As nurses prepare to go back to school and pursue an advanced degree in their field, it's typically a good idea to consider in advance the many different types of Master's in Nursing specializations. Each concentration will allow the nursing student to graduate into a unique occupation where their specialized field of study will be used on a daily b basis. From delivery of new born babies to helping senior citizens through the trials and tribulations of advanced aging, each of these concentrations focuses on a very unique, essential, and demanding area of the nursing profession that will open up new opportunities for MSN graduates.
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The fastest-growing group of people in the United States is Americans between the ages of 55 and 79. As the Baby Boomers enter old age and begin requiring the advanced care of specialized doctors and nurses, the study of gerontology has become even more important to the daily operation of hospitals and clinics across the country. Gerontology itself is the study of aging and of old age, and in the MSN programs at most universities this popular concentration is focused on teaching nurses unique methods of care for these patients.
Most schools offer the ability to proceed through a gerontology Registered Nurse program, or a gerontology Nurse Practitioner program. Each program is designed slightly differently, with the NP option offering more in-depth information and hands-on experience. In both cases, graduates will be uniquely qualified to handle aging populations here in the United States and around the world.
Neonatal Care and Delivery
Just as old age is something nurses must understand in order to do their jobs well, neonatal care and delivery is an area of specialty that has long been among the most popular at leading nursing schools. This is perhaps the exact opposite of gerontology, since it teaches nurses the fundamentals of helping with labor and delivery during pregnancy. Nursing students can choose an RN or NP track in this area as well, with most schools encouraging students to opt for the practitioner track since it's more highly in demand at today's hospitals.
Another popular concentration at the graduate level is midwifery, which is essentially neonatal care for those patients who prefer to deliver their babies outside of a more conventional hospital setting. Nurses learn a unique array of skills in this program that help them compensate for the lack of easily accessible hospital amenities, and are therefore more highly qualified to deliver babies in homes or other preselected areas without negatively affecting the health of the new born or the mother in the process.
Leadership and Education
Nursing is about both patient care and good leadership, and this concentration will teach nurses how to advance into managerial roles within a hospital or clinic. As part of this specialization, students will learn about the organizational structure of hospitals, healthcare information systems, and the role of a nursing department manager in supervising employees, ensuring good patient care, enforcing standards and regulations, and furthering the goals of efficient, sound care in all situations.
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Great Ways to Specialize a Nursing Degree at the Graduate Level
Nursing skills at the undergraduate level are very general in nature, as should be expected of an entry-level degree program. At the graduate level, however, specialization is required. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the different types of Master's in Nursing specializations available in today's programs allow nurses to offer superior care to key groups, or manage the provision of care through management work and supervisory nursing practices.