What are the Different Jobs in Nursing?

M. DePietro

Individuals who are interested in a career in the medical field, which has many options, may want to consider nursing. There are several types of jobs in nursing working both in and out of a hospital.

Geriatric nurses help the elderly.
Geriatric nurses help the elderly.

For individuals who have an associate degree and are licensed registered nurses, there are several jobs within a hospital. Some nurses work in the emergency room dealing with patients that have conditions and illnesses which require urgent medical attention. For people who like a fast-paced environment, this may be a good career choice.

A nurse anesthetist administers anesthesia during surgery.
A nurse anesthetist administers anesthesia during surgery.

Nurses in hospitals also work in the intensive care units with critically ill patients. Other nursing jobs in hospitals include, working in pediatrics, the neonatal intensive care unit, and oncology.

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Trauma nurses work in emergency rooms.
Trauma nurses work in emergency rooms.

Although hospitals employ a large number of nurses, there are many other jobs in nursing that are not in a hospital setting. Insurance companies hire nurses to complete physicals on applicants who apply for insurance polices. Schools may also employ a nurse to treat minor medical problems students may have. Home health agencies and hospice services employ nurses to provide medical care in a patient's home. Hospice nurses provide care for patients with a terminal illness.

Nurse midwives can work in hospitals, birthing centers, private practices or even teach at universities.
Nurse midwives can work in hospitals, birthing centers, private practices or even teach at universities.

Additional jobs in nursing that are outside of a hospital include occupational health nursing. This type of nursing job involves developing programs that help prevent job related illnesses. Nurses may also provide first aid to employees at the work site.

Nurses may work in a hospital setting.
Nurses may work in a hospital setting.

Nurses who have additional education can become nurse anesthetists. This career option requires a masters degree in nursing. Nurse anesthetists work in the operating room administering anesthesia during surgery. Jobs in nursing where additional education is required also include becoming a midwife. Midwives are nurses who provide prenatal care to pregnant women and may deliver a baby instead of a physician.

A neonatal nurse may be responsible for administering fluids and checking vital signs of newborn babies.
A neonatal nurse may be responsible for administering fluids and checking vital signs of newborn babies.

Keep in mind, not all jobs in nursing require direct patient care. Infection control nurses investigate and track certain infectious diseases in hospitals. Part of their job may be to help develop ways to prevent outbreaks. Nurse case managers also do not provide medical care to patients. Instead, their job is to oversee a patient with a serious medical condition and ensure their needs are being met, including obtaining services such as rehabilitation and social service support.

Administering medications is part of a nurse's job.
Administering medications is part of a nurse's job.

Many nurses may start off in one area of nursing and move into another area later in their careers. With all the jobs in nursing that are available, it may help prevent boredom and career burnout.

A career as a licensed practical nurse requires less education and training than a registered nurse.
A career as a licensed practical nurse requires less education and training than a registered nurse.
Some nurses may choose to specialize in pediatrics, and care for children.
Some nurses may choose to specialize in pediatrics, and care for children.

Discussion Comments

robbie21

Something *else* to keep in mind if you are considering a nursing career is that some of the advanced options may be getting harder to get.

Nurses have traditionally been able to get master's degrees in specific areas and then be qualified to work as nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, or a variety of different kinds of nurse practitioners (neonatal, women's health, etc.).

But starting in 2015, that may no longer be the case. At least in some states, becoming an advanced practice nurse (meaning getting access to some of the highest paying jobs in nursing) will require a doctoral degree!

It's called a Doctor of Nursing Practice or DNP - it is not a research degree, but obviously it will require a great deal more schooling. It's just something that people should be aware of when they plan their careers.

dfoster85

Something to keep in mind is that many, if not most, jobs in the nursing field require at least some degree of shift work. Nursing is not often a nine-to-five job!

For instance, when I was in the hospital for a looong time having my first baby, my first nurse went home at seven a.m. and I had a new nurse. She then worked twelve hours (!) and went off at seven p.m. Then guess who I had? The first nurse back again! She had twelve hours off and came right back to work for another twelve-hour overnight shift. Now, they might work just a few shifts a week, but it doesn't sound to me like an easy way to make a living. (On the other hand, I understand that they are paid a "shift differential" that makes those overnight shifts very lucrative.)

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