Discussion: Examining Nursing Specialties NURS 6003
Making decisions that include investing our time, money, and mind can often be hard ones that include weighing a vast number of factors. I always knew that I wanted to pursue a graduate degree and become a nurse practitioner, but I was not exactly sure what specialty. At one point I wanted to pursue a degree as a family nurse practitioner, but I was still not so certain. I continued my journey in nursing while working at a Level I Trauma Center in the Emergency Department (ED). I then thought that maybe I should pursue a degree in acute care. All these thoughts raced through my mind, but then I finally found psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. In the ED there are many patients that come in with mental illness. There are many different diagnosis, levels of acuity, and circumstances. I knew that this would be something I enjoyed as I often took care of these patients, but I also noted how often some of the healthcare team would judge these patients. I knew that I had the patience and passion to have a positive impact in the field and hopefully make a difference in the way care is provided. When I made the decision to pursue a degree as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, there were many factors to consider. I considered the time it would take to complete the program, the cost of an accredited program, the resources a program would provide, the time away from my family, time management, and what the job market looked like. I also considered if it would be good for me stress wise and how it would impact my family. I had to have answers to these questions for me to take the leap and then I finally did, I am glad. I am also glad that I waited and developed a good foundation over the years as well as experience. I will be better able to care for my patients this way and it will be good for me as well as a provider.
I think this program will prepare me professionally in providing me with the resources I need to be a good nurse practitioner. It will provide me with the foundation to provide excellent care and go out into the work field
ready. Echevarria (2018) explains that being a part of a professional nursing organization also plays a major role in our exposure and preparation to reach our goals. Being a part of a professional organization allows us to immerse ourselves into the specialty further and offers a variety of resources for us to take part in. I belong to several professional nursing associations that grant me access to journals, networking, and conferences. American Psychiatric Nurses Association (n.d.) provides resources for anyone interested in psychiatric mental health nursing, they also serve as a resource during education and work. This is a great resource for us to reach our academic and professional goals. Having resources, networking, and a strong support are all factors that contribute to our success.
American Psychiatric Nurses Association. (n.d.). Why join. https://www.apna.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3680
Echevarria, I. M. (2018). Make connections by joining a professional nursing organization. Nursing, 48 (12), 35-38. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.NURSE.0000547721.84857.cb
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I enjoyed reading your post. I, too, worked in the emergency department (ED) and treated patients with mental health disorders. Though the risk was high been on the front-line when they were in a manic state, it didn’t take away the joy I felt being a part of their treatment team. Your decision to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) is an excellent choice to deliver a full spectrum of care to patients with psychiatric disorders, organic brain disorders, and substance abuse issues. You will be taught by practicing PMHNPs as you gain the training and expertise to meet the critical need in today’s society (Walden University n.d.). American psychiatric nurse Association (APNA) is an outstanding professional organization that will significantly benefit your professional development. APNA is established over 30 years with more than 14,500 members. I aim to become a member of this organization because I support its mission to commit to the specialty practices of psychiatric-mental health nursing, health, wellness, and recovery promotion by identifying mental health issues (APNA., 2020).
American psychiatric nurse association. (2020). Your resource for psychiatric mental health nursing. https://www.apna.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1
Nurse.org. (n.d.). List of nursing organization. Retrieved August 7, 2021, from https://nurse.org/orgs.shtml
Walden University. (n.d.). Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Retrieved August 2, 2021, from https://www.waldenu.edu/masters/master-of-science-in-nursing
I worked on a gen/med floor in a level one trauma hospital when I started nursing. It provided a good foundation for being a new nurse, but it was a slower-paced job than I was expecting. Downtime has always been challenging for me, so I decided to change positions and become an intensive care nurse. Here is where I found my passion for action, well, in a sense. I felt a deep sense of accomplishment and had more confidence in my skills at the end of each shift. And as I took on the position of charge nurse, I realized that I was good at being a leader. I enjoyed working in a high-intensity environment, and people responded well to me. With this in mind, I decided to take things a step further in my career, so I applied to the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) program here at Walden.As an ICU travel nurse, technically a “COVID ICU travel nurse,” the workload has become more demanding in the past year and a half. During this time, I couldn’t physically be with my family due to obvious reasons, which made coping alone difficult. I also started noticing a feeling of being utterly drained of energy. I was burned out! According to research, health workers can encounter various psychological difficulties when working in high-pressure and high-risk situations, such as those associated with disasters and pandemics (Salamah, 2020). So instead of taking the break I so desperately needed, I decided to head back to nursing school and keep that momentum of intensity going. Unfortunately, distraction is a coping mechanism I have learned to master. So it’s clear to say, here is where I’ve been struggling a bit with making a definite career choice. Though I love taking care of patients and providing support to families, I started questioning whether or not working in a hospital setting as a nurse practitioner is what I wanted to do. I knew I needed some guidance and clarity if I wanted to stay on the path of becoming an acute care NP.
Being an active member of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), I knew that I would find information to tackle my fatigue and learn new ways to plan for career advancement in the field I once loved. In addition, AACN provides resources to assist nurses in prioritizing their well-being while providing substantial care to patients and their families. For example, nurse leaders affiliated with the organization offer sessions on practical mindful activities to improve personal and organizational resilience during current challenging times in healthcare. As a result, nurses will learn to implement strategic pauses and thoughtful moments into their workday (Bay, 2021).
There are several professional nursing organizations whose primary focus is on critical care nursing for nurses practicing in acute care, one being AACN. The AACN has provided progressive and critical care nurses with world-class resources, education, and support for over 50 years and has over 130,000 members (AACN, 2021). Listed below are some of the membership options for those who are interested in joining. Membership fees can be found on the AACN website.
- Active membership is open to any registered nurse licensed in the United States interested in critical care nursing and is in good standing with their state or territory’s licensing office. Additionally, nurses who work in research, administration, education, medical-surgical, telemetry, progressive care units, home health, or any other healthcare agency are qualified (AACN, 2021).
- Any LVN or LPN, non-nurse professional, or student working in these fields, as well as any healthcare consumer or member of the business or political community, is eligible. However, affiliate members cannot vote, hold office, or serve on national or chapter committees (AACN, 2021).
- Professional nurses who have an RN license in a country other than the United States are eligible. Membership includes all AACN privileges; however, all benefits, including a member card, are provided digitally (through email or the Web). International members are not eligible to run for office or participate on national or chapter committees (AACN, 2021).
- Any resident of the United States (or a non-citizen of the United States who resides inside the United States) enrolled in an accredited professional nursing program and is not currently licensed as a registered nurse is eligible. Membership in the AACN entitles them to all AACN advantages. However, student members cannot vote, hold office, or serve on national or chapter committees (AACN, 2021).
American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. (2021). AACN Membership Types and Rates. https://www.aacn.org/membership/aacn-membership-types-and-rate
Bay, L. M. (2021). Mindfulness: Using Pause Principles to Enhance Your Nursing Practice. American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. https://www.aacn.org/education/ce-activities/nti18396/mindfulness-using-pause-principles-to-enhance-your-nursing-practice.
Salamah, B. (2020). Exploring the mental health needs of intensive care unit nurses facing the pandemic of covid-19. ScholarWorks@UARK. https://scholarworks.uark.edu/nursstudent/13/.
The same as you, I was relieved when I took my boards and passed. Continuing education after graduation is an important aspect of the healthcare system, as many things change daily, new inventions come out, and we must stay up to date with the new trends. The American Nurses Association is a great opportunity to seek, and continue education when becoming a member as they offer career advancement, Networking with other nurses, make your voice heard to change policies, and many more benefits ( American Association of Nurse Practitioners (2019). Becoming a family nurse practitioner can be challenging as the focused is aim to from young age to adults. According to Ramira et al., (2018) there will be significant shortage of NPs because not many are choosing this type of practice. the reason for this concern is that many physicians are choosing to go into a specialty instead of family practice. I think that you made a great decision in choosing Family Nurse Practitioner.
American Association of Nurse Practitioners. (2019, September 4). American association of nurse practitioners. American Association of Nurse Practitioners; AANP Website. https://www.aanp.org/
Ramira, M. L., Peraza-Smith, G. B., McLeod, R., & Clark, M. J. (2018). Challenges, Barriers, and Satisfiers of Foreign Educated Physicians with the Family Nurse Practitioner Role in the United States. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 25(1), 12–22.