50 Things You Can Do With a Nursing Degree icon

50 Things You Can Do With a Nursing Degree

| NurseJournal Staff

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Now that you've earned your nursing degree, you're likely excited to get to work. There are a lot of jobs you can work with a nursing degree but nailing down the right position can be overwhelming.

This article explores different nursing jobs and the types of practices where nurses work. Whether you prefer to work with children, older adults, or researchers, this list can help you understand just what you can do with a nursing degree.

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What Can You Do With a Nursing Degree?

While most nurses are registered nurses (RNs) with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), there are far more jobs you can do depending on the type of nursing degree you have. You can become a nurse with a two-year associate degree in nursing, follow the traditional BSN degree route, or earn a master of science in nursing or a doctor of nursing practice degree and become a nurse practitioner. There are tons of nursing specialties for which these degrees can prepare you. Check out the list below to find one that fits your career goals.

Acute Care Nurse true

Providing critically ill patients with individualized care, acute care nurses carry out a variety of advanced nursing duties, from working as an integral part of the medical team to provide care for patients with life threatening medical conditions to implementing a care plan for patients recovering from surgery. They may also collect blood and tissue samples.

Average Annual Salary: $83,000

Burn Unit Nurse true

Tasked with working as a part of the healthcare team to stabilize burn victims, prevent organ failure and infection, and achieve healing, these nurses often care for patients who require ventilation, work to alleviate their pain, provide wound care, and prevent further complications.

Average Annual Salary: $115,000

Camp Nurse true

These nurses provide campers at summer camps and similar locations with medical care. Some also care for campground staff members and administrators. Camp nurses must ensure all participants are healthy enough to attend camp, coordinate and implement daily medication administration, and deal with any illnesses or injuries that arise.

Average Annual Salary: $62,080

Certified Nurse Assistant true

CNAs observe and record patients' conditions and vital signs. They work under the supervision of RNs and other medical professionals who provide direct care for patients.

Average Annual Salary: $29,290

Community Nurse true

Charged with educating communities about health risks and preventative measures, community nurses teach patients and their families about diseases, carrying out various controlling and preventative measures. Community health nurses are also heavily involved in advocacy and public health policy development to address social justice issues.

Average Annual Salary: $62,580

Critical Care Nurse true

These experienced nurses provide advanced care for patients in intensive care units. Critical care nurses provide patient and family centered care. They must possess solid clinical judgement and critical thinking skills, the ability to swiftly prioritize and advocate for patient interventions in emergency situations, and must know how to use advanced medical equipment and technology to provide optimal patient care.

Average Annual Salary: $68,730

Cruise Ship Nurse true

Working under the direction of a vessel's chief doctor, physician, and lead nurse, these RNs care for individuals aboard cruise ships. Cruise ship nurses also act as first responders to emergency issues on the ship.

Median Annual Salary: $75,330

Dermatology Nurse Practitioner true

Focusing on treating dermatological injuries or illnesses, these nurses care for individuals with wounds, diseases, trauma, and other skin conditions. They also instruct patients on how to protect their skin.

Average Annual Salary: $94,740

Diabetes Management Nurse true

Responsible for providing patient care and promoting self-care management for individuals with diabetes, these nurses monitor and educate patients. Eligible candidates should hold a master's degree in nursing along with APRN status.

Average Annual Salary: $66,140

Emergency Room Nurse true

Emergency room nurses care for patients suffering from a variety of traumas and illnesses that require emergency attention. These nurses focus on stabilizing and treating patients until they are ready to be admitted to the hospital or discharged.

Average Annual Salary: $69,960

Epidemics Research Nurse true

These nurses work in research laboratories, hospitals, and medical clinics, where they administer vaccines, check lab work, and assess patients' overall health during epidemics. They also ensure patients meet specific protocols.

Average Annual Salary: $81,500

Family Nurse Practitioner true

Family nurse practitioners collaborate with other specialists to manage patients' conditions and provide referrals to appropriate services for injuries and long-term illnesses. These professionals care for patients across the lifespan.

Average Annual Salary: $96,790

Federal Healthcare Nurse true

Federal healthcare nurses provide care to patients in occupational health units, hospitals, and clinics, generally in veteran's affairs. They promote better health practices and educate patients and their families on current health issues. Those working for the federal government are not limited to a particular medical setting.

Median Annual Salary: $75,330

Health Administration Nurse true

Health administration nurses serve in a variety of leadership roles. Along with leading a team of nurses and other healthcare professionals, they evaluate and implement nursing policies and demonstrate policy compliance. These nurses also ensure continuous quality improvement and optimal patient care by implementing up to date evidence-based nursing practices and are involved in difficult ethical decisions or unusual patient care circumstances.

Average Annual Salary: $89,000

Home Health Nurse true

Predominantly working in patients' homes or assisted living facilities, these nurses coordinate patient care activities with home health agencies, pharmacies, and physicians. Home health nurses also coordinate and supervise home healthcare staff members.

Average Annual Salary: $64,140

Hospice Nurse true

Providing care for patients facing terminal illnesses, hospice nurses communicate directly with patients and their families and implement care plans to keep patients comfortable.

Average Annual Salary: $67,640

Legal Consultancy Nurse true

Nurses in this profession typically work for insurance companies. Legal consultancy nurses collect, evaluate, organize, and maintain records for legal purposes and prepare graphs and visual aids for use in trials. To qualify for these roles, candidates must hold an RN license and several years of clinical experience.

Average Annual Salary: $79,740

Licensed Practical Nurse true

Responsible for providing basic medical care, these nurses help RNs and physicians focus on more specialized areas of patient care. LPNs also take patients' temperatures, record their vital signs, collect urine and blood samples, and prepare them for examinations.

Average Annual Salary: $45,790

Nurse Anesthetist true

Responsible for administering anesthesia and monitoring patients during their surgeries, these nurses ensure proper patient pulmonary and cardiovascular support. Nurse anesthetists also ensure patients recover properly from anesthesia before moving them to care units.

Median Annual Salary: $117,670

Nurse Case Manager true

This job consists primarily of administrative tasks pertaining to individual patient healthcare needs. Nurse case managers evaluate patients' needs to determine effective care plans and communicate with healthcare and insurance providers on behalf of patients.

Average Annual Salary: $73,800

Nursing Informatics Specialist true

Nurses who specialize in informatics collaborate with other medical professionals like doctors and nurses to manage data, information, and knowledge to improve nursing care across settings. Nursing informatics specialists also develop clinical information systems.

Average Annual Salary: $84,820

Nurse Midwife true

Nurse midwives offer a variety of health services for women. These nurses typically work in obstetricians' and gynecologists' offices and hospitals where they provide prenatal care and deliver babies.

Average Annual Salary: $97,920

Nutrition and Fitness Nurse true

These nurses primarily work in spas, health clubs, and surgical recovery sites, focusing on improving client or patient health through nutrition, exercise, and stress management.

Median Annual Salary: $75,330

Occupational Health Nurse true

Occupational health nurses maintain employee health and safety within an organization and create plans for health-related work events. They often participate in organizational and regulatory audits and health and safety committees.

Average Annual Salary: $74,100

Oncology Nurse true

These nurses monitor and medicate cancer patients. They develop patient care plans and offer support and resources for patients and their families.

Average Annual Salary: $75,040

Outpatient Care Nurse true

These nurses care for patients seeking medical treatment at outpatient medical facilities. These professionals ensure patients remain comfortable and healthy before, during, and after medical procedures and surgery.

Average Annual Salary: $68,310

Paramedic true

While a paramedic and nursing license vary, each provides medical assistance to patients in need. Often some of the first healthcare professionals to arrive during emergency situations, paramedics assess and diagnose patients before providing emergency treatment. They also monitor and administer medication and pain relief.

Median Annual Salary: $36,650

Parish Nurse true

Taking a holistic approach to health that includes spiritual wellness, these nurses serve as liaisons between patients, communities, and health professionals. They provide spiritual support to patients facing a variety of health issues.

Average Annual Salary: $62,080

Pediatric Nurse true

These registered nurses care for children, from birth through adolescence. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, physician's offices, and clinics. Pediatric nurses can specialize in a variety of areas, including neonatology, trauma, and cardiology.

Average Annual Salary: $61,440

Pharmaceutical Research Nurse true

Registered nurses in this discipline maintain contact with and monitor patients during clinical trials, noting how individuals tolerate medicines at specific intervals.

Average Annual Salary: $61,000

Physician's Office Nurse true

Working in collaboration with a physician, office nurses provide patients with healthcare services in private practice settings. They conduct nursing assessments, educate patients, and provide pre and post operative instruction.

Average Annual Salary: $57,340

Plastic Surgery Nurse true

Plastic surgery nurses collaborate with surgeons and support staff to help patients achieve their desired results. These nurses care for patients during and after procedures, educating them about what to expect before, during, and after surgery.

Average Annual Salary: $64,000

Prison Nurse true

Tasked with providing individualized, direct nursing care for prisoners in correctional facilities, these nurses evaluate and treat patients routinely and conduct necessary emergency procedures as necessary.

Average Annual Salary: $54,000

Procurement Nurse true

Procurement nurses provide care for patients donating an organ for transplant through living or deceased donation. Procurement nurses working with living donors prepare the donors for operations and oversee their postsurgical recovery, educating them before and after the procedure. Procurement nurses working with deceased donors provide grief support to families and manage the care of the patient in an intensive care setting, optimizing organ function, finding recipients, and coordinating the organ recovery procedure in the operating room.

Average Annual Salary: $75,430

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse true

These nurses provide specialized care to patients with psychiatric disorders. Many work in mental health facilities or as homecare nurses. Qualifying professionals must hold an RN license and, at minimum, an associate degree in nursing.

Average Annual Salary: $66,680

Public Health Nurse true

Focused on educating patients, their families, and communities about health and risk factors, these nurses visit and evaluate patients at their homes similarly to the role of community health nurses. They often refer patients to and connect them with various support services.

Average Annual Salary: $59,560

Public Health Research Nurse true

Focusing on the public health sector, these research nurses study, observe, and care for patients suffering from a variety of diseases. They also assist with and monitor clinical trials involving new medications or treatment methods.

Average Annual Salary: $81,500

Quality Assurance Nurse true

Quality assurance nurses evaluate nursing practices to ensure efficiency and optimal patient care. They suggest and implement changes and train other nurses on new procedures.

Average Annual Salary: $78,120

Radiology Nurse true

These nurses provide patient care for individuals undergoing radiology procedures. Radiology nurses assess preoperative patients, manage patient sedation and monitor vital signs during procedures, and care for patients post procedure.

Average Annual Salary: $66,220

Registered Nurse true

Responsible for coordinating and providing patient care, registered nurses observe and assess patient conditions to create and implement holistic care plans. These nurses work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and physicians' offices.

Median Annual Salary: $75,330

Rehabilitation Center Nurse true

Rehabilitation center nurses help patients recover and regain their independence following disability, illness, or injury. These nurses also teach patients and their families how to manage chronic injuries and illnesses.

Average Annual Salary: $86,110

Research Nurse true

Charged with planning and coordinating daily clinical schedules and procedures, research nurses collect vitals and samples and record data accordingly. These nurses focus on patients who participate in clinical trials to improve their health, including individuals testing new cancer treatments.

Average Annual Salary: $72,130

Rural Nurse true

Ensuring individuals in rural communities can obtain access to quality healthcare, rural nurses work in labor and delivery, trauma, and critical care settings. They provide care for sick or injured patients across the lifespan.

Average Annual Salary: $98,490

School Nurse true

School nurses address student healthcare needs and problems, and educate them about health risks. Prospective school nurses must hold an active, current RN license along with a BSN degree. School nurses also respond to health emergencies requiring CPR or other types of immediate care.

Average Annual Salary: $48,550

Staff Nurse true

A staff nurse encompasses a myriad of frontline nurses. Typically working in long-term care facilities and hospitals, staff nurses assess and evaluate patients, administering care and medications as needed. Those employed in hospitals also create patient discharge plans.

Average Annual Salary: $69,360

Surgery (Perioperative) Nurse true

Surgery nurses are responsible for caring for patients undergoing operative procedures, administering medications, changing patients' dressings, monitoring their vital signs, assessing their conditions, and maintaining patient records throughout surgical procedures.

Average Annual Salary: $62,500

Toxicology Nurse true

Often working closely with poison control hotlines to effectively triage and assist in managing patients exposed to toxins, these nurses assess significant patient symptoms, provide treatment recommendations, and facilitate referrals to appropriate healthcare facilities. They also provide ongoing patient evaluation and follow-up care.

Median Annual Salary: $75,330

Transplant Nurse true

Transplant nurses care for patients who need an organ transplant. They help coordinate tests and appointments needed while a patient is waiting for an organ to become available for transplant, guide patients and families through the organ transplant process, and create treatment plans for recovering patients.

Average Annual Salary: $75,430

Traveling Nurse true

These nurses work as contract employees either through an agency or self-employment, filling in at clinics, hospitals, and private practices around the country and sometimes internationally. Travel nurses perform the same general responsibilities as RNs.

Average Annual Salary: $80,000

Vaccine Research Nurse true

These research nurses plan, develop, implement, and evaluate vaccine-related research projects. These nurses must hold master's degrees in nursing along with additional training in research methodology and tools.

Average Annual Salary: $81,500

Nontraditional Nursing Opportunities

The nursing field comprises an expansive array of career opportunities. Many of these paths allow professionals to go beyond bedside care and traditional workplace settings, such as hospitals and private practices. Nontraditional positions include toxicology nurses, prison nurses, and nutrition and fitness nurses.

Nurses can also explore opportunities as travel nurses, filling in for other professionals across the country and internationally. Nurses interested in following a nontraditional pathway can watch the video below to learn more about the options available to them.

Reviewed by:

Portrait of Brandy Gleason

Brandy Gleason

Brandy Gleason is a nursing professional with nearly twenty years of varied nursing experience. Gleason currently teaches as an assistant professor of nursing within a prelicensure nursing program and coaches graduate students. Her passion and area of research centers around coaching nurses and nursing students to build resilience and avoid burnout.

Gleason is a paid member of our Healthcare Review Partner Network. Learn more about our review partners.

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