Quote from athena77
Thanks alot for that information. That actually put it in perspective now. So you get your Master's and then certify in the specialty area if you wish? Which would be the pain management?
Another quick question, can a CNS prescribe medicine?
It's usually a little more complicated than just getting a "general" Master's and then getting certified, but now you're beginning to think along the right track. Graduate ... get a little work experience with the population that interests you most ... then get a Master's in a related area. Different schools offer Master's Degrees with slightly different areas of focus. Find one that matches your career interests -- but don't expect to find one that is an exact match for the specific topic of your choice. At the graduate level, the school's program gets you in the right neighborhood, then you hone in on a more specific area by choosing topics for your papers and projects that increase your expertise in your chosen topic. Work experience and certification also help develop and document your expertise.
If you have an area of special interest (e.g. pain management), you should be reading the literature on that topic -- particularly any journals that specialize in that area. Look at the job advertisements and the "information about the authors" that is usually included with the articles. Browse your library! Also, as a practicing nurse, you should go to conferences that focus on that topic and talk with the experts that you meet at those conferences. Find out about their career paths. Ask for their recommendations.
If you do all these things, you should be able to make a pretty good decision for yourself by the time you are ready to go to graduate school.