Types of Nurses

There are hundreds of types of nurses. Whatever your interest are, you can explore it as a nurse. From working with hospice patients in their homes, to flying helicopters with the most critically ill, to helping brand new babies get home safely, there is a place for everyone in nursing.

If you are a current nurse and want to tell us about your position please click here and tell us about what you do so we can include it.

Below you will find a list of (some) the different types of nurses in this career. This page mostly discusses hospital nursing positions. You can also learn about other types of nurse careers on the master of nursing page, the travel nursing career page and the nurse entrepreneur page.

Hospital (non-ICU) Types of Nurses

  1. Cardiac Nurse—Deals with patient with all kinds of heart problems. Requires telemetry knowledge. Usually refers to medical cardiology type patients who are not having cardiac surgery (yet).
  2. Cardiothoracic Nurse— Caring for heart and lung surgery patients in recovery.
  3. General Medicine Nurse—All the sicknesses that cannot be classified into another specific floor such as cardiac.
  4. Hemodialysis Nurse—Watch over patients during their dialysis sessions. Can be in a hospital or private setting.
  5. Labor and Delivery Nurse—Help maternity patients while they deliver. In some settings you will be required to go to the operating room for cesarean sections.
  6. Med/Surg Nurse—General surgery patients. Usually abdomens and complicated wounds.
  7. Neurology Nurse—Caring for patients with strokes and brain injuries.
  8. Nursery Nurse—Crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s for the healthy newborns. Helps with immunizations, feedings, etc.
  9. Obstetrics/Women—Gynecological patients are on these floors.
  10. Orthopedic Nurse—Bones Bones Bones! Especially hips and knees.
  11. Oncology Nurse—Everything related to cancer patients.
  12. Operating Room Nurse—The person in the OR making sure all the pieces come together. Ensuring all the supplies are available, the patient is protected and the other staff are all ready to go.
  13. Pediatric Nurse—Even sick children need good nurses (don’t forget the parents!) .
  14. Psych Nurse—Administering medications and often helping with therapeutic treatment. May require lots of patience.
  15. Pulmonary Nurse—Seen in bigger hospitals mostly. For all non-surgical lung issues.

Critical Care Nursing

  1. Cardiac Care Unit (CCU)—For critical heart patients who have not had cardiac surgery on the current hospital stay.
  2. Cardiothoracic ICU—Fresh post-operative heart and lung patients including transplants.
  3. Emergency Room Nursing—A fast paced day filled with a little bit of everything.
  4. Flight Nursing—Transport of sick patients to larger hospitals and traumas. Usually no doctor is on board so the nurse is IT. Many times flight nurses work with the ground units too (ambulances for tansport)
  5. General ICU—Sick but not surgical, at least not yet.
  6. Neonatal ICU—Nurses for the sickest babies and premies.
  7. Neuro ICU—Head traumas and major stroke patients
  8. PACU or Post Anethesia Unit—post-op recovery for same-day surgery patients or general surgery patients that will often not need an ICU following surgery.
  9. Pediatric ICU—Nurses for the sickest kids.
  10. Surgical ICU—Think general here. Trauma surgeries not involving the head, and general cases with complications.

Non-bedside Types of Nursing

  1. Clincial Research Nurse—Help gather and analyze data for clinical trials. You will also help enroll patients in these trials
  2. Forensic Nursing Career-Not for the faint of heart, but vital and meaningful career.
  3. Informatics Nurse-Use your nursing knowledge to help develop computer programs and charting systems for hospitals. This area of nursing has gotten a lot of attention recently
  4. Lactation Consultant—If you have never done it, you don't know how! That is where these lovely people step in and help you breastfeed.
  5. Telephone/Triage Nurse-Answer phones and triage patients for health insurance companies and doctor's offices. Many of these nurses work from home telling patients how to manage symptoms and when to seek additional medical treatment
  6. Clinical Education Specialist - Click to see what MaryAnn, a site reader,  says this job is all about.

I am sure I have missed some of the types of nurses you will find in hospitals. If you have one in mind let me know and I will add it to our list.