Types of Nursing Careers

the different nursing career types

What Are Some of the Different Types of Nursing Careers?

When you graduate from nursing school, there are many different places you can go on to find employment. While the majority of nurses end up working for a hospital or private physician’s office, there are actually dozens of types of employers and nursing positions.

Whether you’ve narrowed your choices down to a select few, or if you’re just beginning to explore your options, here are some of the top nursing positions in the field:

Agency/Contract Nursing: Much like working for a temp agency in business, nurses can sign on with an employer who will place them in available positions for the day, week, month, or long-term. Travel nursing is an extension of this, except nurses travel to their positions (often to busy urban or rural clinics) and remain there for up to a year at a time.

Ambulatory Care Nursing: Also known as outpatient nursing, this profession finds nurses caring for individuals who will only be in the hospital or clinic for a few hours (typically for an outpatient surgical procedure). Much of the care focuses on post-surgical recovery and admissions/discharge.

Anesthesia: Nurse anesthetists can go on to work in hospital setting (as part of the operating room team), or even for dentists, plastic surgeons, and other surgical physicians. This position typically requires advanced education and certification.

Case Management: Nurses who are interested in taking on more responsibility and administrative tasks might consider case management, in which they are responsible for overseeing treatment plans for patients both in and out of the health care setting.

Forensic Nursing: Forensic nurses range from those who provide care to victims of crimes to those who help collect evidence and/or testify on findings. Legal nursing is a similar field, in which nurses straddle the line between the health care and legal systems.

Home Health Care: Nurses who are willing to travel to individual patient homes might enjoy a career in home health care. Providing more autonomy than traditional nursing jobs, these positions require quite a bit of driving time but allow for a real connection with patients and their families.

Hospice Nursing: Hospice nurses are usually a branch of home health care providers. They may spend entire shifts at the bedside of those facing their final days or rotate through a cycle of patients throughout the day, providing care and support to the whole family.

Informatics: If you’re good at computers and technology as well as nursing, nursing informatics is a great choice. From implementing health care information systems to training nurses and other staff on using new technology, this field is one of the best-paid and fastest-growing in healthcare.

Nurse Practitioner: Nurse practitioners have a higher level of education (at least a Master’s degree), and often run their own offices. They may be able to prescribe medication and make diagnoses, but have fewer rights and responsibilities than a medical doctor.

Of course, these are just a few of many different types of nurses, and within each of these types of fields, there are further sub-specialties. If a traditional nursing position isn’t your goal, you have many options to choose from, and all of them come with great pay and great job satisfaction.


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