10 Great Nursing Specializations with a BSN

Community colleges offer programs that help you earn your RN or LPN license in as little as two years. Once you have your degree and your license, you might wonder why you should bother going back to school to get your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. If you want to work in a specialized field of nursing, you must have your BSN.

1. Nurse Researcher

One specialization open to those with a BSN is a job as a nurse researcher. Nurse researchers work in a clinical area of nursing and help find answers to commonly asked questions. They often gather evidence done by doctors and other medical professionals and evaluate that evidence to determine if the research backs up the conclusions created by those professionals. Some work in colleges or universities and have a team of students assisting them with their research.

2. Informatics Nurse

Hospitals and other medical facilities use billing and coding specialists to keep track of patient information, but many of those facilities now hire informatics nurses too. Informatics nurses must have knowledge and experience using new forms of technology like new computer programs and billing software. They ensure that all records are as up to date as possible and that all patients receive the best level of care. The work they do can also help when it comes to billing Medicare, Medicaid or private insurers. The average salary for informatics nurses is more than $100,000 a year.

3. Travel Nurse

If you love nursing and working with patients but hate sitting still and working in the same place every day, working as a travel nurse might be a great choice for you. Travel nurses generally travel to different facilities and spend no more than 26 weeks working in the same spot. You might receive a call because a hospital suffers a nursing shortage or because a new facility just opened. Many facilities will give you a stipend that covers your housing and personal expenses. Though the salary you earn depends on where you work, you can easily make $20 or more an hour, according to Travel Nursing.

4. Critical Care Nurse

Critical care nursing is what many people think of when they think of nurses. These are the nurses that you see on television shows and in films set inside hospitals. They work in emergency rooms and in other critical care areas to help patients with more serious conditions. Critical care nurses do everything from take vital signs and patient histories to assisting doctors with procedures and keeping the loved ones of patients up to date. While you can earn more than $70,000 a year working in this field, you will need your critical care nursing certification before you go to work.

5. Nurse Advocate

Nurse advocates are nurses who are more concerned with their patients than the facility where they work. They act as advocates on behalf of patients and talk with the doctors about their patients’ wishes. Advocates will take information provided by doctors back to those patients. Most work in hospitals, but they can also work in private care practices and in clinics. In addition to passing the national nursing licensing exam, working as a nurse advocate also requires that you have a BSN before you accept your first nursing advocate job, according to Discover Nursing.

6. Pain Management Nurse

Patients dealing with a high level of pain turn to pain management nurses for assistance. A pain management nurse will both help a patient come with pain while in a hospital or another facility as well as when that patient goes home. They can suggest treatments and programs like physical rehabilitation, acupuncture or hot and cold therapy. These nurses work with other nurses to teach them how to identify those who want prescription drugs only. They may also do some research on new management techniques that help patients better cope with their pain.

7. Perianesthesia Nurse

Perianesthesia nurses work with patients recovering from surgeries and medical procedures that require those patients go through anesthesia. Sedation leaves most patients feeling groggy and tired, but sedation can also cause breathing problems and other serious medical conditions. Perianesthesia nurses monitor vital signs and talk with patients to ensure they understand what happened. They will also keep an eye out for symptoms like hives, swelling in the throat and other symptoms that can indicate the patient had an allergic reaction to the anesthesia.

8. Psychiatric Nurse

Psychiatric nurses often work with patients in inpatient programs designed to help them deal with their mental health issues and symptoms. Also called mental health nurses, they need to have good decision making skills and have a good understanding of the treatments and prescriptions associated with different mental health conditions. To become a psychiatric nurse, you must have your RN license and a BSN, according to the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. You’ll also need at least two years of experience working as a nurse and complete 2,000 hours of clinical work in the mental health counseling field within a three-year period.

9. Orthopedic Nurse

An orthopedic nurse, also called an orthopaedic nurse, is a nurse who works specifically with patients diagnosed with skeletal and joint problems. They are not only responsible for working with patients but for educating the families and loved ones of patients too. Orthopedic nurses often explain the exact conditions to loved ones, go over some of the best treatments available, describe any symptoms or side effects they should know about and provide them with information that they can take home. A BSN will help you work as an orthopedic nurse, but you’ll need a master’s degree to move up to the head of your department.

10. Neonatal Nurse

Neonatal nurses are the ones who work with babies and young children. Though some assume that they only work with newborns, they can work with children up to two years of age. They typically work in hospitals and pregnancy centers and spend more time with babies dealing with medical conditions, including those born premature and those born with certain birth defects. Many work with underweight children every day, because those kids can suffer from a range of different symptoms because of their weight.

Related Resource: 10 Highest-Paying Nursing Jobs for MSNs

As a nurse working in a medical facility, you should give some serious thought to going back to college for your BSN. Your BSN will help you find work in any of these specializations.