If you are making a career out of being a nurse, then there are lots of areas that you can choose to specialize in, allowing you to become a true expert in your field and provide the best in healthcare to your patients. Specializing can give you access to jobs that can allow you to work in the environment that you want to, rather than only having the options of general hospital, nursing home or doctor’s clinic work, and can also give you access to much higher salaries than general nursing.

For almost all nursing specialisms, you are required to have a bachelor’s degree to get started. This means that if any of these specialisms take your fancy and you are currently holding an associate’s degree as your highest nursing qualification, you will need to look into doing a BSN. There are plenty of ADN to BSN online programs that you can do online as well as at conventional colleges, and so you may well be able to find a way to fit your BSN studies around your current job and do it without having to relocate or commute.

Here are some of the many interesting specialties a nurse with a BSN can go on to train in and work in:

Nurse Midwife

A nurse-midwife is a person that works with expectant mothers to help them prepare for and go through the birth of a baby. They are extremely important to their patients, offering peace of mind and assurance in what can be a scary but exciting time, especially for first-time moms. As you might expect, midwives are needed everywhere in the country (and the world), and so this is a highly in-demand field of nursing, which will give you the options to work just about anywhere you like. The average salaries for nurse midwives reflect how in demand this specialism is, with nurse-midwives estimated to make, on average, around 100k a year.

If you like the sound of this lucrative, rewarding and highly employable specialism, then the requirement is to do a masters in the specialism and pass local licensing requirements. In order to enroll for the master’s course, you’ll need a BSN and some nursing experience. Nurse-midwives have exceptionally high levels of training due to the importance and relative complexity and range of healthcare support they need to provide.

Critical Care Nursing

A critical care nurse works in a hospital and provides care to patients in critical conditions, for example, working on trauma wards. This can be a very demanding yet rewarding style of nursing work, as it requires looking after people in very vulnerable conditions and often providing lifesaving care. Critical care nursing is one of the few specialisms where it is possible to find work with only an ADN if you are a registered nurse, although many facilities do prefer staff with a minimum BSN to work in their critical care environments. Critical care nursing is largely about experience, and so nurses who specialize in this field tend to see sharp increases in pay as their careers progress and they gain seniority. Nurses who work in this field can also consider moving into supervisory or team leadership roles as they progress in their careers.

Neonatal Nursing

Neonatal Nurses specialize in taking care of women while they are giving birth and then taking care of newborn babies, including babies who require intensive care, such as babies who are born prematurely and need to be placed in incubators and provided with constant care. Neonatal nurses may or may not work on delivery wards and take part in births, with some working with both mothers and babies, and others specializing in care for newborn infants only. This generally depends on how the healthcare facility they work in organizes its delivery and postpartum staffing.

Neonatal nurses have a BSN, and then go on to receive specialist training and licensing, including in neonatal resuscitation. Some employers will provide new hires with the training and qualifications needed to go from an RN with a BSN to a neonatal specialist. Average salaries in the US for neonatal nurses are at around $61k per year.

Informatics Nurse

An informatics nurse works at the junction between IT and nursing. As someone who will be required to have a BSN in nursing and some years of experience working as an RN, an informatics nurse will also need to have a lot of knowledge and expertise about technology and its uses in healthcare, especially when it comes to things like data analysis. This may be something they gain by having a key interest in it in their work and studying technology independently, or by doing a relevant graduate degree. Informatics nurses use their combined knowledge of patients’ needs and medicine and the current capabilities of technology to help healthcare providers and tech developers make the best use of IT to improve patient care. They can work on a consultancy basis with technology providers or in hospitals and medical research facilities.

Nurse Anesthetist

One of the highest-paid specialisms for nurses is to become an anesthetist. Anesthetists are required to administer and monitor anesthetic in surgery and when other procedures are performed, including general anesthetic. Due to the highly critical nature of anesthetic provision, nurses who do this must be highly trained, and so to become a nurse anesthetist an RN will need to gain a BSN and then a masters in anesthesiology. Once someone has finished studying and become qualified, they will find that this is a very in-demand specialism, required everywhere where surgical procedures take place. It offers a very high average salary among nursing roles at an estimated $165k per year. It is a vital role in surgery where the patients’ lives are literally in the hands of the anesthetist, and so while it is a very rewarding role that makes life-saving surgeries possible, it is also a high-pressure nursing specialism.

Psychiatric Nurse

A psychiatric nurse provides care to patients with mental health problems. This can range from working with people who suffer from mental health issues and helping them in managing their medication and carrying out their lives, through to working with elderly people who are suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other psychiatric conditions associated with old age. Psychiatric nurses can work in a number of different types of facilities, including rehab clinics, nursing homes, and prisons as well as hospitals and mental health care facilities. Psychiatric nurses may also specialize in certain age groups, for instance, children, teens or the elderly.

Most psychiatric nurses hold a BSN, though it is possible to become a psychiatric nursing specialist as an RN with an ADN. If you want to progress in this career to the highest level of practice, you can also take a masters degree in psychiatric medicine.

Oncology Nursing

Oncology nurses, also known as cancer nurses, work with patients who have received a cancer diagnosis and are undergoing treatment such as chemo or radiotherapy. They provide a range of care and help patients to manage pain as well as to cope with the side effects caused by aggressive cancer treatment. They may frequently work with terminally or critically ill people and may work in hospices, provide care at home, or work on cancer wards in hospitals.

Oncology nurses are registered nurses who have qualified with either a bachelorsdegree or an associate degree in nursing, though most hold a BSN. There are also professional qualifications from private medical bodies that oncology nurses can gain to help expand their knowledge and skills and provide the best care, as well as furthering their careers. Oncology nursing is in high demand and offers an average salary of $68k.

Pediatric Nursing

Pediatric nurses provide the full range of nursing services but specialize in treating children. They can be employed at general hospitals, specialist pediatric hospitals and private healthcare facilities that treat children. They can be concerned with things that relate exclusively to pediatric medicine, such as childhood diseases and immunization, as well as treating children for general health problems that affect adults too. Because of this, they need a good background in childhood medicineand also be generally good at working with kids, who often may be frightened or may not be able to understand their health problems or treatments in the same way as adults. Pediatric nurses also work closely with parents and families.

Pediatric nursing specialists are hired at all levels of nursing qualifications, but to remain competitive in this popular field it is best to have a BSN.

As you can see there are all kinds of different specialisms a nurse can choose, and they offer different working lifestyles, along with different earning potential. If you would like to become a specialist, then the first step on that path is usually to study for your BSN degree, so why not look at the programs available to you now?