Careers with a Nursing Degree


Nursing, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics is the largest occupation in the health care profession.  It holds close to 3 million employees and the numbers are said to be rising with the retiring of many baby boomers and the constant need of nursing personnel for a growing and aging population.

According to the occupation outlook handbook, the nursing profession is projected to have the highest rate of increase in the number of employees in the future years. The major nursing employers with a nursing degree are hospitals. Hospitals hold over 60 percent of all nursing careers with the 40 percent being spread out among home based care centers, nursing care facilities, occupational health and offices of physicians.

The easiest way to categorize nursing careers is by the work setting/ environment, by population involved in the care or by the conditions the nurses handle. In either way, all nursing careers revolve around the hospitals, physicians’ offices, home care/ hospice or occupational nursing.

Nursing Careers in Public and Private Hospitals

Hospitals, both private and public have been shown to be the largest employers of graduates with a nursing degree. Hospitals have a wide of range of nursing needs that requires to be filed by different types of nurses.

Actually, everyone takes their nursing degree with the perspective of a hospital setting. Hospitals will employ nurses to fill the following departments:

  • Pediatrics department

This is the hospital section that deals with health care of infants and children. Here, nurses work under the supervision of senior pediatric doctors. This career needs a lot of patience as kids are a delicate group of patients to deal with.

  • Psychiatry department

A nursing career in the psychiatry department will involve taking care of mentally challenged patients. It will involve calming the patients, counseling to depressed patients and administering psychiatric medication.

  • Emergency and theatre departments

This career line takes-in perioperative nurses, surgery nurses and nurse anesthetists. Their work involves taking care of critically ill patients; those undergoing surgery and those under intensive care units.

  • Maternity and neonatal departments

Nurses who have nursing degrees in midwifery and neonatal care will most likely find employment in maternity departments. Their roles will be taking care of infants and helping mothers-to-be through labor, birthing and postpartum care. Certified nurse midwives are the best fit for this career line.

Nursing Careers in Home-Based Care Centers

The careers in this bracket include those that take care of the elderly, terminally/ chronically ill and physically or mentally challenged/disabled. Nurses here work as nutritional nurses, basic care providers and counselors. The common nursing degrees in use at these places include RNs having specialties in mental health, gerontology, palliative care and hospice nursing.

Careers in Occupational Nursing

These are nurses who are aligned to the care of special groups of persons who are at higher health risks because of the nature of their work. Occupational nurses work in chemical industries, manufacturing industries, mining companies etc.

Here, the specialties of nursing degrees needed include dermatologists, respiratory care nurses, nephrologists and cardiac nurses. They are specialized to take handle any complications arising among employees inherent from the work involved.

New Nursing Careers

Another emerging occupational nursing career is forensic nursing. Nurses who have taken forensics are finding employment opportunities in investigation police departments. They play an important role in biological sample collection, sampling, testing and analysis; which is important in providing evidence in crime scenes.

Legal nursing also opens great career opportunities for nurses who want to practice outside the normal nursing duties. Legal nurses play a vital role in litigation processes, as witnesses in trial and as interpreters of medical ethics and malpractices in cases involving medical evidence.

Nursing Jobs at Physician Offices

Nurses who work in physician offices have roles of general ambulatory care/ outpatient care, family health and family planning advisors. They work under the supervision of their employers: the physicians.

Community Nursing Employment Opportunities

These are nursing careers that revolve around marginalized groups and the rural settings. Such nursing jobs are available through NGOs and other charitable organizations. The work setting of community nurses involves going around places and offering mobile health care services to the targeted communities. Good providers of these nursing careers include the Red Cross, United Nations among others.

Salary Margins for Nursing Careers

The salary range of all nursing careers varies depending on state, level of education and years of experience in nursing practice. But the average nursing salaries falls between $35000 and $95000 for the lowest and highest paid nurses respectively.

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