The different nursing careers available offer nurses the ability to work in a variety of settings and roles. It is a constantly changing field.
Registered Nurses (RNs) can either work at the bedside with the sickest patients or care for those who are mostly healthy.
They can help patients directly or indirectly by collaborating with the interdisciplinary team or others involved in healthcare.
There is a nursing specialty for every temperament and personality.
A working environment’s pace can be fast and full of adrenaline, slow and full of time to bond with patients and families, or somewhere in between.
RNs may be under a lot of pressure to do everything perfectly and quickly with extremely high stakes, or they may work in a more relaxed environment with mostly “well” patients who want to chat while they wait for their physician’s appointment.
RNs can work with people of all ages and demographics, from very sick premature newborns to the elderly nearing the end of their lives, from school children needing check-ups to adults undergoing elective plastic surgery.
The possibilities are nearly limitless. Here are a few nursing careers.
1. Burn Care Nurse
Burn care nurses provide medical attention to patients who have suffered physical injuries as a result of burns.
This includes stabilizing acutely burned patients right away, cleaning and dressing burn wounds, and assisting with pain management and rehabilitation.
Burn care nurses, who frequently work in hospitals’ intensive care units (ICUs) or burn care units (BCUs), also play an important role in assessing a patient’s emotional and psychological well-being and providing compassionate care to patients as they recover physically and emotionally from their injuries.
2. Oncology Nursing
Oncology nursing is also known as Hematology/Oncology or ‘Heme/Onc’ nursing.
These nurses are experts in caring for people who have been diagnosed with a blood cancer (such as leukemia) or a solid cancer (like a tumor).
Oncology nurses are the first line of communication, care, and education for patients as they navigate a frightening and often difficult path to remission.
The Oncology nurse works with both adult and pediatric patients and families to track results and studies, inform about next steps, and manage symptoms throughout treatment.
3. Nurse Case Managers
Over the course of an illness, nurse case managers collaborate with patients and their medical teams to develop, coordinate, and implement comprehensive medical care plans.
Case management nurses coordinate doctor’s appointments and surgeries, educate patients and caregivers on treatment options, and work in a variety of healthcare settings, from hospitals and clinics to hospice facilities and nursing homes.
It is a particularly rewarding area of nursing because it allows RNs to form long-term relationships with their patients.
4. Camp Nurses
In both residential and day camps, camp nurses care for campers and staff. Camp nurses must have excellent clinical and managerial skills because they frequently work alone or independently.
Pre-camp health assessments are completed by camp nurses, who treat everything from colds to bug bites to allergies.
RNs with a background in pediatrics, emergency care, or trauma are best suited for this role, as caring for children with both urgent and non-urgent medical needs is a significant part of the job.
5. Chief Nursing Officers
Chief Nursing Officers (CNOs) are senior nursing executives who serve as administrative leaders in healthcare organizations.
They coordinate and supervise nursing department activities while also facilitating operations and the patient care experience.
This highly managerial position necessitates extensive nursing experience as well as an advanced nursing degree such as an MSN or DNP, often in conjunction with an MHA or MBA.
6. Correctional Nurses
Correctional nurses are an important member of the corrections team. Corrections nurses are the front-line response for patient/offender healthcare needs, which is a demanding role.
The correctional nurse is concerned for patient health as well as the overall safety and security of themselves, their fellow corrections employees, inmates, and the general community, despite extensive training that spans triage and medical/surgical, as well as a holistic approach to treating the patient – but within the strict boundaries of the penal system.
7. Developmental Nurses
Developmental Nurses work with patients and their facilities to understand a patient’s immediate and lifelong abilities, physical, cognitive, social, and emotional traits associated with developmental disabilities, as well as any other special needs or assistive devices that may be required.
Many Developmental Disability nurses are staunch supporters of patient rights and the Americans With Disabilities Act.
8. Dermatology Nurses
Dermatology nurses care for and treat patients suffering from skin conditions and diseases such as psoriasis, skin cancer, and acne.
Dermatology nurses, in addition to assisting with skin examinations, also perform many cosmetic dermatology treatments such as chemical peels.
As skin cancer rates in the United States rise, many dermatology nurses are focusing on early detection, treatment, and patient education on how to prevent skin cancer. Dermatology nurses have a wide range of career options in a diverse field.
9. Emergency Room Nurses
Nurses in the ER, also known as the “Emergency Room,” are efficient, effective, and calm.
Their presences and skills are both general – because the Emergency Room admits all types of patients with all types of trauma – and highly specialized in order to assess, triage, and care for those who have been victims of a sudden accident or illness.
The ER nurse is responsible for continuously prioritizing the needs of the patients in the emergency ward as doctors move to treat, admit, or refer to ancillary care, with a varied intake that varies by day and sometimes by hour.
ER nurses are equal parts strong stomach, efficient pace, and assertive personality. They are leaders with a strong ethical sense and calm demeanor.
10. Obstetrics Nurses
Obstetrics (OB) nurses provide care to women before, during, and after pregnancy and childbirth. They help an OB/GYN doctor with prenatal checkups, ultrasounds, and screenings, and they can also assist with childbirth.
They also help with other women’s health issues like birth control information, cancer screenings, and infertility.
Additionally, they typically work in OB/GYN physician offices, hospital maternity wards, or birthing centers, but they can also work in areas such as urgent care.
11. Pain Management Nurses
Pain management nurses are registered nurses who help patients suffering from chronic pain as a result of illness or injury.
They use a variety of techniques to accomplish this, including medications, stress relief techniques, exercise/diet changes, and others.
They must constantly assess and reassess patients to ensure that they are comfortable and well-cared for without endangering them by over-medicating, for example.
Pain management nurses may work in hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation facilities, sports medicine centers, and other settings where patients seek relief from pain.
12. Infection Control Nurses
Infection control nurses work to keep infectious agents like viruses and bacteria from spreading. They work tirelessly in hospitals and other healthcare settings to prevent and control infectious outbreaks.
They create plans, educate and train staff, and implement infection control practices to reduce infection rates within a facility and prevent outbreaks.
13. Flight Nurses
Flight nurses, also known as transport nurses, provide critical care to patients on board an aircraft en route to a hospital or medical facility, such as a helicopter or rescue flight.
To keep patients stable until arrival, they assess patients, administer first aid, perform resuscitation or ventilation procedures, and monitor vital signs.
They also help patients get into and out of the aircraft and ensure that they are safely secured once onboard.
When the flight nurses arrive at the hospital, they update the onsite medical staff to ensure a smooth hand-off.
14. Labor and Delivery Nurse
During the childbirth process, the Labor and Delivery (L&D) RN ensures the safety of both mother and baby.
They collaborate with the interdisciplinary team to bring life into the world safely.
The L&D nurse must be quick to think and act while constantly assessing emergencies and initiating appropriate interventions.
This RN may help with cesarean sections, initiate and monitor fetal heart rates, monitor and assist with epidurals, induce labor, and ultimately work to find the safest and most effective methods of childbirth.
15. Parish Nurses
Parish nurses, also known as faith community nurses, are registered nurses who work in a parish or other faith community to promote health and wellness by integrating faith and healing.
Parish nurses must have a strong foundation in and knowledge of their particular faith, in addition to the necessary medical training.
Also, parish nurses may be in charge of providing spiritual support to patients, mentoring volunteers or other parish members, educating patients on the importance of faith in relation to health and wellness, and establishing support groups.
They can work in churches, hospitals, and social service agencies, among other places.
16. Intensive Care Nurses
Intensive care nurses, also known as ‘Critical Care’ nurses or simply ICU nurses, are a highly trained and specialized subset of the nursing profession.
With a low patient-to-nurse ratio, the ICU nurse is in charge of the individual tasks and subtasks involved in caring for a patient and stabilizing their condition.
Intensive care nurses frequently work with patients recovering from surgery, post-trauma, during complicated stages of disease, and those transitioning to end-of-life care measures. ICU nurses can specialize by patient population or by disease.
17. Healthcare Manager
Healthcare managers oversee the business side of health organizations, such as budgets, policies, and facility management.
This position of leadership necessitates a high level of interpersonal communication as well as administrative acumen.
Positions in healthcare management can range from junior to senior executive. A background in nursing or clinical practice is advantageous, but not required, for this position.
18. Healthcare Administrators
Healthcare administrators are in charge of high-level management in healthcare organizations and facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, private practices, and others.
They may be in charge of personnel, budgets, payroll, recruiting and training, and/or working with electronic health records and health information.
A nursing or clinical practice background is advantageous, but not required, for this position.
19. Managed Care Nurses
Managed care nurses assess patients’ healthcare needs and connect them to quality, cost-effective healthcare providers using specialized knowledge of the managed care system.
Managed care nurses frequently work with the elderly and low-income individuals who rely on government-funded healthcare assistance programs such as Medicare and Medicaid to educate them on the importance of preventative healthcare and to ensure patients receive the consistent care they require while keeping costs low for patients and insurance companies.
20. Long Term Care Nurses
Long-term care nurses care for patients who require long-term care, such as the elderly, those with disabilities, and those with chronic illnesses.
Long-term care nurses assist their patients in daily activities such as feeding, dressing, and bathing, in addition to administering medication, performing vital sign checks, and providing therapeutic treatments.
They also provide emotional support and education to patients and their loved ones.
As the preceding list indicates, nursing is a vastly diverse field that extends far beyond the traditional hospital circuit.
It is not uncommon for new nurses and nursing students to discover fields they had no idea existed.
Nursing can be a very rewarding career in both personal and professional terms. It is, however, strictly regulated.
States and employers have stringent training requirements that govern not only whether or not nurses can practice, but also what types of duties they can perform.
Nursing is a hands-on profession by definition.