Taking a master’s in nursing and becoming a nurse practitioner might seem like it will lead to a limited career, but it can actually be the start of learning more about yourself and specializing in an aspect of care that you never realized you were interested in before.
A master’s degree in nursing can be the first step in deciding which area of nursing to pursue. Working with families is just one option. It is perhaps the most popular because it means working with patients of all ages and backgrounds.
Often, you are the first person that patients will talk to before you refer them to a specialist, if this is needed. You also get to build trust and a professional relationship with your patients, who will likely be under your care for as long as they live in the area you’re assigned to.
Specializing in psychiatric health can be a varied career choice in itself. Some may choose to focus solely on those with drink or drug addictions, or with different mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, panic attacks, PTSD, trauma or any number of other conditions. You will diagnose and treat patients.
While this involves helping vulnerable people, it’s extremely rewarding when you’re able to help someone and see signs of improvement, or provide treatment and medication that improve their lives.
Specializing in women’s health can involve anything related to women, from breast screening and smear tests to treating or preventing sexually transmitted diseases or overseeing their pregnancy. As there are so many options available, you will usually specialize in just one or two during your career.
Some patients may feel embarrassed about their reason for the appointment, or about being seen partially naked for their treatment or an examination. Therefore, it’s important to put them at ease, to show empathy, and not to make them feel judged.
Although a career as an NP in hospice care means looking after patients with serious and often life-threatening conditions, it can also be rewarding. It isn’t easy, and not everyone is suitable for the role. However, you can take comfort from knowing that you’re making the final days or weeks as comfortable and pain-free as possible for your patients.
Some of them may be upset, while others will just want someone to listen to them. Therefore, it’s important to show understanding, empathy, and a willingness to listen. You should also be resilient and adaptable. The patients in your care will change regularly, and while it’s important to be caring, you can’t get too attached to them. Finding the right balance can be challenging.
These are just some of the many career paths you can follow after taking your degree. The good news is you don’t have to decide on a specialism straight away. You can pass your degree, and start your career as an NP, and then choose which area you prefer after gaining some experience and learning which you prefer and where your interests lie.