specialized nurse

What Specializations Are There for Nurse Practitioners?

by | Sep 14, 2021

There are fewer more noble callings than nursing. And with an ongoing nursing shortage, the demand for leaders in the field is critical. If you’re ready to expand your knowledge and pursue the next level of nursing, becoming a Nurse Practitioner will open new paths and opportunities to positively impact patient care.

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Path

FNPs provide primary care for everyone from infants to older adults. In this specialization, you’ll do more than treat the sick; you’ll also help educate your patients on healthy nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle choices. From diagnosing to treating illnesses, FNPs perform a range of different functions:

  • Perform primary or emergency patient care
  • Prescribe medication and therapy
  • Provide patient education
  • Collaborate with healthcare providers
  • Refer to specialists

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Path

PMHNPs help provide mental health care to people of all ages. Within this role, you’ll assess, diagnose, and treat a range of different psychiatric disorders, along with primary care physicians and specialists. PMHNPs work in both in-patient and out-patient settings and perform a number of different duties for people dealing with mental health disorders and substance abuse.

  • Prescribe medication
  • Conduct physical and psychosocial assessments
  • Provide emergency psychiatric care
  • Evaluate treatment effectiveness

Opportunities for Nurse Practitioners

With the skills of a Nurse Practitioner, you could work in a family practice, providing care to the general public or choose an area of expertise. For example, if you enjoy treating children, you could work in pediatrics. Alternatively, you could serve the elderly in geriatrics. There are as many choices as there are specialties in medicine, but some to consider are:

  • Acute Care
  • Cardiac Care
  • Gastroenterology
  • Neonatal Care
  • Neurology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Orthopedics
  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary
  • Radiology
  • Sports Medicine
  • Urology

Additional training or degrees may be required to specialize in a particular area of medicine.

Leadership/Education Path for Nurse Practitioners

As a Nurse Practitioner, you might also take on a leadership or educational role. You could attain certifications such as:

  • Certified Nurse Educator
  • Certified Nurse Manager and Leader
  • Nurse Executive Advanced Certification

With these credentials, you might work as a Nurse Case Manager, step into a hospital administration role, or help teach the next generation of nurses. You can make an impact on individual patients and nurses or help to solve some of the pressing healthcare challenges that face your community, state and the whole country. You can make a difference for years to come!

Why Should I Consider Earning an MSN Degree and Becoming a Nurse Practitioner?

An MSN program is designed to provide nurses with advanced education, knowledge, and skills. It can help prepare you for healthcare leadership roles or allow you to pursue different career paths within nursing. It will augment your current skillset and teach you how to design health studies, delve more deeply into ethics and leadership, and implement evidenced-based strategies. Nurse practitioner is one of the top 20 most in-demand jobs in our country, with the job outlook expected to rise much faster than average through 2029. This degree can open you up to a variety of different NP roles.


The Online Nursing Program at Bluefield University offers Family Nurse Practitioner, Leadership/Education and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration options. Each gives you the education and skills you need to pursue a fulfilling life of service to others. At Bluefield University, we take a Christ-centered approach to education and training and place a special emphasis on preparing you to pursue a calling in underserved and economically disadvantaged communities. If you’re up for the challenge, contact us today.

Do I only apply once?

  • No. Students must apply each academic year for the fall semester and submit the necessary documents.

Do I have to take the classes specified in the Associate's Degree tracks as they are listed on the information sheet?

  • No. Students may take any of the courses that are offered in a given term.

Where do I find the textbook listing, and where do I purchase the books?

  • Log in to myBU, and under the "Student" tab, you will find a list of the textbooks required (if any) for each course. Students are responsible for purchasing their own textbooks.

How long is a semester?

  • Our semesters are divided into two 8-week terms.

Is there an orientation?

  • Yes. Students can attend an orientation session that explains how to access courses, how to register for classes, and answers other questions.

Where can I find a course description?

Does the student need to take the SAT or ACT in order to take Dual Enrollment classes?

  • No. If a student decides to study at BU full time, BU is currently test-optional for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

Are the classes live? Do students need to log in and participate at certain times?

  • Classes are offered online, so a student can log-on and study at their convenience and their own pace. Students have assignments due each week; you can complete your assignments at any point in time before the deadline.

Does an Early College student need to come to campus for anything?

  • No. However, we would love to have you visit our campus if you are interested in continuing with traditional on-campus study. Students who complete their associate's degree have the option to walk at our commencement ceremony.

Are Early College students able to receive Financial Aid?

  • No. However, Early College courses are very affordable compared to other options. The cost for an online Dual Enrollment course is $100 per credit hour.

How do transferring credits work?

  • Each College or University completes a transcript review in order to decide which courses transfer. Sticking to general education classes generally makes transferring credits simple. All Early College courses at Bluefield University are general education classes that should transfer to another accredited institution.

Is an Early College student considered, and treated, as a transfer student when they become a full-time college student if they have earned enough credits to be a Junior?

  • No. Since they have not graduated from high school, they are considered a first-time college student regardless of how many credits transfer. However, by transferring credits when they enroll as a full-time student, they will have to take fewer classes to receive their bachelor's degree, which shortens the length of time to earn the degree.

Can I speak to someone if I have more questions?

  • Yes. Please contact the Office of Admissions by email or you can call them at 276.326.4231


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