Over 20 Different Types of Nurses

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There are over 20 different types of nursing careers. Most nursing careers require an RN license and most employers prefer nurses have their BSN degree. View all of the different types of nurses, workplace environments, job responsibilities, and best degrees for each.

There are over 20 different types of nurses. Most of these nursing careers require, at a minimum, an RN license, and many employers hiring these types of nurses are looking for Registered Nurses that have their BSN. Studies have shown that BSN-prepared nurses help decrease mortality rates while providing more complete care for patients. If you already have your RN license, now is a great time to consider your BSN through an Online RN to BSN program.

Why are there so many types of nurses?
Nursing is a career path that cannot be defined on its own. Depending on the setting, nurses can be completely different asset with varying responsibilities. Our nursing subject matter experts have developed a list of potential nursing careers for those interested to browse. When choosing the right nursing career, it is vital to consider all of the different options available and what services they provide to the patients in which they serve.

Top Types of Nurses

Click on one of the nurse careers to jump to the overview and see important detail about the career path, such as job responsibilities, care environment, and the type of degree you should have for each career.

Oncology Nurse

Workplace: Hospital, Cancer Center
Responsibilities: Administer chemotherapy, support
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does an Oncology Nurse Do?
An oncology nurse is the leading source of support for patients with cancer or those that are at risk for the disease. Oncology nurses work in a very structured setting in which they are responsible for monitoring and reporting of patients’ physical conditions, helping with the administering of chemotherapy, and supporting patients and families that are coping with this detrimental condition. This sector of nursing calls on nurses with the strength and confidence to help those suffering with cancer in a caring and proactive way.

Pediatric Nurse

Workplace: Hospitcal, Health Clinics
Responsibilities: Take vitals, assist
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Pediatric Nurse Do?
Working hand-in-hand with pediatric doctors and nurse practitioners, pediatric nurses are the front lines of child healthcare clinics. Pediatric nurses are not only found in clinics, though. These nurses are found in numbers in hospitals and public health authorities alike. In this line of work, professionals are responsible for taking vital signs, ordering lab tests, and assisting with in-office procedures for children. Since these nurses work with the most vulnerable of the health care community, they should strive to be caring and compassionate while using a delicate hand during a normal work day.

Geriatric Nurse

Workplace: Senior Care Facility, Hospitals
Responsibilities: Administer medicine, work with elderly patients
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Geriatric Nurse Do?
Geriatric nurses specialize in the care of aging adults. The primary focus of nurses in this specialty is preventing accidents and treating illnesses in older adults. Through medical programs and education, geriatric nurses can help their patients with conserving independence through the use of technologies and home medical devices that promote self-dependence. Nurses working in this field are typically found in retirement homes, hospitals, or hospice centers. Due to the delicate nature of this position, nurses in this field receive training that caters to the need for vigilance and tenderness while working with the aging population.

Home Health Nurse

Workplace: Patients’ Homes
Responsibilities: Assist with every day health care in the home of a patient
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Nurse Do?
Patients that are homebound, recovering from surgery, or suffering from a debilitating illness or injury rely on home health nurses to assist them with every day care. Home health nurses usually have a clientele of patients that must be visited in their home setting on a regular basis. Nurses administer tests, provide minor treatments, and ensure the patient is cared for properly while out of the hospital. These professionals typically work for independent home health agencies, but can be contracted by local hospitals and surgical centers.

Perinatal Nurse

Workplace: Hospitals, Birth Centers
Responsibilities: Prenatal coaching, mother care
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Nurse Do?
Perinatal nurses are tasked with caring for pregnant women before, during, and after childbirth. There is a wide range of job responsibilities included with this career path, including diagnostic and lab tests, prenatal coaching, and birth assistance. As a perinatal nurse, professionals must be able to work in a sometimes fast-paced working environment and have the problem solving skills to match the demand. Nurses interested in this field should be caring and compassionate with a warm heart towards the miracle of childbirth.

School Nurse

Workplace: Schools
Responsibilities: Assess sick kids, quickly treat minor accidents or medical issues in schools
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Nurse Do?
School nurses are required in all K-12 schools. In a setting that includes hundreds of children, someone must always be on duty to assist with unexpected illness and injuries. Nurses in this field work with children in an effort to quickly assess and treat minor medical issues that occur during normal school hours. Not only do these nurses assist with illness and injuries, but they are also responsible for developing sickness and disease prevention plans and providing education on proper hygiene during and after school hours.

Emergency Room Nurse

Workplace: Hospitals, Emergency Rooms, Critical Care Centers
Responsibilities: Treat sudden illness or injury
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Nurse Do?
Sometimes referred to as critical care nurses, emergency room nurses work in busy emergency or critical care centers alongside doctors and other nurses in an attempt to treat people with sudden serious illness or injury. This job title typically requires nurses to work longer than normal shifts and is demanding. The ability to make quick decisions and share a workspace with others is something that nurses interested in this field should consider. The work is very rewarding but requires extreme focus and determination from those involved.

Psychiatric Nurse

Workplace: Psychiatric Facilities, Hospitals
Responsibilities: Take vitals, administer medication
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Nurse Do?
In psychiatric hospitals and facilities, psychiatric nurses assist psychiatric doctors and staff with medical assessments of patients. Taking vital signs, administering medications, and minor treatments are just a few of the many responsibilities of psychiatric nurses across the United States. Considering the delicacy of the patients in this field, it is important that nurses have a very understanding and patient personality. There are many similarities between medical nurses and psychiatric nurses, but graduates interested in this line of work should consider the differences when deciding if this is the right field for them.

Forensic Nurse

Workplace: Crime Scenes, Forensic Crime Centers
Responsibilities: Medical assessments, crime assessments, medical opinions
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Nurse Do?
Forensic nursing is a relatively new field in the nursing genre. This field introduces healthcare to law in a way that provides support to court cases and open criminal investigations. As forensic nurses, individuals may assist with medical assessments of victims or perpetrators involved in crimes, assessment of injuries in relationship to crimes, and providing expert opinions in a legal setting. This is a very interesting field that is great for individuals that have a desire to experience nursing but also have a profound interest in law enforcement as well.

Burn Care Nurse

Workplace: Hospitals, Emergency Rooms
Responsibilities: Burn care management, wound management and care
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Nurse Do?
There are many specialty fields in nursing that focus on various illness and injuries. One specialty that deals directly with patients with serious skin damage from fires, chemical spills, or accidents is burn care nursing. Many hospitals and clinic have a specific unit for individuals with these types of injuries, in which nurses are staffed to assist with the inflow of patients. Burn care nurses are trained to treat patients that have suffered varying stages of burns. Through specific training, burn care nurses assist with the treatment, wound management, care, and rehabilitation of those injured through house fires, chemical fires, or any other incident that results in minor to serious burns.

Ambulatory Care Nurse

Workplace: Outpatient facilities
Responsibilities: Treatment for non urgent injuries or illness
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Nurse Do?
Some of the most commonly found nurses in society are ambulatory care nurses. These nurses usually work in an outpatient healthcare facility that provides care to the general public. Ambulatory care nurses assist patients with getting treatment for minor or moderate injuries or illnesses that do not require a long hospital stay. In a single day, ambulatory nurses may see many patients and take part in diagnostic testing, lab tests, minor medical procedures, and taking vital signs for a large variety of ailments.

Flight Nurse

Workplace: Airplanes, Helicopters, or other aircraft
Responsibilities: On-flight care, transportation of patients
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Nurse Do?
Flight nursing is one of the most interesting fields of nursing. Nurses in this specialty are highly trained to provide critical, pre-hospital care in the events of emergency evacuations or air-rescue missions. Flight nurses can be found alongside flight paramedics in medical evacuation air craft of varying sizes and types. Not only can flight nurses be a part of the emergency medical team, but they can also be contracted by airlines, medical transport services, and private individuals as a vital asset in transporting patients via air to different medical facilities.

Holistic Nurse

Workplace: Private Practice
Responsibilities: Holistic health care
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Nurse Do?
Holistic nurses take a different approach to treating patients than standard medical nurses. Holistic nurses believe that treating all aspects of a person is more effective than treating individual ailments solely. By using alternative medical practices such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, or hydrotherapy, holistic nurses provide a variety of traditional treatment options in lieu of new-age medicinal treatments. Holistic nurses do not totally forbid the use of medications in their practice, but look for more all-encompassing methods of treatment before settling for medications.

Hospice Nurse

Workplace: Hospice Facilities, Hospitals
Responsibilities: Patient and family support and care
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Nurse Do?
Hospice nurses provide a very important service to patients that are nearing the end of their lives. As a hospice nurse, professionals do not focus on finding cures or improving conditions. Nurses in this field work hard to ensure that patients in hospice care centers or those at home feel comfortable in their final days as well as provide pain relief therapies to help with the journey. This field is not only about treatment of ill patients, but also about providing support to patients and their families in their most important times of need.

Informatics Nurse

Workplace: Hospitals, Private Practice Healthcare Facilities
Responsibilities: Extrapolate data for premium healthcare with technology
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Nurse Do?
One aspect of the nursing field that is often overlooked by prospects is the communication and data side of operations. Informatics nurses blend both technology and nursing into a meaningful career that assists hospitals and medical centers with sending and receiving data through the use of technology. Informatics nurses research medical related data from trials and tests in their facilities, help patients use technology to promote their individual health, and develop systems for storage and analysis that can higher the success change of medical research. With the growth in technology in the medical field, informatics nurses are likely to become a sought after asset for medical facilities in the future.

Labor and Delivery Nurse

Workplace: Hospitals, Birth Centers
Responsibilities: Assist with labor and delivery
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Nurse Do?
Like perinatal nurses, labor and delivery nurses are hands on during the birth process. This field sets itself apart from the other in that is focuses specifically on the patient during the labor and delivery process. Nurses in this sector of nursing with assist patients with proper breathing techniques, coach mothers during the labor process, and provide vital assistance to doctors. Labor and delivery nurses are also responsible for treatment and monitoring of a newborn in the minutes after birth, which requires a very delicate hand and ample training.

Medical/Surgical Nurse

Workplace: Hospitals, Surgical Centers
Responsibilities: Assist with surgical processes
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Nurse Do?
As one of the largest nursing specialties in the country, medical surgical nursing is an important field that touches of various aspects of nursing all at once. People that are recovering from acute illnesses or injuries in hospitals typically receive treatment from medical surgical nurses. Nurses in this profession are required to administer a large variety of treatments, while sometimes having many patients to care for at a time. Dressing wounds, administering medicine, and keeping check on vitals are a large portion of what professionals in this field may be responsible for. Considering how variable a day’s inflow can be, nurses may also be responsible for immediate medical care and critical thinking in order to assist with patients with undiscovered illnesses. Medical surgical nurses are most commonly found in inpatient facilities that treat patients that require a short to lengthy hospital stay.

Occupational Health Nurse

Workplace: Hospitals, Medical Clinics
Responsibilities: Risk assessment, health monitoring and testing
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Nurse Do?
Occupational health nurses are found in companies and businesses that require medial overseeing for employees during working hours. Nurses in this field are responsible for providing health education to employees and monitoring the overall health of the employee population. In businesses that are subjected to health hazards, occupational health nurses assist with providing health plans and risk assessments prior to the introduction of hazards to susceptible employees. Occupational health nurses are an asset to companies that wish to avoid subjecting their employees to potentially harmful environments that could result in personal harm.

Telephone Triage Nurse

Workplace: Hospitals, Medical Clinics, Remote
Responsibilities: Analysis and problem solving to find the best care response
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Nurse Do?
For situations that require a quick response, telephone triage nurses are a great solution. Through the use of telephone services, these nurses are trained to answer health-related questions in an effort to assess the severity of situations and properly refer patients to the right facilities. There is a wide variety of potential clientele in this field, which can demand a diverse set of skills from a telephone triage nurse. It is important that nurses in this field have great analysis and problem solving skills, so that patients can get accurate information and relevant responses. The information given by the patient helps nurses to finding the best suited response, which can have potentially life-saving effects. There are various entities that provide services like this one to the public, including hospitals and medical clinics.

Veteran’s Affairs Nurse

Workplace: VA Centers
Responsibilities: Administer medication and care of veterans
Typical Degree: BSN with a RN license
What Does a Nurse Do?
There are numerous medical facilities across the U.S. that provide medical services to military veterans. Within these hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation centers, veteran’s affair nurses work hard to ensure that veteran’s receive proper care and assistance throughout their lifetime. These nurses provide the same basic services such as administering medication, discussing and charting ailments, and providing minor medical procedures, but are also tasked with helping veterans with their emotional health. Since veterans of war may be subject to a wide variety of past injuries such as amputations or mental illness, nurses in this field are responsible for assisting patients with living independent lives and maintaining dignity.