5 Types of Nursing Jobs

Nurse speaking with man sitting on hospital bed and woman sitting beside bed in hospital room

Once you have made the decision to enter the health care field and become a registered nurse (RN), it is important to narrow down which type of nurse you would like to be. There are distinct types of nursing jobs, any of which you could successfully pursue with an accredited nursing degree and appropriate state licensure. Consider speaking with an academic advisor if you are not sure exactly where your career ambitions lie.

1. Direct Patient Care: Registered Nurse

As a registered nurse, there are many “direct patient care” job options within the community. These roles include bedside nursing in the hospital, patient care within a private practice office, telehealth experiences in collaboration with advanced providers/physicians and much more. Patient education is a key component and critical responsibility of all nurses. It promotes patient wellness and preventative care, which is reflected in patient outcomes.

Registered nurses are the main point of contact for patients. They also frequently work with family members, particularly family caregivers who are providing assistance to loved ones with serious or chronic health conditions. It is common for RNs to provide emotional support, advocacy and education to patients who are having difficulty in their situation. The role of the nurse requires compassion, cultural awareness and sensitivity, empathy and patience. These are just a few of the qualities and attributes in patient care.

2. Registered Nurses: Leaders and Educators

Registered nurses are trained to advance into leadership and administrative roles. To be successful within these roles, it is helpful to have strengths in prioritizing, collaboration, empowering others and teamwork. Some common roles and responsibilities of RNs within leadership and/or administrative roles may include the following:

  • Managers, directors and supervisors
  • Managing budgetary needs
  • Project management
  • Integrating new policies and procedures

3. Nurse Anesthetist

Another nursing specialty to consider is the role of nurse anesthetist. A certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) is an advanced practice role in the nursing profession. The primary responsibility of a CRNA is to deliver anesthesia to patients. They must ensure the safety and well-being of patients before, during and after procedures.

After administering anesthesia, a CRNA is responsible for closely monitoring the patient’s vital signs and being ready to act if a patient exhibits signs of distress or anesthesia-related complications. The educational preparation for this role provides the CRNA the assessment, treatment and management skills needed to be successful in practice.

4. Nurse Midwife

If you enjoy the thought of helping new life enter the world, perhaps a career as a nurse midwife would be right for you. A certified nurse midwife (CNM) provides a different type of care than an obstetrician, who typically focuses on the health of a patient as it relates to the preparing them for a healthy childbirth. CNMs consider the entirety of the patient’s health. This comprehensive approach includes the patient’s physical, mental and psychosocial needs. Additionally, they provide support as women enter perimenopause and menopause. Some responsibilities of CNMs include the following:

  • Providing prenatal education and postnatal guidance
  • Monitoring the health of mother and baby throughout the pregnancy and beyond
  • Providing assistance and encouragement during labor and delivery
  • Delivering follow-up care after childbirth, including assistance with breastfeeding

5. Clinical Nursing Educator

If you aspire to become a clinical nursing educator, you will contribute to educating the next generation of nurses to help meet the rising demand. Clinical nursing educators are teachers who specialize in nursing education. They are typically responsible for the following job duties:

  • Evaluating instructional materials
  • Assessing students and providing guidance
  • Planning, developing and implementing lessons and educational programs

Some nurse educators may decide to become consultants. In this role, they provide educational consultancy services for committees and task forces. They may also be responsible for evaluating and recommending the implementation of clinical standards and for recommending educational strategies that support those standards.

Range of Opportunities

The full list of career opportunities available to nursing graduates is endless. These are only five different options, and the range they cover is clear. You can be involved in nursing in the classroom, in direct patient care, indirect patient care and countless other roles.

Grand Canyon University offers a wide range of medical science and nursing degree options for students who want to prepare for a rewarding career in health care. Undergraduate students can choose from our Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Pre-Licensure) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) programs. Those who already hold a bachelor’s degree can choose from multiple graduate degree options, including the Master of Science in Nursing with an Emphasis in Health Informatics and the Master of Science in Nursing with an Emphasis in Public Health Nursing. To learn more about the degree programs offered by the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, visit our website or click on the Request Info button at the top of this page.

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