One of the great things about life as a nurse practitioner is the opportunity to branch into almost any medical specialty. Though in school, as NP students we study medicine in very general terms (i.e. “Family”, “Acute Care”, “Pediatrics” or “Women’s Health”), out in the real world, the options are endless. As I’ve mentioned before, my former FNP classmates have branched into specialties from cardiology to allergy/asthma, emergency medicine, gastroenterology and more.
So, if you’re a NP looking for a career change-up, or are simply interested in the options available to you, check out these seven interesting and often unheard of specialties for nurse practitioners.
1. Electrophysiology Nurse Practitioner
A cardiology sub-specialty, as an electrophysiology NP, you’re essentially an expert at diagnosing and treating arrhythmias and associated conditions. You likely know a lot about pacemakers, defibrillators and have become an ECG interpretation expert. So, how do you become an electrophysiology NP? Your best bet is to start in general cardiology to get your basic cardiac skills up to par. Then, you can either specialize within your current practice group or find a job in a subspecialty building on your cardiology foundation.
2. Infusion Nurse Practitioner
Patients receiving IV or injectable meds may not need to go to the hospital or their specialty clinic to receive them. For example, it may be more convenient for patients receiving regular IV medications for chronic diseases to go to a local infusion center for routine treatments as the specialist who manages their illness may be located many miles away. These may be medications for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis to name a few. Infusion nurse practitioners oversee the administration of these IV medications as well as address any side effects that may result. IV skills are a must.
3. Genetics Nurse Practitioner
Most often an offshoot of pediatrics, genetics nurse practitioners diagnose, treat/manage infants and children with inherited gene mutations. Often, genetic nurse practitioners practice at Children’s hospitals or outpatient facilities associated with these hospitals. If you’re a FNP or PNP, this could be an interesting role for you!
4. Interventional Radiology Nurse Practitioner
While interventional radiology remains a specialty dominated by physicians, an increasing number of NPs are entering the field. IR nurse practitioners assist with or perform procedures, round on patients, manage patients pre and post procedure, are responsible for follow up visits and more.
5. Infectious Disease Nurse Practitioner
Infectious disease nurse practitioners diagnose and manage patients with everything from HIV/AIDS to other viral and bacterial diseases. Working in infectious disease, NPs may also take part in Antibiotic Stewardship programs and other similar initiatives in the healthcare facility. Typically, an infectious disease nurse practitioner works in collaboration with a number of other providers. How do you become an ID NP? Adult, Acute Care and Family NPs are suited for this specialty. A foundation in primary care, internal medicine or as a hospitalist is a good starting point if you would like to branch into this subspecialty.
6. Fertility Nurse Practitioner