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Nursing Specialties: How Many Should You Choose?


Best Study Habits for Preparing for the AANP Exam

The world of nursing is a wide one. While the general public might not know it, there are just as many kinds of nurses as there are kinds of illnesses! As aspiring nurses get further and further along in their coursework, they'll discover that the possible career paths ahead of them are incredibly varied. No matter your area of interest, chances are good that there's a kind of nursing specialty that focuses in on it. All involve solving problems, caring for patients, and staying on the cutting edge of medical discoveries.

The best part about nursing specialties? There's no limitation on what you can achieve! While each path may take years of studying and training, a nurse can be a true jack of all trades if they wish. As you take nursing practice tests and begin to prepare for your new career, consider these specialty options:

Options for Registered Nurses

As a registered nurse, you won't need to pursue advanced diplomas in order to advance in your career. Instead, work towards your certification in your area of interest. The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers a number of options for professionals hoping to gain experience and pursue promotions in their field.

If you're interested in surgical nursing, for example, you may want to consider pursuing certification as a medical-surgical nurse. If you prefer working with diabetic patients, on the other hand, you should work to earn your diabetes clinical nurse specialist certificate. Regardless of which option you choose, you'll likely need to study, take practice tests, and take an exam to become certified.

Advance Practice Nursing Specialties

For nurses who have an interest in the more advanced career paths, the AANP Nurse Practitioner specialty maybe the solution. Nurse practitioners must sit for the AANP exam and work in their area of interest before specializing in any particular field. For example, if you enjoy working with seniors, you may opt to become an AANP Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. AANP Gerontologic Nurse Practitioner is another title many professionals in elderly communities work towards. Those who prefer the adrenaline rush of an emergency might opt to pursue their AANP Emergency Nurse Practitioner certification, while nurses hoping to work in a primary care practice would do well to earn their AANP Family Nurse Practitioner certificate. If the AANP does not offer the specialty you need, you may want to check out the The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Certification Program where you can find similar certifications plus many more nursing specialtes.

Since the clinical hours worked in school count towards certification as a nurse practitioner, working nurses don't need to spend additional hours in training. Advanced practice nurses should choose their specialty before committing to a school. It's recommended that they pursue certification only once they have completed their education.

Other Considerations for Nursing Specialties

If you prefer management, research, and educational roles, you may want to consider the clinical nurse specialist route. These professionals rarely work with patients, focusing instead on the professional development opportunities they can bring to their staff. Clinical nurse specialists will look at the big picture data of patient outcomes and work to create better solutions for common challenges within the nursing unit.

Those interested in clinical nurse specialist positions can drill down even further to find a specialty to pair with their love of research and management. For example, it's possible to specialize in mental healthcare and bring your certification for a clinical nurse specialist position in a behavior healthcare hospital. The options are endless.

Preparing for Nursing Specialty Certification

The certification process for nursing specialties varies dramatically by subject area. In some cases, you may not need any additional education but will need to pass a standardized test and complete applicable clinical hours. For other specialties, though, you may need to take an online course or module to become certified to practice. Regardless of what you need to do to prepare, it's important to find the online resources to guide your way.

Online practice tests can help those studying for the AANP exam prepare efficiently. Most nurses pursuing specialty certification are already working in the field - they don't have time to sit in a classroom to brush up on theory or review flashcards with friends in the library. Practice tests are convenient and can be accessed from virtually any smartphone or device.

If you're hoping to get the advantage you need on your nursing specialty exams, try Exam Edge on for size. Our practice tests are designed to simulate the experience you'll have when taking the AANP exam. No matter what specialty you're hoping to become certified in, chances are good Exam Edge offers the practice tests you'll need.

Not sure where to begin? Browse our library of nursing practice exams or check out our other healthcare specialties to find the practice test that's right for your course of study. We even offer free practice exams for new customers - there's never been an easier or more affordable way to ensure you're ready for a test. Get started now to see the difference Exam Edge can have on your nursing career.