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What can nurses specialise in? – 29 types of nursing jobs


It’s important to have a decent understanding of the categories of nursing jobs out there before taking the following tread your career path. From acronyms like “ICU RN” to job titles like “perianesthesia nurse,” wading through these kinds of nursing specialties with little guidance can give you a headache.

All you need to do is find out what field you desire. Although some specialties may require more study. this may range from a brief up-skill course to a proper postgraduate qualification at university.

What can nurses specialise in? Here’s a guide


Clinical specialties and areas of practice

#1 Neonatal medical care

Nurses who specialize in this area take care of newborn babies including premature births, newborns with health problems and newborns with acute, life-threatening illnesses.

#2 RN

A RN is an experienced RN educated to a masters degree level and authorised to function autonomously and collaboratively in a complicated and extended clinical role.

The RN role includes assessment and management of clients using nursing knowledge and skills and should include, but isn’t limited to:

  • the direct referral of patients to other health care professionals
  • prescribing medications
  • ordering diagnostic investigations.

#3 Occupational health

Occupational health nurses work to make sure the continued health of working populations using both health promotion and therefore the prevention of injuries and diseases. They add a good range of settings, including:

  • government agencies
  • health care facilities
  • insurance companies
  • consulting firms

#4 Oncology

Oncology nurses add hospitals and take care of patients with cancer who are chronically, acutely or terminally ill. They:

  • monitor their patients’ physical conditions
  • administer medication like chemotherapy
  • formulate symptom management strategies
  • provide education and emotional support for the patient and their family.

#5 Paediatric

Paediatric nurses take care of babies and kids up to the age of 18 years and:

  • assess children’s medical and surgical nursing needs
  • provide emotional and family assessments and support
  • plan and deliver care in hospitals, outpatient departments and in other locations, like in transit between hospitals.

#6 Peri-operative

Peri-operative nurses assist with surgical procedures in operating theatres including:

  • preparing patients for surgery
  • offering comfort and support to make sure a secure and effective patient experience
    assisting with both minor and surgical process, like heart transplants.

Different positions within this specialisation include scrub nurses (who pass sterile instruments and supplies to surgeons) and circulating nurses (who work outside the sterile field). Peri-operative nurses are accountable for taking care of patients within the hospital room following their procedure.

#7 Cosmetic surgery

A cosmetic surgery nurse provides to take care of patients undergoing reconstructive or cosmetic procedures. These procedures range from small and elective procedures, like dermabrasion, to more complicated procedures such as:

  • facial reconstruction after an accident
  • skin graft care
  • breast replacement after a mastectomy.

#8 Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation nurses add hospitals and long-term care facilities. they assist patients to live through debilitating injuries and diseases and also provide education and support for his or her patients as they move from the health care facility back to their daily lives.

#9 Remote area nursing

Remote area nurses practice in geographically isolated areas including

  • mining sites
  • tourist resorts
  • remote communities
  • satellite clinics on pastoral properties.

As they’re geographically isolated they often work independently or as a part of a small team and must refer patients to other areas. the bulk of remote area nurses are accessible to the population they take care of 24 hours each day, 7 days per week.

#10 Research

Research nurses and midwives work to enhance patient care by translating research findings into practice innovations at the bedside. they’re responsible for:

  • conducting research
  • analysing data
  • solving clinical problems
  • writing grants
  • and sharing their findings with the larger healthcare community.

#11 Rural nursing

Rural nurses practice in hospital and community settings outside of metropolitan and major towns. These nurses use critical thinking and decision-making skills as in many small rural hospitals, there’ll only be one or two nurses rostered on each shift. During unexpected events, like an emergency, other staff are going to be called in to help.

#12 School nurse

School-based nurses work with primary and secondary students to assist them to make a secure transition into adulthood. They identify developmental problems and promote healthy behaviours and attitudes which can hopefully continue through the students’ lives.

School-based youth health nurses undertake preventative activities with adolescents aged 12 to18 and their families and initiate and participate within the planning, implementation and evaluation of health promotion projects within the varsity setting.

#13 Surgical nursing

These nurses provide care and support to patients before and after surgery. Surgical nurses add many areas, like orthopedics (bones), neurosurgery (brain and spinal), cosmetic surgery and general surgery. they’re responsible for:

  • pre-operative education
  • post operative monitoring of significant signs
  • attending to surgical wound dressings
  • rehabilitation
  • discharge planning.

#14 Wound management

Wound care nurses support and take care of individuals with:

  • stomas
  • vascular and pressure wounds
  • draining wounds
  • neuropathic wounds
  • fistulas

They also help their patients manage these conditions and educate other nurses on appropriate wound care products.

#15 Burns

A burns nurse cares for patients who have suffered serious burns. This area of nursing focuses on:

  • burn types
  • burn assessment and management
  • surgical intervention
  • wound care
  • skin substitutes
  • rehabilitation
  • prevention
  • education.

#16 Cardiology

Cardiology nurses look after patients who have disorders of the guts, including patients who have:

  • chest pain associated with attack
  • a heart defect
  • undergone heart procedures like bypass, angioplasty, or pacemaker surgery.

They can add hospitals or within the patient’s home, assisting with cardiac drug monitoring and providing care.

#17 Community health

A community health nurse works within specific communities or with a public health organisation. They develop health care systems that will be easily accessed by populations or may fit on policy matters in government. A community health nurse must be skilled in:

  • health promotion and disease prevention
  • case management
  • planning
    policy development
  • working with culturally diverse populations.

#18 Continence

Continence nurses provide specialist advice and support on all aspects of bladder and bowel problems to health professionals, children, adults and carers.

#19 Diabetes education

GPs often refer patients who are having difficulty controlling their diabetes to a diabetes educator. Diabetes education nurses teach patients the abilities and knowledge they have to measure with diabetes.

#20 Dialysis

A dialysis nurse administers a necessary, life-prolonging kind of treatment for patients with end-stage renal (kidney) disease. Dialysis is administered in an exceedingly specialised hospital setting or reception. A dialysis nurse typically administers care to patients in an outpatient setting.

#21 Education

Some nurses and midwives add an education setting, like a university, teaching other aspiring nurses and midwives. Such nurses and midwives may additionally add a community or hospital setting educating:

other nurses and midwives about new technologies or procedures
patients and their families about their diagnoses, treatments and preventative methods (for nurses) or antenatal, pregnancy and postnatal care (for midwives).

#22 Emergency

These nurses provide look after patients within the critical or emergency phase of an illness or trauma. they need to be ready to recognise life-threatening problems and rapidly arrange necessary care. Such nurses don’t seem to be limited to working within the ER of a hospital and might also add settings like medical evacuations, the Royal Flying Doctor Service or defence forces.

#23 Family health

Family health nurses and midwives add clinics, community-based settings, long-term care facilities, and hospitals. they supply information on health promotion and disease prevention from childhood right throughout the ageing process, and are trained to develop treatment plans for acute and chronic diseases. Some are capable of providing specialty care like gynaecological and perinatal care.

#24 Gerontology / aged care

Nurses during this field be sure of elderly people and cater to diseases and issues specifically relevant to maturity. Such services are usually provided in aged care facilities, hospitals, community or nursing homes.

#25 Infection control

This area focuses on communicable disease control and it always found in major health care facilities like hospitals and aged care facilities. In an endeavor to watch and forestall the spread of drug-resistant infections, nurses working during this area can work as policy-makers, administrators, educators, consultants, and researchers.

#26 Medical care

Intensive care nurses look after patients of all ages who are acutely ill or who are in an exceedingly critical condition. They often use sophisticated equipment, like mechanical life support, and are answerable for the physical and emotional welfare of patients and their families.

#27 Management

A nurse or midwife manager usually supports the clinical unit, ward, or department by:

  • providing information
  • assisting with personnel management, recruitment, business planning and budget management.

Nurse or midwife managers develop services to boost core business and answer changing organisational needs. They also contribute to the strategic direction of an organisation through unit business planning and innovative management planning.

#28 Medical

Medical nurses add hospitals, acute care units, home care, and long-term care facilities and look after patients with general medical conditions, including infectious diseases, asthma, and pneumonia. They also look after those that are being treated with medications to manage an illness.

#39 Mental Health

Mental health nurses specialize in caring for youngsters and adolescents, adults, seniors, or those within the justice or prison systems with mental disease or mental state problems. This care occurs in partnership with the patient, their family, and therefore the community.

They work closely with other professionals including:

  • psychiatrists
  • clinical psychologists
  • social workers
  • counsellors
  • medical doctors
  • occupational therapists.

Their work is undertaken in an exceeding sort of settings including:

  • general hospitals
  • specialised mental state hospitals or wards
  • emergency services
  • community mental state services
  • triage (telephone or face-to-face)
  • residential services
  • prisons
  • other organisations including mine sites, pharmaceutical sales, and counselling
    rural and remote areas.

Mental health nurses can be enrolled nurses (ENs) or registered nurses (RNs), but could also be required to complete a postgraduate course to become a specialist in mental state.

Which types of nursing jobs interest you?

As you can see, there are several different types of nurses out there—and many jobs available to nurses. You can narrow your employment search based on the specialties that interest you.


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