10 Popular Careers for Registered Nurses

There are numerous direct care and non-bedside careers for registered nurses interested in job growth and advancement.

It includes general nursing, emergency care, pediatrics, legal consulting, and travel nursing, to name a few.

As a result, most individuals can find a nursing career that suits their personality, skills, and interests.

Today nursing continues to be a fast-growing domain.

It regularly offers new opportunities and disciplines for those with the right skills and mindset.

As registered nurses build their education and skillset, new doors will open.

Therefore, most nurses will never get bored focusing on consistent growth and career advancement.

Below you will find just ten of over a hundred careers available to nurses.

Ambulatory Care Nurse

An ambulatory care nurse provides care to patients outside of a hospital setting.

These specialize in treating various illnesses or injuries to enable people to achieve more mobile and independent lives.

Ambulatory care nurses generally provide short-term healthcare, often lasting less than 24 hours.

They utilize their training to stabilize or improve the patient’s medical condition during this time.

They also conduct screenings, aid in pain management, and give health advice to patients with chronic injuries or illnesses.

Ambulatory care nurses work in a variety of settings.

It includes urgent care, triage, and case management, among other disciplines.

Critical Care Nurse

Critical care nurses provide medical care to critically ill and severely injured patients.

These nurses work in various emergency settings assisting patients through their recovery and rehabilitation.

  • Critical care facilities
  • Emergency rooms
  • Trauma units
  • Pediatric intensive care units
  • Neonatal intensive care units
  • Adult intensive care

and other fields that require critical/intensive care nursing.

Critical care nurses must be extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and sensitive to their patient’s emotions.

They must also be adequate for patients’ needs and provide positive feedback to those in critical conditions.

Emergency Room Nurse

Emergency room nurses specialize in the emergency care of patients with immediate medical needs.

These nurses typically treat patients with trauma or severe injury in the emergency department.

Emergency room nurses often work in a fast-paced environment.

As a result, they must always be ready to manage various unexpected life-threatening and non-life-threatening situations.

It varies from minor cuts and infections to cardiac arrest and severe traumas caused by violence and accidents.

These nurses also operate in emergency rooms assisting doctors in surgery or prepping patients for surgical procedures.

Flight Nurse

Flight nurses operate aboard an aircraft during rescue operations and aeromedical missions.

It includes variously winged and propeller aircraft, such as propeller-engine planes, jets, and helicopters.

Flight nurses provide on-site medical care to stabilize patients’ conditions when they arrive at the scene.

They evaluate the needs of their patients to ensure they deliver the appropriate treatments and medications.

They may also provide more in-depth treatment to extend patients’ lives in emergencies when a physician isn’t on board.

They also perform pre-flight checks to ensure supplies and equipment are in good working order to go smoothly.

Forensic Nurse

Forensic nurses deal with patients afflicted by physical and emotional trauma due to crime, violence, and sexual abuse.

As forensic nurses, the psychological aspects of their patient’s condition are equally crucial to the physical.

These nurses take any information (both verbal and non-verbal) that the patient and witness provide them.

They also physically inspect the patient to look for injuries or signs of abuse.

In cases that involve sexual abuse of women, forensic nurses may perform a vaginal examination.

It enables them to look for signs of penetration, semen, or other types of sexual abuse.

Forensic nurses care for patients dealing with traumas, violent crimes, and sexual abuse in numerous situations.

However, they also work with law enforcement investigators to gather evidence and data on cases dealing with death.

Forensic nurses examine the individual’s body and environment in these cases.

They also speak with relatives, neighbors, and witnesses to gather vital information.

It allows them to determine the cause of the death and provides law enforcement with details regarding their discoveries.

Geriatric Nurse

Geriatric nurses focus on older patients’ mental, emotional, social, and family aspects.

They use their knowledge and training to provide older individuals with positive reinforcement and medical assistance.

It helps these older individuals transition into more senior (and sometimes less functional) lifestyles.

Proper care and patient handling are imperative in this field.

In many cases, patients have a much harder time recovering if they are hurt or injured.

Geriatric nurses educate patients about the importance of caring for their bodies and maintaining their good health,

They help individuals learn to eat foods that will allow them to stay active and youthful.

They also teach the importance of proper rest, methods to avoid injuries, and what to do if they encounter an injury.

Geriatric nurses learn to respond quickly and treat common ailments that elderly patients encounter.

Some ailments include dizziness, cardiovascular disease, respiratory complications, diabetes, strokes, pressure-related injuries that cause blood flow stoppages, thyroid problems, and delirium.

Legal Nurse Consultant

Legal nurse consultants bring their medical training and expertise into the legal field.

They often become consultants on legal cases where medical knowledge benefits the case’s development and execution.

Legal nurses aid attorneys and courtroom judges with medical injuries and abuse claims.

They utilize their medical training to assess, validate and determine the legitimacy and extent of these cases.

They also maintain legal records and medical documents and help attorneys and judges understand complicated medical terminology.

Finally, legal nurse consultants educate them about other medical factors that may benefit the case.

Psychiatric nurse

A psychiatric nurse provides mental health care to patients affected by mental illness, stress, and depression.

These nurses treat mental illnesses, from depression and bipolar disorder to schizophrenia, dementia, and psychosis.

Psychiatric nurses receive training that enables them to provide various psychological therapies.

As a result, they can help patients overcome their illnesses and reduce their mental afflictions.

Their training and education also allow them to administer psychiatric medications to patients.

Patients may receive medication when standard psychological therapies prove insufficient in these cases.

It helps them overcome their afflictions more easily.

Nevertheless, a psychiatric nurse’s ability to prescribe medications varies depending on the state.

Full-practice states often allow advanced-practice registered nurses to operate with full authority.

However, limited practice and restricted states place more restrictions on their scope of practice.

General Registered nurse

A general registered nurse or RN gives the patient emotional support, bedside care, and medical attention.

These specialists assist individuals with various injuries or illnesses.

Registered nurses use their knowledge to help patients recover and achieve total health while preventing future diseases.

They’ll assess the patient’s conditions, record symptoms and stages of recovery, deliver treatments and administer medications.

They’ll also prioritize care and participate in rehabilitation programs to help them recover from their illnesses or injuries.

Registered nurses provide advice and medical expertise to patients to help them make the best health decisions.

They answer common questions, provide information on self-care, and ensure patients have the resources they need to recover.

Travel Nurse

Travel nurses work on temporary assignments at hospitals and healthcare organizations throughout the country.

As a result, they provide further aid and medical expertise to short-staffed healthcare facilities.

Hospitals often hire travel nurses when they don’t have enough nurses to provide the best care possible for their patients.

They also operate in different medical settings, like urgent care centers, critical care departments, outpatient clinics, and high-demand healthcare facilities.

In many situations, travel nurses work on short-term assignments generally last one month – 1 year.

At the end of their assignment, some facilities offer travel nurses a full–time (permanent) position.

They may also receive certain perks and relocation reimbursements if they decide to work at the facility full-time.

With that said, most travel nurses take temporary assignments and do not relocate unless they love the new location.

Many healthcare facilities are short-staffed and need experienced nurses to fill temporary positions.

As a result, travel nurses can expect perks and benefits for their willingness to travel outside their hometown.

It includes a substantial salary, housing, car rental, travel reimbursement, and a travel stipend.


As you can see, the nursing occupation has many different specialty areas.

These specializations allow individuals to pursue careers that most interest them and fit their skills and abilities.

Through continuing education and certifications, nurses have new career paths to explore and opportunities to enjoy.

Whether you’re looking to travel the world, work in a fast-paced emergency room environment, operate onboard an aircraft, care for the elderly or help those suffering from mental ailments, you can find it in nursing.