Figuring out what type of nurse you should be can realistically be broken down into two sections. The first is nursing career categories and nursing job specialties. Finding out which nursing career category you might be interested in will help determine which field of nursing you might wish to pursue. The nursing job specialty will help narrow down your search of which career path you might be interested in based on the routine tasks and setting in which you might work.
The health care landscape has changed drastically over the years. As communities place greater emphasis on preventive care and populations worldwide continue to grow, nurse practitioners have become crucial to the health care industry. More and more, nurse practitioners are becoming widely recognized as primary health care providers. And the demand for nurse practitioners is only going up.
Quality training and education are keys to filling these roles with highly trained experts and specialists. Advanced degree programs, such as Master of Science in Nursing and Post-Master’s Certificate programs help prepare a new generation of nurse practitioners.
Today, there are a variety of options for those who wish to pursue a career in advanced practice nursing. But the sheer number of pathways and possibilities can be overwhelming, leaving many students wondering: What kind of nurse should I be?
What are the role and responsibilities of a nurse?
In many ways, nurse practitioners function as primary care providers. They see patients, diagnose conditions, prescribe medication, provide referrals, and admit patients to hospitals for further treatment. But their advanced training also qualifies nurse practitioners for managerial roles. In fact, many lead teams of other nurses or even entire departments. In these leadership positions, nurse practitioners are responsible for providing expertise and support to other nurses, help drive organizational change, and ensure that all patient care aligns with current research and best practices.
What are the important skills required to be a nurse?
A strong educational background and extensive hands-on experience are keys to the success of all nurse practitioners. As a foundation, they must possess comprehensive scientific training so they can stay at the leading edge of research findings and advanced practice methods. Nurse practitioners must also be able to work independently, use clinical experience to improve practice and patient outcomes and demonstrate a working knowledge of health care technology.
Nurse practitioners also need compassion and sharp critical thinking skills. Balancing a heavy workload while truly caring for each individual patient is not an easy task. Professional autonomy, patience, and solid decision-making skills are important. As health care leaders, nurse practitioners must be experts in health care policy, ethics, and management. These skills are fundamental to facilitating change, creating health care policy, and advocating patients for ethical and culturally sensitive care.
To pursue managerial roles, nurse practitioners must have a solid foundation in organizational management and consider the complex relationships between quality, safety, access to care, and resource allocation.
What type of nurse should I be?
Answering the question, what kind of nurse should I be, can also be broken down into the potential nursing career categories. It is useful to break down the types of nursing categories to help answer the question, what type of nurse should I be, by narrowing down the potential responsibilities and workplace settings to find potential matches one might prefer to work in.
In each of these categories, we break down an idea of what each nursing career category does, and in what settings they typically work.
- Advanced practice
This advanced field of nursing requires nurses to obtain a Master’s, Post-Master’s Certificate, or Doctor of Nursing degree. The extra education pays off, as Advanced Practice Nurses are trained to be experts in providing care to patients. In many states, Advanced Practice Nurses have the authority to prescribe medication to patients, and often don’t require oversight from physicians.
Essentially, Advanced Practice Nurses take on additional casework that might be more complex than a traditional Registered Nurse might be tasked with. Typically advanced practice nurses work in a variety of hospital and healthcare settings: hospitals, nursing care facilities, schools, healthcare clinics, and physicians’ offices.
Nurses who are in this field of nursing typically work in an operating room. These nurses help prepare the operating room for patients and help set up the tools to make sure that the surgical setting is sterile. In addition, these nurses will help the surgical team during the procedure by passing equipment and tools when needed.
Nurses who work in the emergency category of nursing typically work in emergency situations, as the name suggests. These nurses typically help recognize life-threatening problems and are trained with solving them on the spot. Some life-threatening problems that might arise are injuries or some form of trauma. Typically nurses who work in this nursing category find themselves working in emergency rooms, ambulances, urgent care centers, and sporting arenas.
- Clinical nurse
Nurses in this category typically provide care to patients in a variety of ways. Clinical nurses can provide care through child health care, emergency care, oncology, consultations, or geriatrics. These types of nurses typically work in hospitals.
These nurses help provide mental health care to groups or individual patients. In addition, some mental health nurses might find themselves developing care plans and providing support to those who are at home and require long-term treatment options. Psychological nurses typically work in psychiatric or mental health hospitals.
- Family Practice
Family nurses typically conduct physical exams, perform standard diagnostic tests, and help manage patients from the ages of childhood to adulthood. Essentially these nurses work with patients throughout their patients’ lives. These nurses typically work in family practice or a clinical setting.
These nurses typically help handle care by working with patients in a community setting. These nurses might visit patients in their own private homes where they can provide care and assistance, or in a private community where nursing assistance is needed. This category of nurses will typically provide advice and care to their patients regarding wound treatment management, catheter care, continence care, and palliative care.
Nurses who are in the management category typically help oversee the daily operations and procedures of a nursing unit. These nurse managers typically focus on the administrative and managerial duties of the nurses below them. These nurses typically work in a variety of settings.
- Women’s health
These nurses are similar to family nurses in that they only work with one subset of a patient community. These nurses typically provide comprehensive care to their female patients and will provide care throughout their patients’ life. The care typically provided focuses on reproductive and gynecological health needs.
Watch the following video to know – how to choose the right nursing specialty career
What kind of nurse should I be – job characteristics
One additional way of narrowing down the question, what kind of nurse should I be, is to focus on the different job characteristics, and how each might fit with different personalities. Some jobs require more patient interaction, while others are more analytical and suited for those who like to keep to themselves more. The good news is that there is a career in nursing for any type of personality.
These nurses typically work with patients who don’t speak English primarily. As a multilingual nurse, you will be tasked with providing care in different languages. These nurses are important because communication is key when finding what might ail a patient, and conveying potential treatment options to the patient.
- Research Oriented
Not every nursing job has to deal with patients specifically. In several nursing career opportunities, there is plenty of opportunities to focus on research. This job characteristic is typically centered around conducting and reviewing research that might help improve patient care and impact treatment options moving forward. For those who enjoy conducting and reviewing research data, this is a great career characteristic.
These nurses who work in a fast-paced environment typically have a busy schedule and struggle to find any downtime. Nurses who are in this field need to be comfortable working under a fast-paced environment and typically prioritize seeing as many patients in a day as possible.
This job characteristic is well suited for those who operate on a set schedule. Every day is a routine and there isn’t much fluctuation between days. A typical nurse’s schedule can go from ordinary to hectic at a moment’s notice, and for those who are looking to have a little more structure to their daily routine should consider these nursing specialties where the structure is regimented.
The multifaceted nursing career characteristic essentially brings together all of the individual characteristics above. Those who pursue a nursing career will find that they have to become multifaceted as they interact with and deal with patients in a variety of ways. These nursing specialties are great for those who find they are multifaceted and pick up new assessment and nursing skills quickly.
These nurses typically work in an environment where they oversee the operations of the nurses below them. This job has less patient interaction than others on this list and focuses on the interaction between employees and hospital or healthcare officials. This job is well suited for those who have a knack for leadership, motivating others, and are analytical in nature.
- Patient interaction
When one thinks of nurses, many think of patient interaction. Nurses are responsible for most of the interaction that a patient might receive while receiving care, and individuals who have exceptional social skills would do well with the following nursing specialties.
As nursing is typically team-based, there are plenty of options for those who would like to have independence in their daily routine. The good news, is that those individuals who would like to have independence can still provide treatment options and impact patients in a positive way. There are nursing specialties available for those who would also like standard or less social interaction.
Lead the next generation of advanced practice nurses
Health care as a service sector and employment segment are always evolving, spurred by changes in policy, national trends, and population growth. As the demand for healthcare across the U.S. increases, there is more need for nurse practitioners than ever before.
“Being a nurse means to hold all your own tears and start drawing smiles on people’s faces.” – Dana Basem