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Many exciting and rewarding opportunities exist in nursing.

From where they work, to the types of patients they care for, nurses have lots of choices. Flight Nurses and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are two examples. Check out what they do. Then take a look at other opportunities in nursing, listed here from A-Z.


Advanced Nursing Practice

Air Force Nursing

Army Nurse


Photo of NASA Nurse
Read about NASA Nurses

Cardiac (heart) Care Nurse: See Telemetry/Cardiac Care Nurse

Case Manager: Is responsible for patient education/monitoring the patient's well being, identifying resources, and coordinating care for a specific/targeted patient populations. The role of the Case Manager may vary, and in some settings, may be considered an Advanced Practice Role in which some of the care decisions are governed by approved protocols.

Certified Nurse Midwife (delivers babies): This role requires advanced study and certification. The Nurse Midwife provides care for low risk women/family before pregnancy, during pregnancy, through the childbirth experience, and after delivery.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA): This role requires advanced study and certification. It is a highly specialized job.

A CRNA is responsible for interviewing, assessing and evaluating a patient for anesthesia before surgery. The CRNA prepares and administers the anesthesia so that the patient will have a pain free operation. The CRNA constantly monitors the patient's vital signs during surgery and continues to monitor the partient following surgery for a period of time.


Clinic/Office Nurse: Provides patient care in settings such as, physician offices, surgicenters, and medical office buildings. Responsibilities include preparing patients for examinations, wound care, injections, and clerical duties.

Clinical Nurse Educator: Responsible for staff development, program evaluation, in-services, New Graduate Nurse Orientation, staff competencies, Quality Improvement Assessment/Plan Development, and assessment/evaluation of regulatory compliance.

Clinical Nurse Specialist: The clinical nurse specialist is a BRN certified RN who is an advanced practice nurse providing expert clinical practice, research, education, consultation and clinical leadership with an identified patient population. The scope of clinical nurse specialist practice includes patients, nursing personnel and organization systems. Clinical nurse specialists work in direct patient care and indirect patient care activities that affect a broad range of patients.

Critical Care Nurse: (Adult/Pediatric/Neonate) provides care for critically ill patients in a highly technical and ongoing monitoring environment, and supports the family during the crisis. Evaluates the need for resources and recommends referrals as indicated. This role requires specialized training and the ability to assess and recognize subtle changes in a patient's condition.

Dialysis Nurse: Requires additional training and certification. Provides care for patients with acute/chronic kidney (renal) failure. This complex care may require blood product transfusions, monitoring vital signs, laboratory values, and the removal of excess fluid and efforts to normalize and or reduce elevated electrolytes using treatments such as hemodialysis machines, or peritoneal dialysis.



Emergency Department/Trauma Center Nurse: (Certification available) Responsible for the care of patients ranging in all ages, presenting with a benign or an acute critical illness, such as a heart attack. This type of care and environment requires quick thinking, and excellent interviewing and physical assessment skills. RN's in this environment use a triage process to establish priority setting.


Flight Nurse: Delivers patient care on board a helicopter or airplane. Flight nurses provide continuous patient care while in-flight to transport patients from one medical facility to another and from emergency or trauma scenes.

Flight Nurses manage patient care during airlifts and brief medical providers at the receiving medical facility on the patient's status.

Picture courtesy of Karra Jones, RN. Read her story

Forensic Nurse: Requires additional training. This role integrates clinical nursing, law enforcement investigation/interviewing, and counseling skills.

Geriatric Nursing: The practice of healthcare in older adults.

Health Care Educator: Responsible for out-patient health care education, assist and directs patient/family to appropriate resources, literature, audio/video related to disease management, healthy living, health promotion, disease prevention, support groups, and self-care management.

Home Health Nurse: Provides periodic care to patients within their home environment as ordered by the physician. This role requires the ability to work independently.

Hospice Nurse: (Certification by Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association is available) Integrates expert assessment skills, critical thinking, and advance knowledge of comprehensive pain & symptom management to develop a plan care for patients with life limiting and terminal illnesses. The Palliative Care Nurse is a member of an interdisciplinary team whose focus of care considers the patient as a complete system and the patient’s interrelationship to the environment, spiritual, family, and extended family and whose care may be delivered in a variety of setting.

Hospital Staff Nurse Unit Specialties:

Industrial Health Nurse

Information Technology/ Web Based/Informatics: Technology is a major aspect of hospital operations and patient care. Nurses are increasingly using more sophisticated equipment and a fundamental knowledge base in computer use is an expected requirement. By being involved in software development, program analyst, and system management the Nurse Informatist will be in a position to bridge the gap between clinical information and computer programmers.


Maternity Nurse: Provides care and education for women/family during pregnancy and prepares and supports the family for the childbirth experience.

Medical Surgical Nurse: Specializes in the care of patients admitted with non-surgical and surgical conditions. Examples of a non- surgical and surgical condition are as follows: non-surgical-stroke, surgical condition-appendectomy.

Military Nurse: Provides care to military personnel and their families within the United States, U. S. Territories, and International Military Bases.

Navy Nursing

Nurse Administrator/Executive: Assumes a role in developing the strategic plan, forecasting, and budgetary process for an organization. Responsible for aligning the nursing department goals with those described in the mission and vision of the organization. The Nurse Executive has a global view.

Nurse Manager/Department Leader/Unit Leader: is responsible for the day to day operations of a specific nursing unit, such as staffing, developing and monitoring the unit budget, patient outcomes, and staff development.

Nurse Practitioner: This role requires advanced study and certification. The Nurse Practitioner has advanced skills and knowledge in performing physical and psychological patient assessment. Expert clinical interviewing skills facilitates data collection, and accurate problem labeling, orders diagnostic exams, prescribes medication, and has a practice or caseload.

Nurse Researcher: Contributes to the Science of Nursing, sometimes collaborating with other disciplines such as medicine, social science, or pharmacy, collects clinical data though the use of scientific methods, analyzes the results and draws a conclusion/recommendation.

Office Nurse

Occupational/Industrial Health Nurse: Provides direct care to employees. Manages worker's compensation records, monitors compliance to Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) standards/requirements. Assess work place environments to determine any potential health or safety concerns.

Oncology Nurse: Specializes in the care for patients/family diagnosed with cancer. Promotes a caring and supportive environment, administers chemotherapy, and manages the side effects. Conducts on-going assessment of needs and educational deficits.

Operating Room/Circulating Nurse: (Certification is available) Provides care for a patient immediately before and during a surgical procedure. Works closely with the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist to monitor the patient's vital signs, warmth and safe positioning. Prepares the operating room with supplies, equipment, and instruments, and serves as the communication liaison to family, other departments, and members of the operating team.

Orthopedic Nurse: Manages the care of patients before and after surgery involving the muscular skeletal system such as total hip replacement, arthroscopy, total knee replacement, or spine surgery. Monitors traction, splint/cast care, and other orthopedic equipment.

Palliative Care Nurse: (Certification by Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association is available) Integrates expert assessment skills, critical thinking, and advance knowledge of comprehensive pain & symptom management to develop a plan care for patients with life limiting and terminal illnesses. The Palliative Care Nurse is a member of an interdisciplinary team whose focus of care considers the patient as a complete system and the patient’s interrelationship to the environment, spiritual, family, and extended family and whose care may be delivered in a variety of setting.

Peace Corps: Check out what the Peace Corps has to offer.

Pediatric Nurses: Provides care for infants, toddlers, children, teens, and encourages the involvement of parents/family. The nurse develops a plan of care to meet the specific growth and development and cultural needs of the patient and family. The pediatric nurse may work in a variety of settings and or may have specialized training. For example, a setting may be a well baby or teen clinic and a specialty may be pediatric critical care.

Post Anesthesia Care Unit/Recovery Room Nurse: Provides care for the patient immediately following an anesthesia induced surgical procedure. This period of monitoring and observation is critical. This very exciting environment is fast paced and requires quick responses. The patient remains in this area until they are able to verbally respond and move their extremities.

Pregnant Women

Public Health Nurse/Community Nurse: Care decisions are focused on the community at large. The goal is to improve the overall health of the community. Disease prevention, health promotion, wellness/health education are chief concerns.

Recovery Room Nurse

School Nurse: Develops and supports age specific programs for a student body. Serves as a resource and liaison to parents, teachers, and students, Provides limited care on site/campuses for students. Maintains immunization/health records and provides a forum and supportive environment to discuss concerns and provides information on healthcare or potentially sensitive issues.


Telemetry/Cardiac Care Nurse: Provides care for patients requiring special heart monitoring equipment, and the administration of heart medications.

Travel Nurse: Negotiates and accepts temporary patient care assignments with a travel nurse agency/registry within the United States or internationally.

Also see:

Wound Care Specialist/Enterostomal Therapy Nurse: This role requires special training and certification. This nurse specializes in the prevention of pressure ulcers and the management of patients with wounds, ostomies (openings that allow for alternate methods of body waste elimination).

World Health Organization:

Writers/Authors/Reporters: Roles may vary, magazine editor, author of health care education and technical training books, journal writing, or Multimedia Reporter.