What Nursing Specialties Can You Work in With a Nursing Degree?

Working as a nurse does not look the same for everyone holding this position. One nurse’s workday can look very different from another’s. That’s because there are so many specialties within this career. The nursing specialty you choose will determine the focus of the medical care you provide and the duties you carry out on a daily basis. Your specialty can also determine the setting where you work, such as a hospital, school or nursing home.

You have a range of nursing specialties open to you, some of which put you in direct contact with patients while others put you in administrative roles. If you’re interested in a certain specialty, it’s smart to check on the qualifications required. For some specialties, you’ll need higher qualifications.

There may be more options in the nursing field than you would expect. Consider these nursing specialties: 

Pediatric Nurse

If you like children, you might enjoy working as a pediatric nurse. This nursing specialty has you work with children throughout childhood and adolescence, helping promote general health and manage health conditions or disabilities. 

Senior Care

On the other end of the spectrum, you could work with an aging population. Within this area, you can further specialize to work at a nursing home or assisted living facility, in home health visiting patients within their private residences, or as a hospice nurse who provides comfort and care to people nearing the end of the life.

Service Nurses

Instead of working in a traditional medical environment, you could carry out some form of service or charitable nursing. This can take different forms. You could be a military nurse, a missionary nurse or a parish nurse. Or you could work as a nurse or within another role at a non-profit organization or for a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that promotes a cause, such as social justice.

Travel Nurse

There are a few ways you can travel while carrying out your nursing role. One option is to become a traveling nurse who performs short-term work assignments in different locations to fill staffing needs in those areas. It’s also possible to be an international nurse who works abroad through a recruitment agency. Other options include working as a nurse on a cruise ship or at a camp.

Research Nurse

Not all nurses work directly with patients. Instead, you could perform public health research on community health needs and health threats, epidemics research on disease outbreaks, or bioterrorism research to protect from bioterrorist attacks, as a few examples. There is also pharmaceutical and medical research as an option for a research nurse.

School Nurses

These nurses can work in a variety of school environments. You have the option to work for elementary or high schools with young patients. Or you could work at a university by providing care in a university hospital or college clinic, or by working as a nursing mentor who guides nursing students or as a nursing educator.

Case Managers

These nurses handle patient cases. In this role, you could be managing plans of care, following insurance procedures and admitting and discharging patients.

Nurse Midwife

You have the chance to provide prenatal care and help women through labor and delivery as a nurse midwife. For this role, you need to be an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse with special credentials in midwifery.

Administrative Nurses

Some nurses work with paperwork more than with patients, which some people prefer. You could work as an administrator or consultant for an insurance firm, as a nurse administrator for a hospital or medical department, as a licensed nursing facility administrator at a long-term care facility or in a similar role.

Emergency Nurse

As this type of nurse, you help people who come to the emergency room requiring immediate care. You would quickly assess the situation and provide care for problems such as drug overdoses, injuries and trauma. Similar specialties include acute care nursing and critical care nursing.

Health Coach

Nurses can transition into other roles that promote health and wellness. You could become a health coach who helps people change their lifestyle and work toward a health goal. Another option is to work as a nutrition and fitness nurse, which is a specialty that combines disease management with dietary and exercise planning. In this role, you could work with people recovering from a cardiovascular event or another health problem.

This list shows you a sample of the many career options specialization can provide for a nurse. As you can see, becoming a nurse opens many doors that can help you grow throughout your career.