s progress, administer medication and provide supportive therapies for women who are going through labor and delivery. They are also responsible for assisting with prenatal care, educating families on breastfeeding and postpartum care of mother and baby.

Those who specialize in this area are trained to assess and manage the heart health of patients. These nurses may also assist with cardiac surgery and provide ongoing monitoring for patients with chronic heart disease.

Nursing informatics specialists provide the latest in technology integration into the patient care experience. They use data to improve clinical outcomes and patient safety. These nurses can be found in a variety of healthcare settings, from public and community health agencies to private medical centers and insurance companies.

This is a highly specialized field that requires additional education and training beyond an RN degree. Aspiring nurse leaders can pursue advanced certifications that expand their level of expertise and demonstrate their knowledge to employers. Nurses who want to advance into leadership roles can earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a focus on nursing informatics.

Labor and Delivery

Labor and delivery nurses provide specialized care for women in the midst of one of life’s most exciting and rewarding moments. They are often the main point of support for OBGYNs, and their role extends from pre-natal counseling to postpartum recovery. They are tasked with providing education, emotional support, and medical assistance throughout the birthing process—as well as assisting in various surgical procedures. If you are interested in applying for the best RN to BSN programs online, admissions requirements are linked here!

The path to becoming a labor and delivery nurse begins with earning an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). ADN nurses can often find entry-level positions specializing in obstetrics, but the majority of employers require at least a registered nurse license (RN). From there, you can pursue further specialized certifications, obtain an advanced nurse practitioner (APRN) degree, or even pursue leadership roles through a master’s of science in nursing (MSN) specialization.

With the right combination of experience, training, and qualifications, a career in labor and delivery can lead to an excellent salary. In general, L&D nurses can expect to earn between $63k and $88k per year. Of course, the exact salary you receive can be impacted by factors like your location, employer, and level of expertise.

As you consider the different nursing specializations, explore the unique career opportunities and rewards that each provides. For example, consider researching what it is like to work in the critical care, geriatric, or labor and delivery nursing fields through books and academic publications. Additionally, reach out to experienced nurses in those specialty fields and ask them to share their insights based on their real-world experiences.

To get a better sense of the educational requirements for each nursing specialty, look at what is required to become a registered nurse in your state and beyond. For instance, in some states, you will need to complete a nursing program accredited by a national authority, such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), or the Council on Accreditation of Nursing Education and Practice (CNEA). In addition to accreditation, research each nursing field’s specific certification and licensing requirements.

Psychiatric-Mental Health

Millions of Americans struggle with mental illness, which can cause changes in emotions, thinking and behavior that impair a person’s ability to function. These illnesses are not just a personal problem; they can also have serious consequences for relationships, work and daily activities. Fortunately, mental health issues are treatable and recovery is possible with the right treatment. Psychiatric nurses can make a difference in the lives of patients and their families by providing essential care, education and support.

Psychiatric-mental health nursing requires a unique set of advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) skills, including nursing, psychosocial and neurobiological knowledge to promote wellbeing. PMH nurses work with children, adolescents, adults and the elderly in acute, chronic and community settings. They form strong therapeutic relationships and become familiar with their patients’ stories, struggles and challenges. They are experts in the assessment, diagnosis, care and treatment of patients with mental health and drug use disorders.

PMH nurses work closely with a variety of healthcare professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers. Together, these allied healthcare providers administer quality, comprehensive care to patients and their families.

While it is natural for PMH nurses to feel compassion for their patients, it’s important that they keep a healthy emotional distance from the work to protect themselves and provide effective care. It is also critical that they have resilience and a strong support network to help them navigate the peaks and valleys of this demanding career.

The first step to becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner is to earn an RN degree, which is followed by an MSN or post-master’s certificate in nursing and a doctor of nursing practice (DNP). Upon graduating from a reputable nursing program, students are eligible to sit for the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner exam through the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification, which leads to licensure as a psychiatric nurse practitioner. If you’re ready to take the next step in your nursing career, explore specialized programs that offer a wide range of healthcare opportunities at every stage of life. Click on a county below to view all programs in that area.


If you have aging parents or other elderly family members, the time may come when they need medical care that is tailored to their age. Geriatric medicine is a specialized area of healthcare, which deals with the health and wellbeing of patients who are older than 65. It is an interdisciplinary field that encompasses specialty providers from medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work and physical and occupational therapy.

Older people often have multiple chronic health conditions and can face unique challenges that require a complex approach to their care. These conditions can affect their mental, emotional and physical well-being, and the ability to function independently. Geriatric care focuses on these specific needs to improve an individual’s quality of life.

Elderly patients often have a wide range of medical issues, including heart disease, arthritis, stroke and dementia. They also have unique needs for medications, nutrition and long-term nursing care. In addition, they frequently need support services and housing options such as home care, assisted living and nursing homes.

A geriatric nurse can be involved in all of these aspects of a patient’s care. They can also help patients to navigate the complicated and confusing world of Medicare and Medicaid coverage and options. Depending on their situation, it may be important for them to consider legal issues such as advance directives and power of attorney.

Specialized nursing programs are designed to prepare nurses to deal with specific areas of healthcare. They provide an opportunity for nurses to gain experience in their desired specialties and offer a wide range of career opportunities. Interested nurses should start by looking at reputable online resources that provide detailed descriptions of each specialty’s scope of practice, education requirements and potential career paths.

When choosing a program, students should consider how much time and financial commitment it requires. Some programs have flexible schedules, so students can balance their commitments with other responsibilities. They should also consider whether the program offers an opportunity to complete a graduate thesis, which can be helpful in gaining employment in their chosen specialties. Lastly, they should talk to their potential employers about what kind of training and clinical experiences are available.