Top Nursing Careers & Specialties

Collage of Nurses

Earning a nursing degree is just the start of your journey as a nurse. Upon graduating and becoming licensed, nurses are able to start down the path to their dream careers. While many think of nurses delivering bedside care to sick or injured patients, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Nurses these days can work in diverse environments, caring for patients old and young, assisting doctors and healthcare team members with a variety of specialized tasks. As the population booms, nurses are needed in more niche areas to provide focused care.

Nursing careers are special because they offer pathways for just about every interest. Urgent or slow-paced, broad or specific, stationary or mobile, each nurse can find what suits them best. Read on to learn more about the different careers, specialties, and areas that nurses can work in.

Nursing Careers by Education Level

Opportunities abound for nurses at all levels, from new grads to those with a few years of experience under their belts to advanced practice nurses. The type of nursing degree you earn may dictate what type of nursing role you are able to hold, which is why it's a good idea to think about your goals before deciding on an educational pathway. Don't have the degree type to get the career of your dreams? Not to worry; bridge and certificate programs exist for nurses who decide they want higher-level roles.

CNA and LPN/LVN Nursing Careers

Certified Nursing Assistants/Aides (CNAs) and Licensed Professional/Vocational Nurses (LPNs/LVNs) are considered introductory-level nurses. Their education can usually be completed much more quickly than a traditional registered nursing degree, making this a popular pathway for those who want to enter the healthcare arena and start working as soon as possible. CNAs typically work in any setting where an RN is present, assisting them with various tasks. These include hospitals, medical facilities, and more. LPNs/LVNs also assist medical team members and can find employment in a variety of care areas as well. Some popular places of employment for LPN/LVNs include:

  • Assisted living facilities
  • Home health agencies
  • Physicians' offices
  • Elder care facilities

Some travel and per-diem jobs are also popular choices for LPNs, LVNs, and CNAs. Those wishing to expand their employment horizons can also go on to earn a registered nursing degree.

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ADN-Educated Nursing Careers

For those who have earned an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN), there are a broad variety of entry-level roles available. With around 2 years of nursing education, ADN nurses won't be eligible for as many jobs as, say, a BSN or MSN educated nurse, but they are well suited to finding jobs in a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient facilities, nursing homes, and more. ADN-educated nurses regularly find work as:

  • Ambulatory care nurses
  • Hospice/palliative care nurses
  • Long-term care nurses
  • Home health nurses
  • Public health nurses

There are many other areas of care that ADN-nurses can find work in; in fact, ADN-RNs can be employed in most entry-level registered nursing roles. Keep in mind, however, that higher-level tasks and responsibilities will be reserved for those with BSN degrees or higher.

BSN-Educated Nursing Careers

The Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is becoming the gold standard for many healthcare employers. There has been a huge push in recent years for nurses to earn a BSN degree, as many hospitals are starting to require them as a term of employment. BSN-educated nurses can hold many specialty nursing roles, from pediatrics to geriatrics and everywhere in between, and their 4-year educations prepare them for many different environments. Popular BSN-RN careers include, but aren't limited to:

  • Case management nurse
  • Medical-surgical nurse
  • Trauma nurse
  • OBGYN nurse
  • Critical care nurse
  • Oncology nurse

In addition to these in-demand careers, BSN-RNs are usually able to move into positions of higher responsibility quite easily. While a new-grad BSN nurse might start with an entry-level job, with some experience they can move up the ladder to a more fulfilling role if they so choose.

Graduate Nursing Careers

The most prestigious nursing career opportunities are offered to graduate-level nurses, or those with a Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN), or a doctoral degree like a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.). Most often, a graduate degree program will require the nurse to specialize in an area of care as part of the curriculum, but post-master's nurses can also enter certificate programs if they want to change career areas. In addition to high-level clinical roles, graduate-level nurses can also hold educational roles in universities and hospitals. A sampling of graduate nursing roles follows:

  • Nurse practitioner
  • Nurse educator/professor
  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Certified nurse midwife
  • Nurse anesthetist
  • Nurse informaticist

Nurses who hold an MSN or higher are also eligible for managerial roles, as well as advanced non-patient facing roles such as hospital administrator or executive.

Nursing Career Workplace Environments

With a degree in hand, many new nurses wonder where they might find a nursing job. Rest assured, there are opportunities beyond a doctor's office for those who want to explore their options. Traditional and unconventional nursing careers are available to nurses at just about any stage.

Traditional Job Settings for Nurses

These are the places that many people envision when they think of nursing job environments. These include:

  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Medical offices
  • Private physicians' offices
  • Community health clinics
  • Nursing homes

Within these environments, nurses can have broad or specialized roles. For example, a nurse may provide ambulatory care in an outpatient clinic, which encompasses a wide range of duties. Alternatively, a nurse may provide pediatric care in the NICU at a hospital, a more specific scope of practice.

Education-Related Job Settings for Nurses

Many nurses are inspired to teach after the great experiences they have earning their nursing degrees. There are many opportunities for RNs to hold roles as educators, including the following settings:

  • Colleges/universities
  • Teaching hospitals
  • Government/public health
  • Elementary, middle, or high schools
  • Consultant agencies

Nurses who wish to work as educators will need higher degrees (MSN and above). They can work in either clinical or educational environments.

Unconventional Job Settings for Nurses

Not looking to be chained to the hospital? There are exciting, alternative careers for adventurous RNs. These sometimes require other experience or skill sets (for example, a flight nurse will likely need experience flying). Some unconventional nursing jobs include:

  • Travel nursing
  • Flight nursing
  • Military nursing
  • Camp nursing
  • Legal consulting
  • Forensic nursing
  • Missionary nursing
  • Parish nursing

These careers typically involve some degree of travel, or at the very least, caring for patients in a non-hospital environment. While this presents its own set of challenges, many nurses find these careers and environments very rewarding.

Ambulatory Care Nurse

Read More: What is an Ambulatory Care Nurse?

Ambulatory nurses care for a wide variety patient types in outpatient settings, such as clinics, private practice medical office or university health center. Ambulatory nurses treat non-acute patients and perform a number of tasks including clinical evaluation of a patient’s vital signs, treatment and pain management of illness or injury, provide health education information to patients and caretakers and participate in administrative or office management tasks.

Burn Care Nurse

Read More: What is a Burn Care Nurse?

Burn care nurses provide care for patients who are experiencing physical and emotional wounds resulting from burn injuries. Burn care nurses often work in intensive care units or the burn care units in hospitals, and perform a variety of patient care tasks including assessing, dressing and monitoring a patient’s burn wounds, administering medications, assisting in pain management and providing education on long-term care of burn wounds.

Camp Nurse

Read More: What is a Camp Nurse?

Camp nurses care for campers and staff at day, summer and year-round camps. Camp nurses often work with limited resources and far from the nearest medical facility, so a background in trauma and acute care is extremely helpful. Camp nurses also commonly work with children, and treat a wide range of illnesses and injuries including cuts and scrapes, broken bones, allergies, poison oak and colds and flu.

Cardiac Care Nurse

Read More: What is a Cardiac Care Nurse?

Cardiac care nurses treat patients with cardiovascular disease and conditions. Cardiac care nurses most commonly work in a hospital setting, often in the ICU or a cardiac rehabilitation unit. They care for patients with a variety of heart problems, and may perform stress tests, take and monitor a patient’s vital signs and heart rate, complete health assessments, administer medication and care for a patient prior to and following surgery.

Cardiac Catheterization Lab Nurse

Read More: What is a Cardiac Catheterization Lab Nurse?

Cardiac cath lab nurses work in cardiac catheterization labs where patients undergo a number of cardiac and vascular procedures, including coronary angioplasty, valve replacement and stent placement. Cardiac cath lab nurses assist with these procedures, administer medications, monitor and document vital signs and for signs of infection, prepare patients for procedures and provide patients and their families with discharge instructions.

Cardiovascular Operating Room Nurse

Read More: What is a Cardiovascular Operating Room Nurse?

Cardiovascular Operating Room (CVOR) Nurses is a specialized field of operating room nursing in which nurses assist the surgical teams performing cardiovascular surgery. Typical duties for CVOR nurses include administering medications and monitoring vital signs during a procedure, ensuring the sterility of the operating room, surgical equipment and supplies and caring for a patient during pre-op preparations and initial post-op recovery.

Case Management Nurse

Read More: What is a Case Management Nurse?

Case management nurses work with patients and care teams to coordinate and implement a patient’s long-term care plan. Often specializing in a particular patient group (e.g., HIV/AIDs, cancer, geriatrics, etc.), case management nurses coordinate surgeries and doctor’s appointments, coordinate with medical insurance companies to ensure a patient is receiving cost-effective care, educate patients and their families about treatment options and provide emotional support to patients coping with long-term medical needs.

Certified Nurse Midwife

Read More: What is a Certified Nurse Midwife?

Certified nurse midwives specialize in women’s reproductive healthcare, assisting women with labor and delivery, treating gynecological diseases and infections, providing family planning education and pregnancy check-ups, and assisting with postpartum care of the mother and newborn. Nurse midwifery is an advanced practice nursing career that requires graduate-level study and passing an APRN certification exam in midwifery. Following certification, nurse midwives may work in a variety of settings including birth centers, hospitals, clinics and in patients’ homes.

Charge Nurse

Read More: What is a Charge Nurse?

A specialty that combines clinical practice with managerial duties, charge nurses supervise nursing staff in hospitals and medical facilities. Charge nurses set staff schedules, maintain supplies, supervise patient care and provide guidance to more junior nursing staff. In addition to managerial duties, charge nurses also provide patient care to patients in their departments.

Clinical Nurse Leader

Read More: What is a Clinical Nurse Leader?

Clinical nurse leaders (CNLs) are master’s-level educated nurses who focus on ensuring high quality of care and improving patient outcomes across their department or facility. CNLs work with other healthcare providers to develop, implement and evaluable patient care plans, gather and evaluate patient outcomes and use research-based information to improve care plans. CNLs are also able to influence and change policies based on data and industry best practices to ensure the highest quality of care is provided to patients.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Read More: What is a Clinical Nurse Specialist?

Clinical nurse specialists are advanced practice RNs with graduate degrees and specialized certification in a specialty area of nursing. Clinical nurse specialists often work with a specific population of patients, for example women’s health, pediatrics or gerontology, and may provide patient care in addition to conducting research, educating patients, mentoring and training fellow nurses and using evidence-based research to develop, evaluate and improve patient care plans and nursing policies and procedures.

Correctional Facility Nurse

Read More: What is a Correctional Facility Nurse?

Correctional facilities nurses provide a range of patient care services to inmates in correctional facilities. In addition to maintaining and improving inmate health, correctional facilities nurses must also prioritize maintaining safety and security of themselves, fellow staff members and inmates in the facility. These nurses provide routine and emergency medical care, treat chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and administer medications to inmates who require it.

Critical Care (ICU) Nurse

Read More: What is a Critical Care (ICU) Nurse?

Critical care (ICU) nurses care for patients who require condition stabilizing care, often those who are post-surgery, have experienced trauma, or those transitioning to end-of-life care. Critical care nurses may also specialize in a particular patient population, such as neo-natal ICU, surgical ICU, etc. ICU positions require nurses to closely monitor a small number of patients who are at a high-risk for, or already have, life-threatening complications, exhibit excellent communication skills, and have the ability to make quick decisions and keep calm in high-pressure situations.

Dermatology Nurse

Read More: What is a Dermatology Nurse?

Dermatology nurses care for patients with skin diseases and conditions including psoriasis, acne, and skin cancer. Dermatology nurses work in dermatology offices, cosmetic dermatology clinics and burn care units, and may also perform cosmetic treatments for patients including chemical peels or microdermabrasion and care for patients prior to and following dermatological surgeries. A key part of the dermatology nurse’s job is to provide patient education on how to protect and treat skin conditions at home and prevent skin disease and cancer.

Developmental Disability Nurse

Read More: What is a Developmental Disability Nurse?

Developmental disability nurses care for patients with developmental disabilities including Down Syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy. A role that allows nurses to develop personal connections with their patients, developmental disability nurses teach patients and their families about their conditions, help patients with bodily care, communication techniques and movement and help develop longer-term plans for school or work to help improve patients’ quality of life across their lifespan.

Domestic Violence Nurse

Read More: What is a Domestic Violence Nurse?

Domestic violence nurses work with patients who have experienced emotional and/or physical abuse, including women, children and the elderly. A highly rewarding nursing specialty, domestic violence nurses examine, treat and record patients' injuries, provide patients with physical, mental and emotional support, give referrals to support services and work with law enforcement on behalf of patients.

Emergency Nurse Practitioner

Read More: What is an Emergency Nurse Practitioner?

Emergency room nurse practitioners are advanced-practice RNs who manage the care of ill or injured patients who present in the emergency room. Aside from working in ERs, this type of nurse practitioner may also teach or promote improved access to emergency care. Emergency room nurse practitioners must hold an MSN degree or higher in order to hold this high-level position.

Emergency Room Nurse

Read More: What is an Emergency Room Nurse?

Emergency room (ER) nurses are often the first responders to patients experiencing critical injury, allergic reactions or other trauma that has brought them to an emergency room or trauma center. ER nurses must be calm under pressure, excellent at triage and always prepared to respond to patients in need. Every day brings a wide range of patient ailments and injuries, so ER nurses must be medical generalists as well as experts in triaging patients and providing urgent treatment and care for a variety of trauma and illnesses.

Enterostomy Therapy Nurse

Read More: What is an Enterostomy Therapy Nurse?

Enterostomy therapy nurses care for patients before, during and following enterostomy procedures. In addition to assisting physicians with procedures and monitoring a patient following a procedure, enterostomy nurses teach patients and their families how to care for their stoma to prevent infection and other complications as well as give advice on nutrition and caring for stoma equipment. Enterostomy therapy nurses often see patients over long periods of time, allowing them to develop close relationships with their patients.

Family Nurse Practitioner

Read More: What is a Family Nurse Practitioner?

Family nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who are trained to diagnose and treat a myriad of diseases, conditions and injuries to patients across the lifespan. FNPs generally work in outpatient settings such as community health clinics, outpatient care centers and primary care centers such as family practice and women’s health doctor’s offices. Nurse practitioners must hold master’s degrees in nursing or higher and are qualified to prescribe medications, develop treatments plans and perform diagnostic tests and other health screenings.

Flight Nurse

Read More: What is a Flight Nurse?

Flight nurses, also known as transport nurses, care for patients who are being transported to hospitals and other medical facilities via air transportation methods like helicopter or rescue flight. As patients being transferred by air are often in critical condition, flight nurses are highly trained in providing emergency medical care, securing patients into air transport vehicles and safely transferring them into the care of the medical teams at their destination.

Forensic Nurse

Read More: What is a Forensic Nurse?

Forensic nurses work with patients who have been victims of various crimes. A blend of nursing, law enforcement and criminal justice, forensic nurses provide compassionate care to victims of trauma, gather medical evidence and may provide expert testimony in criminal trials and consult with legal experts. Forensic nurses must have excellent attention to detail, communication skills and the compassion to work with patients experiencing trauma or abuse.

Gastroenterology Nurse

Read More: What is a Gastroenterology Nurse?

Gastroenterology nurses treat patients with illnesses or disorders of the gastro-intestinal tract, including ulcers, acid-reflux, irritable bowel disease, Crohn’s disease and cancers of the gastrointestinal organs. GI nurses assist with endoscopies, colonoscopies and other medical procedures, provide patients with nutrition and lifestyle education and provide pain management and monitoring during and following procedures.

Genetics Nurse

Read More: What is a Genetics Nurse?

Genetics nurses care for patients who are at risk for, or affected by, diseases or conditions with a genetic component. Specialized education in genetics trains these nurses to perform genetic risk assessments, analyze the findings and counsel patients on how to mitigate or manage that risk. Genetics nurses may also conduct research in genetics and/or care for patients with a wide range of genetic diseases.

Geriatric Nurse

Read More: What is a Geriatric Nurse?

Geriatric nurses are trained to work with elderly patients in a variety of settings including nursing homes, long-term care facilities, hospitals, in-home care services and more. Typical duties for a geriatric nurse include helping patients with their functional abilities and mobility, ensuring a patient’s mental and emotional wellbeing, assisting patients with activities of daily living and administering medication and pain management techniques.

Holistic Nurse

Read More: What is a Holistic Nurse?

Holistic nurses take a mind-body-spirit-emotion-environment approach to wellness, seeking to help patients heal their whole bodies instead of individual symptoms. In addition to traditional nursing techniques, holistic nurses may incorporate the use of massage, acupuncture and Eastern medicine techniques into their practice and encourage their patients to incorporate spirituality, self-care and reflection into their care plans.

Home Health Nurse

Read More: What is a Home Health Nurse?

Home health nurses provide care for their patients in their home environments. Home health nurses treat a variety of patient types including the elderly and those with physical disabilities, and often develop close relationships with their patients. Typical duties for a home health nurse include assisting patients with activities of daily living such as dressing and bathing as well as providing wound care, pain management and administering IV medication.

Hospice Nurse

Read More: What is a Hospice Nurse?

Hospice nurses provide end of life care for their patients, and usually work in nursing homes, hospitals, hospice care centers and patient homes. These nurses are responsible for making patients as comfortable as possible, including administering medications, maintaining patient hygiene as well as providing emotional support to patients and their loved ones.

Infection Control Nurse

Read More: What is an Infection Control Nurse?

Infection control nurses are specially trained to determine, prevent and control the spread of dangerous infectious diseases in a healthcare setting. Infection control nurses gather and analyze infection data and trends and educate healthcare professionals and the public on infection prevention and mitigation measures.

Informatics Nurse

Read More: What is an Informatics Nurse?

Informatics nurses work with patient data and computer systems to improve patient care quality and improve efficiency. Often working as a bridge between clinical nursing staff and new technologies, informatics nurses select and implement new technologies, analyze clinical data and evaluate quality improvement programs. Informatics nurses must have strong technology and communication skills in addition to technical nursing knowledge.

Infusion Nurse

Read More: What is an Infusion Nurse?

Infusion nurses have specialized training in administering medications and fluids via injection. They insert and monitor fluid tubes such as IV lines, central lines or venous access ports and often assist with chemotherapy treatments, blood transfusions and nutrition or fluid infusions. Infusion nurses work in hospitals, as well as in hospice centers, nursing homes, long-term care facilities and in patient homes.

International Travel Nurse

Read More: What is an International Travel Nurse?

International travel nurses are RNs who fill temporary nursing positions outside the U.S. that generally have a nursing shortage. Working in a number of different settings, international travel nurses may work in remote areas recovering from natural disasters or experiencing a disease outbreak, so they must be experienced in emergency medical care. Typical duties include administering medication, wound care, trauma and emergency medical care and educating patients and their families about home medical care and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Labor & Delivery Nurse

Read More: What is a Labor & Delivery Nurse?

Labor and delivery nurses care for mothers and babies during and immediately following the childbirth process. Working closely with physicians and anesthesiologists, L&D nurses monitor fetal heart rates, monitor and report on mother and newborn vital signs, assist with epidurals and caesarean sections, assist mothers with pain management and help to ensure the safest possible childbirth.

Read More: What is a Legal Nurse Consultant?

A legal nurse consultant provides medical expertise to lawyers, insurance companies, healthcare providers and others involved in medically-related legal cases. Legal nurse consultants must have a strong knowledge of patient rights, standards of patient care, pathophysiology, pharmacology, and the legal process. Typical duties include reviewing and summarizing medical records for a non-medical audience, attending depositions and mediations, preparing medical evidence for trial, compiling supporting documents and medical literature, and serving as expert witnesses.

Long-Term Care Nurse

Read More: What is a Long-Term Care Nurse?

Long-term care nurses care for patients with long-term medical needs, such as the elderly, patients with disabilities and those with chronic illnesses. Often working in long-term care facilities, LTC nurses assist their patients with physical therapy and activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing and using the restroom, check vital signs, administer medications and update patient records.

Managed Care Nurse

Read More: What is a Managed Care Nurse?

Managed care nurses act as liaisons between managed care systems, healthcare providers and patients who use them, ensuring patients receive high-quality medical care in a cost-effective manner. Generally working in an office setting, managed care nurses encourage patients to seek appropriate preventative healthcare services and provide counsel on keeping costs low for patients and insurance companies.

Medical-Surgical Nurse

Read More: What is a Medical-Surgical Nurse?

The most common nursing specialty in the U.S., medical-surgical nurses work with adult patients in a hospital setting who are experiencing an acute illness or injury or recovering from surgery. Medical-surgical nurses must been adept at multi-tasking and communication, caring for multiple patients at any given time. Typical duties include administering medications, checking vital signs, updating patient records, discharging and admitting patients and educating patients and their families.

Military Nurse

Read More: What is a Military Nurse?

Military nurses are registered nurses who serve in a branch of our nation’s military and care for current and former servicemen and women and their families. Military nurses are specially trained to provide care for life-threatening injuries experienced in a warzone and help soldiers who were wounded in the line of duty recover from their injuries in addition to carrying for more common injuries and illnesses. While a particularly stressful nursing specialty, military nurses enjoy a number of benefits including free healthcare, travel experience and top-notch education opportunities.

Missionary Nurse

Read More: What is a Missionary Nurse?

Missionary nurses work for churches, non-profit organizations and humanitarian groups to provide medical care for patients in underdeveloped or underserved regions of the world. In addition to providing traditional patient care including providing vaccinations, health screenings and medication and treating injury and illness, missionary nurses also share their spiritual beliefs with their patients and communities.

Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) Nurse

Read More: What is a Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) Nurse?

Neonatal intensive care (NICU) nurses care for newborn infants suffering from injury, illness or prematurity. Working with physicians improve the health of the hospital’s tiniest patients, neonatal intensive care nurses monitor vital signs, provide medication and nutrients to newborns, maintain accurate patient records and provide education and emotional support to parents and family members.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Read More: What is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner?

Neonatal nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who are specially trained to care for premature and sick newborns in a neonatal intensive care unit. Working alongside physicians and RNs, neonatal NPs administer medications, monitor special equipment such as incubators and ventilators, perform diagnostic tests and provide emotional and educational support to parents and family members.

Nephrology Nurse

Read More: What is a Nephrology Nurse?

Nephrology nurses care for patients who are at risk for, or experiencing, kidney disease. Working in dialysis clinics, physician practices and in transplant organizations, nephrology nurses monitor and educate patients, assist with dialysis treatments and organ transplant surgeries and provide palliative care for patients at the end of their lifespan.

Neuroscience Nurse

Read More: What is a Neuroscience Nurse?

Neuroscience nurses care for patients with diseases and disorders affecting the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis, strokes, epilepsy and spinal cord injuries. Typical tasks for neuroscience nurses include conducting patient assessments and neurological exams, assisting with rehabilitation and physical therapy exercises, helping patients with activities of daily living including dressing and eating, and administering medications.

Nurse Advocate

Read More: What is a Nurse Advocate?

A nurse advocate works on behalf of patients as a liaison between patients and their healthcare teams. They help patients understand their diagnoses and work with physicians and insurance companies to find the best treatment options. They also act as representatives of patients in disputes between patients and doctors.

Nurse Anesthetist

Read More: What is a Nurse Anesthetist?

Nurse anesthetists work closely with anesthesiologists to administer and monitor a patient’s anesthesia and sedation. A critically important role in hospitals, surgical centers, dentist offices and other private practice offices, nurse anesthesiologists care for patients before, during and after sedation, monitoring vital signs and evaluating patients throughout their procedures and during recovery. Considered an advanced practice nursing specialty, nurse anesthetists must have a minimum of a master’s degree in nursing in order to be certified.

Nurse Attorney

Read More: What is a Nurse Attorney?

Nurse attorneys are both registered nurses and licensed lawyers. They use their knowledge of medical practices and the laws to work on medically-related court cases such as medical malpractice lawsuits, either as an attorney or expert witness, help insurance companies resolve claims and disputes, and lobby for changes to healthcare policy and law.

Nurse Educator

Read More: What is a Nurse Educator?

Nurse educators teach and train aspiring nurses on many aspects of nursing practice. Nurse educators may work in a nursing school or in a healthcare facility and may teach in a classroom and/or clinical setting. They develop curriculum, teach nursing students as well as provide continuing education for experienced RNs and provide assessments and feedback to students and healthcare organizations. Nurse educators must have a passion for teaching in addition to strong clinical and communication skills.

Nurse Entrepreneur

Read More: What is a Nurse Entrepreneur?

Nurse entrepreneurs use their professional nursing skills to create and/or advance healthcare-related businesses. These independent thinkers may work as consultants, product developers, educators, and much more. Nurse entrepreneurs must have traditional nursing skills as well as business acumen, often taking care of payroll/accounting, marketing, and the daily operations of running a small business.

Nurse Executive

Read More: What is a Nurse Executive?

Nurse executives hold leadership roles in their organizations and must have strong managerial and business skills in addition to practical nursing experience. Nurse executives often manage staff, which includes designing schedules and conducting professional development and training sessions. They also develop and manage budgets, develop policies and procedures for nursing staff and create and approve patient care plans.

Nurse Manager

Read More: What is a Nurse Manager?

Nurse managers supervise a segment of nursing staff in a hospital or clinic. With fewer patient care responsibilities, nurse managers focus their attentions on ensuring nurses are providing patients with efficient, high quality care. Typical duties include mentoring and supervising nursing staff, making personnel decisions, creating staffing schedules and working with nurse executives and hospital administrators to ensure nurses are following quality and safety policies.

Nurse Practitioner

Read More: What is a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses with master’s degrees or higher who care for patients in a number of inpatient and outpatient settings. Nurse practitioners have many of the same duties as physicians including diagnosing and treating patients and prescribing treatments and some medications. Nurse practitioners may hold particular specialty certifications such as family medicine, pediatrics or women’s health and in some cases NPs may serve as a patient’s primary care provider.

Obstetrics (OB) Nurse

Read More: What is an Obstetrics (OB) Nurse?

Obstetrics and gynecology nurses (OB nurses) work alongside OB/GYN physicians to care for the reproductive health of female patients. They assist physicians with prenatal check-ups, pregnancy screenings and ultrasounds as well as assist with gynecological exams, reproductive cancer screenings, infertility and birth control counseling and procedures.

Occupational Health Nurse

Read More: What is an Occupational Health Nurse?

Occupational health nurses work to ensure the health and safety of employers in any type of work setting, particularly those who work with potentially harmful equipment or substances. These nurses develop and implement workplace safety programs, provide workplace safety training for employees, develop healthy lifestyle and disease prevention programs and document and investigate any workplace injuries as well as treat on-the-job injuries including referral to other healthcare professionals.

Oncology Nurse

Read More: What is an Oncology Nurse?

Oncology nurses care for pediatric and adult patients who have been diagnosed with cancer. Working in a variety of settings including hospitals, cancer centers and private oncology practices, oncology nurses help patients and their care givers understand their diagnosis and treatment plans, manage symptoms during treatment and monitor patient progress and test results.

Ophthalmic Nurse

Read More: What is an Ophthalmic Nurse?

Ophthalmic nurses care for patients with various eye-related diseases, conditions and injuries. Often working in ophthalmologists’ offices and eye care clinics, these nurses conduct vision tests, assist with eye exams, administer eye medications and dilation drops and assist physicians with eye surgeries and procedures.

Organ Procurement Coordinator

Read More: What is an Organ Procurement Coordinator?

Organ procurement coordinators are nurses who assist medical transplant teams with the organ donation process. These nurses work with the donors’ families to coordinate organ harvest from the donor, assist with surgical removal of organs and ensure that the organs are safely and properly transported to the recipients’ medical team. Organ procurement nurses work in hospitals or with organ procurement organizations and transplant centers.

Otorhinolaryngology (ENT) Nurse

Read More: What is an Otorhinolaryngology (ENT) Nurse?

Otorhinolaryngology nurses, also known as ear, nose and throat (ENT) nurses care for patients with diseases, conditions and injuries to the ears, nose, throat, head or neck including ear infections, tonsillitis, allergies, sleep apnea and more. ENT nurses conduct patient assessments, administer medications, assist physicians with treatments and procedures and educate patients about at-home care and prevention of ear, nose and throat conditions and disease.

Pain Management Nurse

Read More: What is a Pain Management Nurse?

Pain management nurses care for patients who are suffering from long-term or chronic pain due to medical conditions or injuries. These nurses use a variety of methods to help their patients manage pain, including medications, exercise, physical therapy, diet and nutrition and stress relief techniques. Pain management nurses may work in rehabilitation centers, sports medicine clinics, hospitals and private practice doctor’s offices.

Palliative Care Nurse

Read More: What is a Palliative Care Nurse?

Palliative care nurses provide comfort and emotional support to patients with chronic and terminal illnesses. They assist patients with pain relief and symptom management, provide emotional support to patients and their families and assist with activities of daily living for patients at the end of their lives. Palliative care nurses work in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospice care facilities and in patient homes.

Parish Nurse

Read More: What is a Parish Nurse?

Parish nurses work at the intersection of the medical field and religious faith, serving patients within their own religious community. While parish nurses generally do not provide clinical patient care, they provide spiritual guidance and support to patients within their faith, provide educational programs and health screenings for a congregation, develop support groups for congregants with a particular health-related issue and assist patients with finding the healthcare services and care they need.

Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse

Read More: What is a Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse?

Pediatric endocrinology nurses work with children and adolescents who have endocrine disorders such as diabetes, hypoglycemia, and problems with the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands. These nurses assist physicians in the treatment of these disorders, providing patient education about treatment and management of their conditions, conducting patient assessments, administering medications and updating treatment plans.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Read More: What is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner?

Pediatric nurse practitioners care for patients from birth to young adulthood, with duties ranging from performing annual physical exams, diagnosing common illnesses and injuries, prescribing medication, caring for children with chronic diseases and working with parents and family members to ensure the proper nutrition, development and health of young patients. Pediatric nurse practitioners work in hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices and may also specialize in a particular area of pediatric medicine.

Pediatric Nurse

Read More: What is a Pediatric Nurse?

Pediatric nurses work with babies, children and adolescents in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, outpatient care centers and pediatricians’ offices. Pediatric nurses assess a patient’s condition, update medical records, administer medications and vaccinations, assist physicians in exams and procedures and educate patients and their parents about healthy habits, nutrition and personal safety. Pediatric nurses may also specialize in a particular area of pediatric medicine, such as oncology, neurology or orthopedics.

Perinatal Nurse

Read More: What is a Perinatal Nurse?

Perinatal nurses work alongside obstetricians and midwives to care for women during pregnancy, the birth process and the initial post-partum period. A major component of the perinatal nurse’s job is patient education – these nurses teach labor and delivery classes, educate patients about how to stay healthy during pregnancy and relaxation and pain management techniques during pregnancy and childbirth. In addition, perinatal nurses assess patients, check vital signs, perform blood and urine tests and may assist physicians and midwives during childbirth.

Perioperative Nurse

Read More: What is a Perioperative Nurse?

Perioperative nurses assist patients who are undergoing surgical procedures. Beginning with patient intake, perioperative nurses ensure the physical and emotional wellbeing of patients who are preparing for surgery by taking vital signs, placing IVs and conducting intake assessments. Following surgery, perioperative nurses monitor patients and assist with their recovery, process patient discharge paperwork and provide patients with education about their healing and recovery.

Plastic Surgery Nurse

Read More: What is a Plastic Surgery Nurse?

Plastic surgery nurses care for patients before, during and following cosmetic surgical procedures such as breast augmentation, liposuction and cosmetic reconstruction surgeries. Working in cosmetic dermatology offices, hospitals, and outpatient surgical centers, plastic surgery nurses prepare operating rooms, monitor patients during and following procedures, provide wound care at the surgical site and educate patients about procedures and their recovery.

Postpartum Nurse

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Postpartum nurses care for women who have just given birth, as well as newborn infants during their first days. Postpartum nurses provide important physical care for women following childbirth, as well as teach them how to recover from childbirth once they have been discharged from the hospital. In addition, postpartum nurses may provide lactation and breastfeeding support and monitor the mother’s emotional wellbeing for signs of postpartum depression.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Read More: What is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?

Psychiatric nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who are specially trained to assess and diagnose psychiatric disorders and mental health issues including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, substance abuse and addiction. They assess and diagnose patients with mental health problems, develop and administer treatment plans, provide psychotherapy and prescribe medications. Psychiatric NPs may work in private medical practices, substance abuse facilities, mental health inpatient and outpatient facilities and public health agencies.

Psychiatric Nurse

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Psychiatric nurses work in mental health facilities, hospitals, doctors’ offices and community health clinics helping to care for patients with mental health issues or substance abuse problems. Typical duties include assessing and monitoring patients, administering medications and coordinating with psychiatrists, physicians and social workers to execute patient care plans.

Public Health Nurse

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Public health nurses provide preventative healthcare, screenings and education services to a particular community of patients. Often working with underserved or at-risk populations, public health nurses typical work for local government organizations such as city and county health departments, non-profit organizations and private clinics. Public health nurses provide screenings and education on public health issues such as disease prevention, sexually transmitted diseases, nutrition, substance abuse and domestic violence.

Radiology Nurse

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Radiology nurses care for patients who are undergoing radiology diagnostics or treatments, including CT scans, MRI, x-rays and radiation therapy. Usually working in hospitals, outpatient care facilities and diagnostic imaging facilities, these nurses prepare patients for their treatments, calibrate and operate radiology machinery, administer contrasting dyes and monitor patients following their procedures.

Rehabilitation Nurse

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Rehabilitation nurses help patients recover physically from injury, improve their physical abilities and live with chronic diseases and conditions that impact their abilities. Rehabilitation nurses work at in-patient and outpatient facilities, as well as in patients’ homes, helping patients gain independence, self-sufficiency and functionality through physical exercises and patient education.

Reproductive Fertility Nurse

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Reproductive nurses, also known as fertility nurses, assist physicians with the care of patients who have problems with fertility and conception. Fertility nurses conduct patient assessments, educate patients about fertility issues and treatments, prepare patients for procedures such as egg harvesting or in vitro fertilization and provide care for women experiencing menopause symptoms. Reproductive nurses often work in specialty fertility clinics and OB/GYN practices.

Research Nurse

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Research nurses assist with medical research projects, working with scientists, physicians, researchers and patients to develop new medical treatments and make important scientific discoveries. Research nurses may study conditions by observing patients, recording data and studying medical texts. Others may assist clinical trials of new medications/treatments by finding prospective study participants, administering medications, performing treatments, and observing and recording responses.

Respiratory Nurse

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Respiratory nurses, also known as pulmonary care nurses, care for patients with respiratory diseases and conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, emphysema and lung cancer. Respiratory nurses work with physicians to treat patients with both acute and chronic conditions, and often perform diagnostic pulmonary tests, monitor patients’ airways and oxygen levels, administer medications and breathing/oxygen treatments and educate patients on lifestyle changes that support the pulmonary system.

Rheumatology Nurse

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Rheumatology nurses specialize in treating patients with a variety of rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and fibromyalgia. These nurses provide symptom management education, administer medications that relieve pain and provide emotional support to patients suffering from chronic rheumatic diseases.

School Nurse

Read More: What is a School Nurse?

School nurses care for students on a school campus, treating school yard injuries, assessing common colds and diseases and alerting parents about their conditions. Experience in working with children is required of this position, which also includes providing health and safety education to both children and caregivers.

Substance Abuse Nurse

Read More: What is a Substance Abuse Nurse?

Substance abuse nurses work in hospitals, mental health facilities and substance abuse treatment centers helping patients who are addicted to narcotics and alcohol. A position that requires a high level of compassion and mental health training, substance abuse nurses perform patient assessments, assist with pain management and provide emotional support and education services to patients in crisis.

Telemetry Nurse

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Telemetry nurses monitor patients’ conditions using EKG machines and other medical devices. Generally working with patients with heart problems and other acute life-threatening conditions, telemetry nurses take and record vital signs, use specialized equipment to monitor patients and alert physicians to changes in a patient’s condition.

Telephone Triage Nurse

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Telephone triage nurses provide assistance and advice to patients over the phone or via video chat. Particularly helpful to patients who need help after business hours or who live in remote locations, telephone triage nurses help assess patients’ conditions and provide advice for home care or referrals to hospital emergency rooms and/or physicians.

Transcultural Nurse

Read More: What is a Transcultural Nurse?

Transcultural nurses provide culturally sensitive nursing care for patients from around the globe, incorporating knowledge of different cultures, religions and customs that impact how a patient receives medical care into their treatment. Transcultural nurses often act as liaisons between a patient and his or her medical team, and provide emotional and spiritual support to a patient in addition to physical care.

Transplant Nurse

Read More: What is a Transplant Nurse?

Transplant nurses care for patients prior to, during and following organ and tissue transplant surgeries including transplant recipients and living donors. These nurses prepare patients for surgeries, assist surgeons with harvesting and transplant procedures and provide critical post-operative care, monitoring for complications like organ rejection and infection and provide patient education once they are discharged.

Trauma Nurse

Read More: What is a Trauma Nurse?

Trauma nurses generally work in hospital emergency rooms and trauma centers, helping to stabilize and monitor patients who have experienced acute injuries and trauma such as car accidents, gunshot wounds and assault. A requirement of working with critically injured patients, trauma nurses must be calm under pressure, good communicators and quick decision makers.

Travel Nurse

Read More: What is a Travel Nurse?

Travel nurses are assigned to fill temporary nursing positions all around the country and internationally in a variety of specialty areas. In some cases, travel nurses are needed to assist in areas of natural disaster or disease outbreak, as well as in remote areas underserved by trained medical staff.

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

Read More: What is a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner?

Women’s health nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who provide primary care to female patients across the lifespan. Often working in OB/GYN practices and women’s healthcare centers, women’s health NPs focus on women’s reproductive health, providing routine exams and diagnostic exams as well as diagnosing and treating common diseases and conditions.

Wound Care Nurse

Read More: What is a Wound Care Nurse?

Wound care nurses specialize in caring for patients’ wounds, ostomies and ulcers and often work in hospitals, wound care centers, nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Typical duties include assessing and monitoring wounds, debriding, cleaning and bandaging wounds, and caring for patients with ostomies, diabetes-related wounds and pressure ulcers. They also provide patient education to help caregivers and patients care for their wounds and prevent infection at home.