the four nursing specialisms, four nursing specialisms, nursing specialisms, adult nursing, paediatric nursing, learning disability nursing, mental health nursing

The four nursing specialisms

By Dan Allard

​What are the four nursing specialisms? Each one requires specific clinical decision-making skills and technical expertise.

1) Adult nursing

You could be working with long-term patients where you have the opportunity to build positive relationships or nurse a patient back to health within just a few days.

There are multiple options to work within the community (such as care homes or prisons) or you could work within clinical settings. If you choose to work within a hospital, you can specialise in areas such as theatre nursing, neurology, or care for the elderly.

It’s common for nurses to work as part of multidisciplinary teams. You could be working closely with colleagues from radiography, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, or social services to develop treatment plans for patients.

2) Paediatric nursing (children)

As children may be too young to explain their pain, or may have difficulties in finding the right words, paediatric nurses have to become skilled at understanding body language.

You may find yourself working with newborn babies or teenagers – there’s a broad scope of ages amongst patients. Not only will you be working closely with the patient, but you’ll also be building relationships with parents and families.

There are many ways you can develop your paediatric nursing career. You may choose to work as a school nurse or become a health visitor. Or you may choose to work within an A&E department or specialise in supporting children affected by cancer.

3) Learning disability nursing

Nurses who specialise in learning disabilities play an important role in enabling people to live independently. You may be working with those who live in supported accommodation or caring for a patient who has other underlying health conditions.

Your work is likely to involve supporting patients with a wide range of conditions and you could be working with patients who cannot verbalise their healthcare problems. You need to be aware of how to adapt your care to each patient.

You’ll work closely with other professionals such as speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and social services teams.

4) Mental health nursing

Mental health nurses need to have a great deal of patience and empathy. They also need to be skilled at de-escalating potentially difficult situations and remaining calm.

You may be working in small residential units or specialist hospitals and you’ll likely spend much longer with patients than those working in other clinical settings. This means that you can really see how your care and support can improve the life of a patient. Specialities within mental health nursing include rehabilitation, substance misuse, or child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS).

Whatever your preferred nursing specialism, we are here to help you at every stage of your career. Not only is our careers hub packed full of resources, but we recruit for a wide range of nursing jobs across the UK.