Different Nursing Departments: OBGYN, ICU, Pediatrics, Neurosurgery
Mar 19, 2015 | 10:00 am
More nursing departments exist than can be covered in one article, but much buzz surrounds certain specialties more than others. While DiscoveringNurses.com says there are 104 departments of nursing in which to specialize, we’ll examine just four: Obstetrics/Gynecology (OBGYN), Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Pediatrics and Neurosurgery.
Nurses who specialize in women’s health can be found in physician’s offices, hospitals and community clinics caring for females from youth to menopause and older. Some of the most common duties of an obstetric/gynecological nurse include:
•Monitoring and caring for women during pregnancy
•Assisting with labor, delivery and in some cases, lactation
•Helping women with reproductive health issues
•Conducting mammograms and administering vaccines
•Discussing and treating issues involving sexual health
Ready to work in this nursing department?
The most common academic pathway to becoming an OBGYN nurse, according to DiscoveringNursing.com, starts with earning a degree in nursing, followed by licensure as a registered nurse (NCLEX-RN) and finally receiving Inpatient Obstetric Nursing certification through the National Certification Corporation. Work experience in women’s health is required along the way.
Nurses who specialize in the intensive care unit, also called “critical care,” work with acutely ill patients (and their families) responding to life-threating issues. ICU nurses can work in different departments of intensive care, such as pediatric ICUs and neonatal ICUs or in emergency rooms and recovery rooms to name a few. Some of the most common duties of an ICU nurse include:
•Assess complex, life-threatening conditions
•Issue high-intensity therapies and interventions
•Advocate for patients by supporting their rights and keeping them informed during the decision-making process
•Provide continuous nursing vigilance
Is this the nursing department for you?
According to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), getting there first requires becoming an RN, which can result from passing the NCLEX-RN after completing a nursing diploma, associate’s degree in nursing or bachelor’s degree in nursing.
While most education after that point comes from direct experience, the AACN notes that some employers prefer nurses who go on to become certified in the field, which requires a minimum of two years of experience caring for critically ill patients, continuing education credits and passing the CCRN certification exam offered by the AACN. Advancing in this field requires pursing a master’s degree or higher and receiving licensure to become an Advanced Practice Nurse (APRN) in the field.
Nurses who care for and treat children from infancy to young adulthood in a wide variety of settings, ranging from physicians’ offices to pediatric intensive care units, are called pediatric nurses. Some of their most basic duties include:
•Giving developmental screenings and immunizations
•Treating common childhood illnesses
•Collaborating with pediatricians about preventative and critical care issues
•Teaching families and children about nutrition and disease prevention
Is working with children your favorite nursing specialty?
After becoming a registered nurse and passing the NCLEX-RN, nurses can begin working in pediatrics and after gaining some experience, they can take the exam to become a Certified Pediatric Nurse, notes the Society of Pediatric Nurses. Advancing from there requires the completion of a master’s degree in nursing and national certification to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner or Clinical Nurse Specialist in Pediatrics.
Nurses in this field assist doctors and surgeons who treat patients experiencing issues with their nervous system, especially concerning the brain and spinal cord. The population treated in this field is diverse, with nursing departments covering stroke victims, patients with multiple sclerosis, neurosurgery pediatrics and more. Some of their most basic duties include:
•Maintaining health records
•Monitoring neurological exams
•Administering post-operative care
Ready to work in this field?
The most common path to get there is to first become an RN and then gain experience nursing in the field of neuroscience. After two years of hands-on learning, there are a couple certifications a neurosurgery nurse could earn, such as the Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse (CNRN®) and the Stroke Certified Registered Nurse (SCRN®), administered by the American Board of Neuroscience Nursing (ABNN).