Nursing is a career that allows you to find yourself. There are different levels of nursing, nursing majors, and countless specialties in the field. We’d like to say it’s a profession with something for everyone, but that would imply that nursing is for everyone. And we needn’t tell you, it’s not. But that’s okay! Life as a medical professional is more than a career; it’s a calling and a lifestyle. If you like high-intensity, rewarding work, interacting with others, and having an interest in medicine, it could be just for you.
If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in nursing, you likely know nurse practitioners have one of the most advanced roles in the field. NPs can even have their own private practices in some cases. So, if you like being in charge and are ready to take on a good deal of responsibility (and—we won’t sugarcoat it—plenty of schooling), read on to learn more about nurse practitioners.
What is a nurse practitioner?
An NP is an advanced healthcare professional in the field of nursing. They must not only hold a Bachelor in Science of Nursing (BSN) and a registered nurse (RN) license but a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or doctoral degree, too.
What can I do as a nurse practitioner?
NPs are not physicians, but they assume some of the same responsibilities as doctors. Some of them are Doctors of Nursing Practice (DNP), that is. NPs prescribe medications, diagnose health conditions, perform diagnostic tests and make treatment plans. NPs occasionally operate their own practices.
Ten nurse practitioner career paths
Many specialties in nursing need practitioners. There’s a wide range of focus areas, from medical aesthetics to oncology. Think of it this way: Where there’s a need for a specialized doctor, there’s also a need for different types of nurses. Below, we’ll get into some of the most in-demand nursing specialties for practitioners, but keep in mind that this list is just the tip of the iceberg.
Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner
Psychiatric nurse practitioners work with mental health patients suffering from depression and anxiety to improve their psychological wellness. Their responsibilities include providing treatment, support and even medication, making it one of the highest-paid nurse practitioner specialties.
Currently, the average annual salary for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners in the United States is $143,000.
Neonatal nurse practitioner
You can find neonatal nurse practitioners in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) caring for premature or sick infants. Another one of the most in-demand and highest-paid roles in the field, this work is rewarding, especially if you love babies.
Currently, the average annual salary for neonatal nurse practitioners in the United States is $125,000.
Pediatric nurse practitioner
Pediatric nurse practitioners work to keep children healthy both physically and emotionally, so this role is right for anyone naturally great with kids. (Think of it as a prerequisite for the job, as they’ll be your only patients). Growing up to be strong and sound is easier said than done, so it’s no surprise that PNPs earn well for their important work with little ones.
Currently, the average annual salary for pediatric nurse practitioners in the United States is $122,000.
Cardiac nurse practitioner
It’s time to talk about matters of the heart. Cardiac NPs work with patients who suffer from heart conditions, both acute and chronic. These NPs form part of a cardiological team and can work in various patient care facilities, from private practices to hospitals.
Currently, the average annual salary for cardiac nurse practitioners in the United States is $117,000.
Oncology nurse practitioner
Oncology NPs (ONPs) work directly with cancer patients. That means they provide both medical and moral support for people who may be suffering emotionally due to the disease’s severity. Most often, you can find these NPs working in oncology departments.
Currently, the average annual salary for oncology nurse practitioners in the United States is $116,000.
Emergency nurse practitioner
If you work well under pressure, the role of an emergency nurse practitioner could be right for you. You’ve got to be quick on your feet and provide life-saving urgent care at a moment’s notice. In certain states, ER NPs can work without supervision.
Currently, the average annual salary for emergency nurse practitioners in the United States is $114,000.
Surgical nurse practitioner
Surgical nurse practitioners play an essential role in patients’ well-being because they prepare them for operations and provide care afterward. SNPs support surgeons and ensure surgeries run smoothly thanks to their advanced training.
Currently, the average annual salary for surgical nurse practitioners in the United States is $110,000.
Women’s health nurse practitioner
Women’s health nurse practitioners (WHNP) specialize in gynecological, obstetric, and reproductive care, which means that—while they don’t deliver babies—they help patients before and after giving birth.
Currently, the average annual salary for women’s health nurse practitioners in the United States is $100,000.
Adult-gerontology nurse practitioner
If you’re a patient soul and like befriending patients, we recommend considering a career in geriatrics. This demographic can experience acute and chronic conditions, so you’ll find yourself working in nursing homes to provide long-term care or administering short-term care in emergency rooms or ICUs.
Currently, the average annual salary for adult-gerontology nurse practitioners in the United States is $110,000.
Family nurse practitioner
Family nurse practitioners are well-rounded professionals who provide inpatient and outpatient care to people of all ages in various healthcare settings, from hospitals to clinics. Many operate their own private practices, too. Becoming an FNP is like specializing without specializing since you’ll see a little bit of everything in this line of work.
Currently, the average annual salary for family nurse practitioners in the United States is $106,000.
Nurse practitioner FAQs
What are the pros of becoming a nurse practitioner?
Becoming a nurse practitioner has its perks. You further your education, gain opportunities for specialization, and even enjoy a boost in your income. Plus, you can take pride in the additional responsibilities.
What type of nurse practitioner jobs are in the highest demand?
Family nurse practitioners and psychiatric mental health practitioners are in high demand. In recent years, especially since the onset of COVD-19, more patients have experienced conditions like anxiety and depression and increasingly need mental health care providers. The pandemic has also made people consider how they take care of themselves and focus more intently on preventive care.
Whatever career path you take, as an NP or any type of healthcare professional, we’ll be there as you make big strides to advance your career. We have all the gear you’ll need to feel comfortable and perform well at work because you deserve to treat yourself to styles as unique as you.