Specializations In Nursing And Their Differences

Nursing continues to be an in-demand field. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), a nursing shortage is compounded by the increasing number of Baby Boomers who need care and the fact that nursing schools around the country are struggling to graduate nurses. This shortage is projected to impact 30 states, most of which are in the western United States.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) backs up the AACN. The BLS’s employment projections for 2021–2031 show that there will be a nursing shortage, especially registered nurses. At the same time, the nursing profession is expected to grow by six percent. By 2031, there will be an estimated 3.3 million in the nursing profession, with 203,200 jobs becoming available. The latter figure accounts for nurses leaving the profession or retiring.

While there is a shortage in this profession, the nursing field has expanded considerably to offer nurses more choices. For example, a graduate might find themselves working as a home care nurse, school nurse, travel nurse, in an occupational setting, or the traditional clinical setting, which offers them a wide selection of environments from which to choose. In addition to providing nurses with diverse work environments, established nursing professionals in the field and those graduating from a nursing program might also work in different specializations.

What are a few nursing specializations?


Nursing specializations can be found in just about every corner of life. Read below to see a few of the numerous options available for nurses.

Nurses in clinical settings

Within the clinical setting, nurses might work in several fields. Some specializations include cardiac, critical care, dialysis, neonatal, oncology, pediatric, and geriatric. These nurses usually function in hospitals, healthcare centers, or other clinical settings.

Cardiac nurses

In this specialization, nurses assist patients with cardiovascular disease or related problems. They monitor the patient’s health, progress, and needs. In addition, they might also serve as an educational resource.

Critical care nurses

Critical care nurses care for patients who have been seriously injured or are critically ill. They also work with patients who have potentially fatal conditions. These nurses are required to monitor their patients closely. They also carry out instructions to provide patients with the best possible care.

Dialysis nurses

These nurses care for patients who must undergo dialysis or the process of cleaning the system because the kidneys do not work properly. In addition to helping them through dialysis, these nurses also administer medications, provide support, and offer advice as the patient undergoes dialysis.

Neonatal nurses

When babies are born, the neonatal nurse helps care for them, usually in the first few weeks of their lives. These nurses learn the ins and outs of caring for newborns and knowing which conditions impact them.

Oncology nurses

nurse and doctor

Oncology nurses work in departments that deal with all cancers. They are on the front lines of helping physicians treat various cancers and monitor patients going through this ordeal. Also, they can be a resource for gaining access to information.

Pediatric nurses

People who love working with children are ideal for pediatric nursing because these professionals assist children to become healthy. They also work with families to help their children recover from their diseases/conditions. Their specialized knowledge of how children’s bodies work allows these professionals to assist the family and the children during diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment.

Outside the traditional clinical setting

Nurses who want to remain in the clinical setting can still find themselves in numerous work environments. However, nurses who do not want to be confined to hospital or clinical settings will find that there are just as many fields outside of these traditional settings.

Nursing midwives

The nurse midwife works with pregnant women. They also have specializations in prenatal care, childbirth, and postpartum recovery. These nurses are typically advanced practice nurses because of the skill and knowledge needed to care for pregnant women. Midwives are most widely associated with assisting pregnant women, but they also can help women with general services, such as gynecological and reproductive care.

Nurse researchers

These nursing professionals work in research and academia to conduct studies, analyze data, and report conclusions to govern bodies. Nurse researchers might find themselves working in both hospital and laboratory settings. They do not serve to help patients in the hospital setting, but their research contributions positively impact healthcare.

Informatics nurses

Informatics nurses work with data so they usually have a foundation in computer science, information technology, and of course, nursing. Using data, informatics nurses partner with public health agencies, insurance agencies, and nursing homes to make processes more efficient.

How Can You Begin Your Career In Any Of These Fields?

Most of these positions require the nursing professional to be a licensed practical nurse (LPN). This license does not require the student to earn a degree, but most nursing programs are connected with an associate’s program (two-year degree). While a prospective nurse might work as an LPN, more career opportunities are available for registered nurses, especially those with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Registered nurses are highly prized by hospitals and healthcare organizations. After their bachelor’s, students can earn both a master’s and a doctorate of nursing through programs that offer distinct specialties.

nurse with patient

Going to school has never been more accessible for professionals with hectic schedules. Students can take all their coursework online through programs such as the UIndy ABSN program, which is an advanced degree. In addition, they can do their clinical in a location close to them.

Specializations In Nursing: Final Words

Students looking for a future career or mid-career professionals wanting to transition into something new will find nursing an exciting career choice with limitless possibilities. The career landscape is such that many hospitals and healthcare organizations are looking for nurses to fill this demand, at least for the next decade. Will you be among the many who work in one of nursing’s rewarding fields?