Nursing Career Choices

Mary Gormandy White
Nursing Career Options
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Are you interested in learning about the various nursing career choices? When thinking about the nursing profession, most people focus on Registered Nurse (RN) and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) positions. However, there are many specialized types of of nursing occupations.

Examples of Popular Nursing Career Choices

Staff Nurses

Staff nurse jobs are available in inpatient settings for both RNs and LPNs. Staff nurses carry out care plans by prescribed physicians in hospital and nursing home settings. In some cases, they are assigned to work with a specific group of patients, such as cardiac or pediatric nurses. In other situations staff nurses are assigned to patients by floor or ward, where they may work with patients who have a variety of conditions.

Ambulatory Nurses

Ambulatory nurses, both LPNs and RNs, work in outpatient settings, such as doctor's offices, clinics, and outpatient surgery centers. They take patient medical histories, provide education to patients and their families, administer injections, and other clinical services.

Trauma Nurses

Nurses who specialize in working with patients in high-stress life or death urgent care situations are referred to as trauma nurses. They typically work in emergency room settings or on emergency medical service helicopters.

Home Health Nurses

Nurses who provide in-home care to patients are referred to as home health nurses. They work for home health agencies and provide care to people who are receiving medical care in their own homes, such as individuals who are recovering from injuries or who are in hospice care.

Nurse Managers

Nurses who have outstanding supervisory abilities as in addition to strong clinical skills are often promoted to positions as nurse managers. Their primary responsibility shifts from a clinical focus to a managerial role, overseeing other nurses and the nursing function in the facilities where they work.

Advanced Practice Nursing Career Options

Certified Nurse Midwife

Registered nurses with an interest in obstetrics can enroll in a graduate level program and earn the Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) advanced practice nursing credential. CNMs provide prenatal care to expectant mothers, deliver babies, and provide after-delivery care to new mothers whose circumstances do not require services from medical doctor.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are advanced practice nurses who are able to administer anesthesia for all types of surgery. Registered Nurses must complete a specialized Master's degree program in order to earn this designation.

Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who see patients directly, working under the supervision of a physician. They are able to perform various diagnostic and preventive medicine functions, as well as write prescriptions. Extensive graduate level study is required to become a nurse practitioner.

Nursing Career Preparation

In order to become a nurse, you will need to complete an approved program of study, as well as pass a nursing exam. The fastest path to a nursing career is to become an LPN, which typically takes eighteen months of full time study. RN programs typically require three years to complete. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BS) and RN programs take four years or longer to complete. Individual who wish to become advanced practice nurses must complete graduate school, which can several additional years of study.

The length of time you will need to spend in school will depend on the types of nursing career choices you want to pursue and the licensure requirements in your state. In most states, nurses are also required to earn continuing education credits on an ongoing basis to maintain certification. To learn about specific education and credential requirements, contact the Board of Nursing in the state(s) where you want to work.

Nursing Career Choices