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Nurses that hold an advanced degree (Master’s level or higher) can complete additional training to become specialists in one particular area of nursing. Common specialty areas include gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, family nursing, maternity, oncology, dialysis and hospice. These types of nurses are known as nurse practitioners or advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) and are becoming more common in today’s healthcare sector. Advanced practice nurses fulfill many of the same job responsibilities as licensed physicians, barring certain limitations. The extensive training and licensure undertaken by a nurse practitioner allows them to perform more complex diagnoses and treatments on their patients. Because of their higher degree of specialization, nurse practitioners receive much larger salaries than general nurses.

Being a nurse practitioner also opens up additional employment options such as being a nurse educator, nurse researcher or nursing adviser. These positions allow the individual to step out into the field of nursing academia and take on managerial or administrative roles. While nurse practitioners have greater versatility in that respect, they have less variation in their practice due to their specialization in one field.

Nurse practitioners can find employment in many of the same types of facilities that a registered nurse would find work opportunities. However, if the practitioner is seeking a specific position in the oncology department, for example, they might have to extend their job search until the right opportunity presents itself. Although they are qualified to accept a general nursing role, the purpose of their advanced training is so that they can put their knowledge to use in their field of expertise.

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