Nursing Career

13 Types of Nursing Specialties

After earning your BSN, you can choose from many diverse types of nursing specialties. Clinical specialties include surgery, pediatrics, labor and delivery, cardiac, ICU, outpatient care, and home health care. There are also non-clinical specialty options, such as school nursing, public health nursing, and telehealth nursing.

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A nursing career is not one-size-fits-all. Nursing has many diverse niches, from healthcare to business. You can choose from many types of nursing specialties. Maybe you like working with kids, prefer interacting with nursing home residents, enjoy traveling to new places, or are fascinated by surgery. The long list of possibilities means it’s likely there is a nursing specialty that’s right for you. Nursing allows you to tailor your career to your unique personality, career goals, and strengths.

Felician University believes nursing is important work, and we’re committed to making this incredible career more accessible through two Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) programs. We offer a 16-month Hybrid ABSN and an 18-month On-Ground ABSN in New Jersey. After earning your BSN, you’ll be on your way to starting the nursing specialty that ignites your passion.

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Read on to learn about 13 types of nursing specialties in demand. Use this nursing specialties list as a guide for planning the direction of your future nursing career.

Clinical Nursing Specialties

Here are a few nursing specialties in demand within the clinical realm. If patient care is something you’d love to do, look to one of these clinical specialties when deciding where to take your career.

1. Surgical Nursing

Surgical nurses work within operating rooms and assist with various procedures. They prepare patients for surgery, including talking through any patient anxieties. Surgical nurses are vital to the surgical team during operations, ensuring critical procedures run smoothly. If you enjoy the intensity and camaraderie of an operating room, and you are detail-oriented and good at managing stress, surgical nursing may be an excellent fit for you.

2. Pediatric Nursing

People who are passionate about caring for children may find that pediatric nursing is their calling. Pediatric nurses can work in clinics or hospitals and choose between general pediatrics or one of many subspecialties. These nurses interact with kids and their families during routine appointments or when the child is dealing with illness, injury, or other health challenges. Pediatric nurses are advocates for their patients; having the energy and enthusiasm to care for kids is key to success in this field.

nurse smiling at young child patient

3. Labor and Delivery Nursing

Do you enjoy working with moms and babies? Working in a labor and delivery setting may be a great fit for you. These nurses support expecting moms before, during, and after they give birth. They form close relationships with their patients and play a key role in this important life event for families. Labor and delivery nurses need to be able to provide comfort and guidance during the birthing process. They must also be observant, highly skilled, and calm during stressful situations.

4. Cardiac Nursing

Cardiac nurses work closely with patients with heart conditions, including both chronic conditions and acute conditions like heart attacks. You may work within an outpatient clinic or an inpatient hospital unit. Cardiac nurses need to be experts at monitoring the condition of their patients, interpreting data, and administering treatments. They need to be quick thinking, detail-oriented, and excellent at communicating in a way that makes complex topics understandable to patients and families.

5. ICU Nursing

If you’re interested in working with critically ill and bedridden patients and thrive in a high-intensity situation, consider providing care in an intensive care unit. ICU nurses need specialized training to manage ventilators and other highly technical equipment. They work hands-on with one or two patients simultaneously, spending more time caring for their dedicated patients than nurses on most other hospital units. ICU nurses are experts in their field. They need to be excellent communicators who can manage complex care plans.

nurse tending to ICU patient in hospital bed

6. Outpatient Care Nursing

Outpatient care nurses work within clinics, both in primary care and specialty care settings. These nurses work with patients who are well enough to live at home, building long-term connections with patients over the span of many years. Clinic nursing also offers a traditional daytime work schedule, so you won’t need to work nights or weekends. In the clinic, you’ll interview patients, take vitals, and help perform outpatient treatments. These nurses must be great communicators who are detail-oriented and efficient to ensure the clinic stays on schedule.

7. Home Health Nursing

Do you want to work with patients in their own homes? Home health nurses play a vital role in the healthcare continuum, providing access to homebound patients who cannot visit their provider’s office regularly. Home health nurses visit their patients regularly, often weekly, to measure vitals, monitor symptoms, give treatments, and more. These nurses may visit a patient regularly for years, making it the ideal job for a nurse who likes developing long-term, meaningful connections with patients. If you have compassion, reliability, and excellent nursing skills, home health nursing may suit you well.

nurse with elderly patient in home kitchen

8. Flight Nursing

Flight nurses work on emergency medical flights, caring for patients who need urgent medical attention. Their priority is to stabilize the patient until they reach the healthcare facility. They may work with patients with life-threatening conditions, such as those who have been in a serious accident or experienced other medical trauma. Flight nurses need to be at the top of their game, skilled at executing life-saving treatments under high pressure. They must also be excellent at collaborating and communicating with the flight team.

9. Travel Nursing

Do you have a passion for traveling the world? Travel nurses work short-term stretches at various healthcare facilities whenever a facility needs additional nursing staff. They’re hired by agencies that manage the details of each contract. Travel nurses can earn a high salary while also getting competitive employment benefits like travel and housing stipends. The best travel nurses thrive in an ever-changing environment and are skilled at learning and adapting.

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Alternative Nursing Specialties

Clinical nursing specialties may be ideal for most nurses, but if you prefer the more non-traditional types of nursing specialties, here are a few more options to consider.

10. School Nursing

School nurses work in schools or universities to care for students of all ages. These nurses evaluate students who become ill, monitor them and provide treatment, and refer them to other healthcare providers if needed. School nurses also help manage long-term conditions such as asthma and diabetes. They sometimes offer preventative care services like vaccinations. School nursing is worth considering if you enjoy working with kids in the community and want a role where you positively impact kids’ lives.

school nurse sitting with child patient

11. Public Health Nursing

Public health nurses focus on community health and preventative care outside the hospital. These nurses build relationships with citizens to ensure that people of all backgrounds can access quality healthcare. For example, community care may include performing routine blood pressure checks or educating people on heart attack prevention. Public health nursing focuses on disease prevention and educating the public on health and wellness issues.

12. Telehealth Nursing

In this digital age, more and more nurses are seeking remote nursing opportunities. Telehealth nurses can contribute in a variety of ways, such as by monitoring a patient’s cardiac signs or interviewing a patient during an e-visit. You’ll need prior experience in a traditional nursing role before you are eligible for telehealth nursing, as it’s crucial to have excellent skills, especially when caring for patients remotely. Telehealth nursing may be a perfect option if you’re seeking greater work flexibility as a nurse and enjoy optimizing technology to improve healthcare accessibility.

13. Cruise Ship Nursing

Did you know that nurses can work on a cruise ship? They can, and it’s an excellent fit for those eager to travel. These nurses work within the medical unit on board the vessel, collaborating with other professionals to care for sick or injured guests.

Nurses help assess symptoms, evaluate severity, tend to minor injuries, and provide other treatments. In the case of a serious health concern, cruise ship nurses help stabilize the patient until a helicopter can come and fly them to a nearby hospital. These nurses need to be friendly, responsible, skilled, and comfortable with a flexible lifestyle.

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Want more alternative nursing specialties? See even more options.

Begin Your Nursing Career at Felician!

If you’re inspired by these types of nursing specialties in demand, consider earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at Felician. We offer a 16-month Hybrid ABSN program in Parsippany, New Jersey, and an 18-month On-Ground ABSN in Rutherford, New Jersey. Both provide high-quality nursing education in less time than a traditional nursing program. You can also choose between three yearly start dates if you opt for the Hybrid ABSN.

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The ABSN program will teach you using three strategies: nursing coursework, skills and simulation labs, and clinical rotations. This ensures you gain the experience needed to sit for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) and become a competent nurse after graduation. If you have at least 60 college credits or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, consider applying to the program.

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To learn more about accelerated nursing at Felician, fill out our online form to let us know you’re interested. An admissions counselor will set up a time to talk with you about the program and how to begin the process today!

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