It’s National Nurses Week May 6 -12. In tribute to this special week, we would like to advocate for this fantastic educational and career path, while dispelling the types of nurses, or nurse specializations.
To much disbelief of many, nurse specializations can be wide-ranging. Not only can settings vary, but the types of nurses can vary as well. A Nursing degree student can choose from a number of specialties, depending on the type of duties they want to perform and the type of patients for whom they want to care for. There are a few consistencies in the nursing field, however. Around the board, nurses care for patients, monitor vital signs, administer medications, change dressings and administer other treatments, educate patients, and provide emotional support to patients and families.
Check out our list of popular types of nurses:
Surgical nurses work with patients recovering from a variety of illnesses and injuries, usually in a hospital setting. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 54 percent of all Registered Nurses were working in medical hospitals in 2010. However, surgical nurses also work in outpatient settings, such as doctors’ offices or outpatient surgery centers.
Perioperative nurses work with surgical patients, preparing them for surgical procedures, assisting in the operating room, and caring for patients in the recovery room immediately after surgery. According to the Mayo Clinic, they work in various surgical fields, including cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, transplant surgery, and plastic surgery.
Emergency nurses work in emergency rooms and urgent care centers. They treat patients with a wide range of conditions, from minor illnesses and injuries to life-threatening conditions. Emergency nurses need to think fast on their feet and stay calm under pressure.
Neonatal nurses work with new moms and infants. Some neonatal nurses work in a typical hospital nursery, although more mothers are choosing to keep their newborns in their hospital rooms with them these days. Other neonatal nurses work in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with premature and critically ill infants.
Psychiatric nurses work with mentally ill patients on hospital psychiatric wards and in outpatient treatment programs. They treat patients with conditions like major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition to typical nursing duties, psychiatric nurses may provide counseling to patients both individually and in group settings.
Hospice nurses provide palliative care to patients at the end of life. According to Nurse Source, most care for patients in their own homes, but some work on inpatient hospice units. They provide a great deal of emotional support to patients and family members as well as providing medical care.
Correctional nurses provide care for patients incarcerated in jails and prisons. In many prisons, correctional nurses serve as primary care providers, diagnosing illnesses and prescribing treatment, as well as referring patients for further care as needed. They must be prepared to deal with violent patients at times.
School nurses work in elementary, middle, and high schools. They care for students that become ill or require nursing care during the school day. They may provide routine health screenings for students and also promote health education within the school.