Healthcare professionals in a hospital hallway

16 Different Types of Hospital Nursing Jobs

The Most Popular Nursing Specializations and What it Takes to Succeed

Healthcare professionals in a hospital hallway

Hospital nursing jobs are one of the most common positions available in hospitals. In fact, as of May 2019, the BLS reports that nurses made up about 30% of all employees working in a hospital. That makes nursing a critical backbone in hospital care nationwide.

Most Registered Nurses (RNs) work in hospitals—keep reading for the specific numbers. Those hospital RNs include specialized nurses who work in different medical departments, requiring unique skills and certifications. You may not be aware of the many possible areas RNs can choose to specialize in. (Click here to read How to Become a Registered Nurse.)

Below is an overview of 16 hospital nursing specialties and the education, training, and certifications required to perform these jobs. To learn more about the duties of each type of hospital nurse, plus the salary* information for each, take a look at our 10 Highest Paid Nursing Jobs in 2023.

How Many Nurses Work in Hospitals?

Nurses make up most of the nation’s healthcare profession, with nearly 4.2 million RNs working in the US. There are also about 950,000 Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) working nationwide. Of all RNs currently working, the overwhelming majority, 57%, work in hospitals.

Many hospitals experienced front-line worker shortages during the pandemic, most of whom were nurses. In fact, the total number of working nurses dropped by about 100,000 during this period.

As the pandemic was ending, burnout at hospitals took a toll. In January 2023, more than 7,000 nurses from two of New York’s most prominent hospitals went on strike. Today, as dedicated nurses return to a more normal workplace after the pandemic, the demand for a new generation of nurses to fill essential roles is expected to continue.

The Different Types of Nurses in Hospitals

The following summaries of 16 different types of nurses in hospitals give you a good background of what they do, where they work, and how you can specialize in each area. Read through each summary to get a solid understanding of each specialty—and which ones sound the most interesting to you.

Nurse taking a man's heartrate

1. Cardiac Nurse

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, accounting for one in every five deaths in 2020. That’s why many doctors and healthcare workers are devoted to treating this disease. Cardiac Nurses are part of this team.

What is a Cardiac Nurse?

Under the supervision of cardiologists, Cardiac Nurses assist in treating patients with heart disease, helping them recover from heart surgeries.

What Does a Cardiac Nurse Do?

Cardiac Nurses help to provide comprehensive care to cardiac patients. They work closely with doctors and other healthcare providers and perform duties such as:

  • Assist in diagnostics and screenings for patients
  • Help patients recover from heart surgery, angioplasty and other procedures
  • Educate patients on lifestyle management and recovery
  • Provide compassion and support to patients and families

Where Do Cardiac Nurses Work?

Most Cardiac Nurses work in hospitals, providing care to patients who are having surgery or a related heart procedure. Some nurses may work at clinics or provide home health care to patients.

What are the Requirements to Become a Cardiac Nurse?

You’ll first complete a nursing program by earning an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or by earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Once finishing your program, you’ll prepare for and take the NCLEX-RN certification exam to become a Registered Nurse.

To specialize as a Cardiac Nurse, there are several certifications you can pursue, including Cardiovascular Nurse (Level I or II), Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification, or Certified Cardiac Rehabilitation Professional.

Learn More

How to Become a Cardiac Nurse


Female nurse checking on a male patient

2. Critical Care Nurse

Over 5 million patients are admitted yearly to intensive care units (ICUs) for close monitoring and treatment for life-threatening medical issues. This concentrated care is vital for seriously ill patients, and Critical Care Nurses play an essential role in their care.

What is a Critical Care Nurse?

Critical Care Nurses care for critically ill patients, many times taking place in hospital ICUs. These nurses use special technology, constant monitoring, and advanced medication administration to treat these patients.

What Does a Critical Care Nurse Do?

These nurses are responsible for constantly monitoring patients and are often the primary source of updates for family members. Their typical duties include:

  • Serve as integral members of the multidisciplinary healthcare team
  • Collaborate with physicians, case managers, therapists, and other nurses
  • Administer medications, ventilator care, infusions, central line care, etc.
  • Keep a record of all changes in a patient’s status and wellbeing

Where Do Critical Care Nurses Work?

Critical care nurses typically work in the ICUs of public and private hospitals and other critical care centers.

What are the Requirements to Become a Critical Care Nurse?

You’ll need to obtain an ADN or BSN degree before taking and passing the NCLEX-RN exam to become a Registered Nurse and start working in the field.

Critical Care Nurse certification and Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification are usually required for RNs that work in critical care. Additionally, some hospitals need nurses to complete 4 to 6 weeks of training and orientation for their unit.

Click here to learn more about how to become a Critical Care Nurse.


Team of medical professionals transporting a patient

3. Emergency Nurse

Did you know that in the US, patients make more than 130 million visits to hospital emergency departments each year? Moreover, injuries make up more than 38 million of those visits. Emergency Nurses are trained to care for these patients.

What is an Emergency Nurse?

Emergency Nurses, also called Emergency Room or ER Nurses, care for patients in emergency rooms—who usually require immediate treatment due to injury or other urgent, sometimes life-threatening symptoms.

What Does an Emergency Nurse Do?

In the fast-paced ER, Emergency Nurses perform some specialized tasks in addition to most RNs’ regular duties—like cleaning and dressing severe wounds. Other duties they perform include:

  • Leading emergency response teams and assessing patients’ needs
  • Prioritizing care based on patient conditions and critical need
  • Carrying out treatment plans and assisting with procedures and tests
  • Using advanced equipment to monitor and treat patients

Where Do Emergency Nurses Work?

Emergency Nurses usually work in ER departments at hospitals and may also work in specialty clinics or even in an ambulance.

What are the Requirements to Become an Emergency Nurse?

To become an Emergency Nurse, you’ll first need to complete a nursing program by earning an ADN or BSN degree and then prepare for and pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become a licensed RN.

You may work in general nursing for a couple of years before working in an emergency room position. You will want to earn certification in emergency care to qualify for the best jobs.

An important certification to pursue is the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN). But depending on your position, you may also choose to earn other specialized certifications such as Trauma Certified Registered Nurse (TCRN) or Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN).

Learn More

How to Become an Emergency Nurse


Male nurse with an elderly patient

4. Geriatric Nurse

People are living longer. In fact, by 2030, the World Health Organization reports that 1 in 6 people will be over the age of 60. This aging population will need specialized medical care, called geriatrics. Geriatric Nurses play a big part in that care.

What is a Geriatric Nurse?

Geriatric Nurses care for 16.5% of the US population aged 65 or older. These patients often require special care for the health issues and diseases more common for older patients.

What Does a Geriatric Nurse Do?

Geriatric Nurses provide much of the same care as typical nurses but also provide specific care and duties unique to elderly patients. Some of these regular duties include:

  • Assisting patients with daily living tasks like bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom
  • Collecting blood work and lab tests as ordered by a physician
  • Helping patients exercise and providing muscle massage
  • Transporting patients to doctor visits and other medical appointments

Where Do Geriatric Nurses Work?

They work in geriatrics clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and other care centers for senior citizens. They may also work as traveling nurses providing home health care for patients.

What are the Requirements to Become a Geriatric Nurse?

To work as a Geriatric Nurse, you’ll first need to become a Registered Nurse by completing an ADN or BSN nursing program and passing the NCLEX-RN exam.

You’ll have more opportunities for advancement as a Geriatric Nurse with certification, such as the Gerontological Nursing Certification (GERO-BC™) offered by The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Before certifying, you must complete two years of experience as an RN and 2,000 hours of clinical practice in gerontology.

Learn More

How to Become a Geriatric Nurse


Medical professionals in protective gear

5. Infection Control Nurse

The Centers for Disease Prevention (CDC) is focused on stopping the spread of infectious diseases. You may recognize the CDC as the agency that helped form guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid during the recent pandemic. Nurses can choose to specialize in this area of medicine.

What is an Infection Control Nurse?

Infection Control Nurses (ICNs) help to prevent the spread of infectious agents such as bacteria and viruses. They may also help to identify infectious diseases and educate patients on how to prevent the spread of disease.

What Does an Infection Control Nurse Do?

Preventing and controlling the spread of infectious diseases is the key to protecting the public. Infection Control Nurses accomplish this in several ways, including:

  • Understand the risks of infection due to outbreaks like Ebola or Covid
  • Identify, create, and launch best practices for infection management
  • Communicate best practices to colleagues caring for patients
  • Help ensure hospitals and medical centers are safe and sanitary for patients

Where Do Infection Control Nurses Work?

ICNs usually work in hospitals, community care centers, nursing homes, and other healthcare settings where patients are treated.

What are the Requirements to Become an Infection Control Nurse?

Registered Nurses who have passed the NCLEX-RN exam after completing an ADN or BSN degree may choose to specialize in an ICN. RNs must spend at least a year working as an RN before seeking certification.

After meeting the minimum requirements, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) is the organization that offers certification for Infection Control Nurses.

Learn More

How to Become an Infection Control Nurse


Medical professional with a newborn baby

6. Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse

Did you know that between 10% and 15% of all babies born in the US require special care in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)? Neonatal Intensive Care Nurses are part of the specialized healthcare team that cares for these newborns.

What is a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse?

Neonatal Intensive Care Nurses, also called NICU Nurses, care for newborn infants with a variety of health issues like prematurity, congenital disabilities, cardiac issues, infection, and other conditions that require special monitoring and care.

What Does a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse Do?

Working in a NICU environment can be extremely challenging but equally rewarding. Some of the duties you may perform in this role include:

  • Care for as many as four critically ill infants at a time
  • Provided extended care to infants with prematurity or other illness
  • Run various medical tests and operate specialized equipment
  • Support and educate families dealing with various newborn conditions

Where Do Neonatal Intensive Care Nurses Work?

Neonatal Intensive Care Nurses work in hospitals with labor and delivery departments, level II nurseries (less acutely ill infants), or level III nurseries (more critically ill infants).

What are the Requirements to Become a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse?

After earning an ADN or BSN in nursing and passing the NCLEX-RN exam, you may specialize as a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse. Nurse Practitioners, who have earned a master’s degree or doctorate in nursing, may also choose to specialize in neonatal intensive care.

Whether you’re an RN or Nurse Practitioner, your employer may prefer that you obtain additional certifications. Two certifications that NICU nurses can pursue are RNC Certification for Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing (RNC-NIC®) and NCC Board Certification as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP-BC®), both offered by the National Certification Corporation (NCC),

Click here to learn more about how to become a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse.


Team of medical professionals in a conference room

7. Nurse Administrator

Among the various RN hospital jobs you might pursue, one is the role of Nurse Administrator. This nurse serves in a supervisory position to help manage RNs and other department staff.

What is a Nurse Administrator?

Nurse Administrators manage, supervise, and recruit nurses in various hospital departments. They often report on the department’s development and productivity to the hospital’s CEO.

What Does a Nurse Administrator Do?

Nurse Administrators work in an office, helping to create policies and procedures for staff. They rarely interact directly with patients themselves. Some of the duties they perform include:

  • Develop nurses’ skills through practical training programs
  • Prepare budgets and financial reports for hospital executives
  • Create work schedules and conduct staff meetings for nurses
  • Set performance goals for nurses and other department employees

Where Do Nurse Administrators Work?

The BLS reports that the largest segment of medical and health services managers work in hospitals, including state, local, and private hospitals. But some administrators work in physician’s offices, nursing and residential care facilities, or outpatient care centers.

What are the Requirements to Become a Nurse Administrator?

For administration jobs like this one, a bachelor’s degree is usually required (i.e., Bachelor of Science in Nursing ), but employers sometimes prefer master’s degrees. Additionally, up to a year of supervised administrative experience in a hospital or other healthcare setting may be required. Nurse Administrators with clinical experience in the type of department they want to help manage may have an advantage.

Click here to learn more about how to become a Nurse Administrator.


Midwife with a pregnant patient on a couch

8. Nurse Midwife

Midwife-attended births in the US are the highest in decades—at 1 in every ten births. Like OB-GYNs, Nurse Midwives are trained to provide medical care and support during prenatal care, labor and delivery, and reproductive health.

What is a Nurse Midwife?

Nurse Midwives are part of the team providing medical care for patients before, during, and after pregnancy. They have a particular focus on natural techniques for childbirth and work with doctors and other healthcare providers.

What Does a Nurse Midwife Do?

Nurse Midwives are typically considered an excellent alternative to a traditional OB-GYN if a pregnancy is deemed low-risk. They provide a more holistic approach to pregnancy and childbirth and may perform the following duties:

  • Assist with prenatal and postpartum care
  • Provide care during childbirth, assess labor and complications, help manage pain, and perform episiotomies
  • Support new mothers who are breastfeeding with education and training
  • Perform preventive health screenings and tests

Where Do Nurse Midwives Work?

Nursing Midwives work in hospitals, birthing centers, health departments, and private practices.

What are the Requirements to Become a Nurse Midwife?

As with most nursing specialties, a Nurse Midwife must complete an ADN or BSN degree, pass the NCLEX-RN exam, and become a Registered Nurse. After that, they can complete a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (DNP).

Qualified applicants must pass an American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) exam to become a Certified Nurses Midwife.

Click here to learn more about how to become a Certified Nurse Midwife.


Nurse with an oncology patient

9. Oncology Nurse

In 2019, about 1.7 million new cancer cases were reported in the US. In the same year, nearly 600,000 people died of cancer. That’s 439 new cases for every 100,000 people. It’s oncology doctors and nurses that help treat patients with cancer.

What is an Oncology Nurse?

Under the direction of a doctor, Oncology Nurses specialize in caring for and treating cancer patients.

What Does an Oncology Nurse Do?

Oncology Nurses work under the direction of doctors and in conjunction with other healthcare professionals to assess patients, coordinate care and help administer medications and treatments. Some of the regular duties they perform include:

  • Help patients understand their cancer and treatment plan
  • Keep track of laboratory, pathology, and imaging studies
  • Administer medications, fluids, and cancer treatments like chemotherapy
  • Help patients plan for and manage symptoms throughout treatment

Where Do Oncology Nurses Work?

Oncology Nurses work in various settings, including hospitals, cancer treatment clinics, and outpatient care centers. Some may work in private physician’s offices or long-term care facilities.

What are the Requirements to Become an Oncology Nurse?

You must complete an ADN or BSN nursing program and then pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become a licensed Registered Nurse. To become oncology certified, RNs must meet additional eligibility criteria and pass a certification exam.

Advanced certification requires RNs to complete an MSN degree or higher, complete several clinical practice hours, and sometimes complete specific training. Certification is offered by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC).

Learn More

How to Become an Oncology Nurse


Close up of a nurse using a stethoscope

10. Palliative Care Nurse

Palliative care is a medical specialty focused on providing relief from the symptoms of ongoing illness. The Center to Advance Palliative Care reports that about 90 million Americans are living with serious illness—and that number could double in the next 25 years with the aging of baby boomers.

What is a Palliative Care Nurse?

A Palliative Care Nurse, also called a Hospice Nurse, provides healthcare for terminal patients suffering from severe illnesses after recovery is no longer feasible.

What Does a Palliative Care Nurse Do?

Besides providing comfort and primary medical care, Palliative Care Nurses provide treatments to relieve pain and suffering for patients. They also perform other duties, including:

  • Provide pain relief and solutions to other physical discomforts, such as bed sores
  • Administer medication according to orders given by a physician
  • Uphold medical ethics and laws to ensure the best, empathetic care
  • Counsel patients on their treatments and offer support to families

Where Do Palliative Care Nurses Work?

Palliative Care Nurses work in hospitals, hospice centers, and sometimes in-home healthcare services, traveling to patients’ homes to provide care.

What are the Requirements to Become a Palliative Care Nurse?

To become a Palliative Care Nurse, an ADN or BSN degree is required, in addition to passing the NCLEX-RN exam.

Once licensed as an RN, nurses wishing to specialize have the option of at least five certifications specific to palliative and hospice care. Two examples include Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPN) and Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (ACHPN). These certifications are offered by the Hospice & Palliative Nurses Association.

Learn More

How to Become a Palliative Care Nurse


Female nurse examining a child

11. Pediatric Nurse

There are nearly 74 million children in the US. This population is treated by over 10,000 pediatricians specializing in treating children, helping keep them healthy and disease-free.

What is a Pediatric Nurse?

Pediatric Nurses are specialized nurses who work in the field of pediatrics. They provide medical treatment for children ranging from infants to teenagers.

What Does a Pediatric Nurse Do?

Supporting pediatricians as part of a multidisciplinary team, Pediatric Nurses must understand the growth and development that occurs throughout childhood. They treat children for various medical conditions. Duties they perform include:

  • Monitor the health of young patients and provide care and support
  • Track and administer childhood vaccinations and immunizations
  • Help conduct clinical research about children’s health conditions
  • Educate families on treatments and how to care for their children

Where Do Pediatric Nurses Work?

Pediatric Nurses mainly work in hospitals and private pediatrician’s offices. Some may also work in clinics, schools, or for the government.

What are the Requirements to Become a Pediatric Nurse?

Nurses with an ADN or BSN degree who have passed the NCLEX-RN exam may choose to specialize as Pediatric Nurses. To do so, RNs must complete 1,800 hours of work experience before gaining the Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) credential.

Those who have earned a master’s or a doctorate may qualify for advanced certifications such as Acute Care Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP-AC). Both certifications are offered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB).


Psychiatric nurse with a patient using virtual reality goggles

12. Psychiatric Nurse

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states that 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness each year and that 1 in 6 youth between the ages of 6 and 17 experience a mental health disorder each year. Psychiatric Nurses are part of the mental health teams that address mental illness.

What is a Psychiatric Nurse?

A Psychiatric Nurse treats patients with different mental illnesses, from children to older adults.

What Does a Psychiatric Nurse Do?

Psychiatric Nurses help treat patients with mental illness while coordinating their care with a team of psychiatrists, case managers, and social workers. Some conditions they treat are mood, psychotic, eating, and addiction disorders. Common duties they perform include:

  • Conduct mental health assessments for patients
  • Administer medications and take note of side effects
  • Educate patients and facilitate group therapy
  • Coordinate care with other healthcare professionals

Where Do Psychiatric Nurses Work?

Psychiatric Nurses work in various settings, like hospitals, government agencies, clinics, correctional facilities, and assisted living centers.

What are the Requirements to Become a Psychiatric Nurse?

Like most nursing specialties we’ve covered, becoming a Psychiatric Nurse requires an ADN or BSN before taking and passing the NCLEX-RN exam to become a licensed RN.

Next, you can start working toward obtaining your certification in psychiatric nursing. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is the organization that offers this credential. To certify, you’ll need two years of experience as an RN, 30 hours of continuing education, and at least 2,000 hours in clinical psych nursing within three years.


Nurse with a young male patient

13. Rehabilitation Nurse

Rehabilitation can speed up recoveries for patients from all types of operations, like joint replacement, abdominal surgery, or even cancer treatments. Rehabilitation can help improve your range of motion, strengthen muscles, reduce pain, and help you get back on your feet.

What is a Rehabilitation Nurse?

Working on a multidisciplinary team, Rehabilitation Nurses, also called Rehab Nurses, help people with disabilities and chronic illnesses to attain optimal function, health, and independence.

What Does a Rehabilitation Nurse Do?

Rehab Nurses provide direct care to patients, coordinate with other healthcare providers, and manage paperwork. Duties they perform include:

  • Monitor vital signs, administer medicine, and perform treatments
  • Create patient care plans and record patient updates
  • Counsel patients and their families on recovery issues
  • Educate other healthcare professionals on rehab best practices

Where Do Rehabilitation Nurses Work?

Rehab Nurses practice in settings that include hospitals, inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation centers, private practices, long-term care facilities, and community or home health environments.

What are the Requirements to Become a Rehabilitation Nurse?

To become a Rehab Nurse, you’ll typically earn an ADN or BSN degree and then take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become a Registered Nurse. Advanced practice nurses may also choose to obtain an MSN degree.

Once you have two years of experience in rehabilitation nursing, you can increase your employment opportunities by earning the Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN®). This credential is available through the Rehabilitation Nursing Certification Board (RNCB).

Learn More

How to Become a Rehabilitation Nurse


Team of medical professionals during surgery

14. Surgical Nurse

More than 40 million major surgeries are performed annually in the United States. Some of the most common surgeries include appendectomy, cesarean section, coronary artery bypass, mastectomy, and tonsillectomy. Surgical nurses are part of the surgical teams that perform these surgeries.

What is a Surgical Nurse?

Surgical Nurses assist surgeons in the operating room but also help to care for patients before and after surgery.

What Does a Surgical Nurse Do?

Surgical Nurses’ duties include preparing the operating room before surgery and assisting both surgeons and anesthetists during surgery. Some of the everyday tasks they perform include:

  • Prepare patients for procedures and maintain intravenous therapy
  • Manage patient pain relief and monitor patient response
  • Establish care plans for ICU, CCU, cardiac, and neurological patients
  • Assist surgeon with technical duties, maintaining scopes and equipment

Where Do Surgical Nurses Work?

Surgical Nurses work in settings where surgeries are performed, including hospitals, ambulatory, and day-surgery centers.

What are the Requirements to Become a Surgical Nurse?

To become a Surgical Nurse, you must attend a nursing program and earn an ADN or BSN. You’ll then need to prepare to take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become a licensed Registered Nurse.

Once you’ve obtained your license, you’ll need to complete two years of clinical experience in the field before obtaining specialized certification. You can pursue two certifications: Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN) and Certified Perioperative Nurse (CNOR).

Learn More

How to Become a Surgical Nurse


Close up of a nurse wrapping a wound

15. Wound Care Nurse

Did you know that 1 in 38 adults is affected by a chronic wound yearly in the United States? Chronic wounds, such as diabetic foot ulcers, can be painful and limit social activities, mobility, and quality of life. Nurses who work in this field are called Wound Care Nurses.

What is a Wound Care Nurse?

Wound Care Nurses specialize in treating many types of wounds, helping patients manage pain and avoid infection.

What Does a Wound Care Nurse Do?

Wounds requiring medical treatment range from burns to foot ulcers—and even traumatic wounds. Wound Care Nurses assist physicians in the treatment of wounds and perform the following duties:

  • Assess injuries, identify treatment options, and assist in wound care procedures
  • Assist in treating traumatic wounds like lacerations and animal bites
  • Sterilize, dress, and bandage various open wounds and burns
  • Educate patients and families on self-sufficient care outside of the hospital

Where Do Wound Care Nurses Work?

As an RN specializing in wound care, you’ll typically work in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home healthcare, and acute care centers.

What are the Requirements to Become a Wound Care Nurse?

After completing a nursing program by obtaining an ADN or BSN, and then successfully taking and passing the NCLEX-RN exam, you can choose to specialize in wound care by completing any of three certifications—or all three.

One certification is involved in treating wounds (CWCN®), one certifies you in continence care (CCCN®), and one in ostomies (COCN®). If a nurse certifies in all three, they identify as a Certified Wound Ostomy and Continence Nurse (CWOCN®). These certifications are offered by the WOCNCB®,

Learn More

How to Become a Wound Care Nurse


Travel nurse holding a virtual globe

16. Travel Nurse

Travel Nurses bring nursing to areas where nurses are needed most. During the pandemic in 2021, one healthcare recruiting firm reported that the demand for Travel Nurses grew by 68 percent over the previous year. But the middle of a pandemic isn’t the only time these nurses are needed.

What is a Travel Nurse?

Travel Nurses are RNs who work in temporarily in each location, usually for a set number of weeks. They may work for a nursing staffing agency instead of a facility.

What Does a Travel Nurse Do?

These nurses fill gaps in staffing needs across the country due to nursing shortages, leaves of absence, or increased demand in healthcare services. They perform many of the same tasks as non-traveling RNs, including:

  • Assist in caring for patients in hospitals or physician’s offices
  • Travel to patient’s homes or other locations to administer medication
  • Perform tests such as blood pressure, glucose levels, and others
  • Assess patient’s wellbeing, inspect wounds and change dressings

Where Do Travel Nurses Work?

Travel nurses work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and many times work in specialized areas such as ICUs, emergency rooms, progressive care units, surgery units, or telemetry. They may also work in home healthcare.

What are the Requirements to Become a Travel Nurse?

You’ll first need to become an RN by obtaining an ADN or BSN, and then passing the NCLEX-RN exam. Note that most travel nurse staffing organizations prefer a BSN. After becoming licensed, you’ll typically need to gain a year of nursing experience before signing on with a travel nurse staffing agency.

As far as specializing, Travel Nurses can specialize in just about every area mentioned in this article. With certifications in certain areas, such as pediatric, geriatric, or infection control, you may be more qualified for some placements. Obtaining multiple certifications in several areas will make you even more versatile as a Travel Nurse.

Learn More

How to Become a Travel Nurse

Which Nursing Specialization Will You Pursue?

Now that you’ve had an introduction to 16 of the most common types of nurses that work in hospitals, and the vital role that specialized nurses play in supporting patient care and hospital operations, you may be ready to explore a career as a Registered Nurse in hospital nursing.

As detailed in this article, the number of possible career paths for RNs is almost unlimited. Within each specialization, you can identify the specific kinds of certifications you want to pursue. You can also choose to advance to other careers in nursing by continuing your education and earning an MSN or DNP.

To get started, look at the BSN Program at Eagle Gate College. Or, if you already work as an RN with an associate degree, consider our RN-to-BSN Program.