There are many nursing specialties. Depending on the specialization, the scope of practice differs. Let’s now cover different types of nurses, their qualifications, and what they do.

Nurse Anesthetist

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) specializing in administering anesthesia.

They administer anesthesia during procedures under the supervision of a dentist, anesthesiologist, podiatrist, or a surgeon.

Nurse anesthetists majorly work in hospitals.

They can also work in clinical settings in the military and disadvantaged, understaffed rural areas.

CRNA may also work in other settings as a researcher, a teacher, or an administrator.

Some nurse anesthetists specialize in neurosurgical, cardiovascular, dental, pediatric, and obstetric anesthesia services.

To be a nurse anesthetist, one must be a registered nurse with a minimum of a year of experience in acute care.

They must also have a master of science in nursing degree as a nurse anesthetist.

Doctor of Nursing Practice is becoming a common qualification among nurse anesthetists.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse anesthetists earn a median salary of $179,790 per year.

The career outlook for these health professionals is promising, as the bureau projects a 13% growth by 2030.

Nurse Educator

Nurse educators work in both academic and clinical settings.

In a hospital setup, they train the nurses and the healthcare team.

They also identify areas to improve patients’ health and provide educational resources for the healthcare professionals.

Nurse educators play a major role in supporting the nursing workforce in a clinical setup.

In academics, they bring their years of experience and expertise in advanced nursing practices.

Nurse educators design, implement and evaluate educational programs and teach nursing students.

They facilitate the training of student nurses and also take part in developing continuing education programs to ensure nurses’ training is up-to-date.

Nurse educators must have a master of science in nursing.

More nurse educators are earning a Doctor of Nursing in Practice (DNP).

Nurse educators often specialize in pediatric nursing, geriatric nursing, or nursing informatics.

BLS estimates that the median salary of nurse educators is $101,741.

The profession is expected to grow by 2.1% in the next decade.

Oncology Nurse

Oncology nurses are involved in nursing cancer patients.

When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, oncology nurses take care of them, from the diagnosis to symptoms management to treatment.

They monitor them closely and administer medication.

Their work environment is mainly in the hospital, although they may be employed in ambulatory centers, home care organizations, and specialty medical centers.

The minimum requirement to be an oncology nurse is an associate of science degree in nursing.

However, many employers prefer a BSN.

Additionally, one must be a registered nurse and take the oncology certified nurse exam.

With the constantly rising number of cancer cases across all ages, there’s no doubt that this is a promising career.

Nurse Midwife

Nurse-midwives are advanced practice registered nurses with certification in midwifery and women’s health.

To be a certified nurse-midwife (CNM), one must have a master’s degree and practice licensure from their state and nurse-midwife certification, which the American College of Nurse-Midwives offers.

Nurse-midwives provide care to pregnant women during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

They also provide family planning services and gynecological care.

Nurse-midwives earn a median salary of $105,030 per year.

According to BLS, the nurse-midwife profession will grow by 11% through 2030.

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners provide advanced healthcare services.

Their roles involve disease management, health promotion and prevention, and wellness.

They diagnose, interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe medication, and perform in-office procedures.

Nurse practitioners can further specialize in adult, pediatric care, anesthetic, and primary health care.

Nurse practitioners are often front-line healthcare providers in underserved rural healthcare facilities given the advanced services they offer.

To be a nurse practitioner, one must have experience as a registered nurse before enrolling in an MNS program.

The median salary of nurse practitioners is $109,820.

The demand for this designation is projected to grow by 52% by 2030.

Clearly, the nurse practitioner profession is a hot cake.

Emergency Room Nurse

Emergency room nurses are first-line care providers to patients who need urgent medical assistance.

The nurses work hand-in-hand with first responders and emergency medical staff.

Since they collaborate with other professions, they must have strong communication and critical thinking skills to think on their feet in medical emergencies and communicate effectively with other team members.

ER nurses take up many roles in emergencies.

They conduct examinations, determine the order of treatment, monitor patients’ progress.

These health care professionals work in different work environments, including level 1 trauma centers, clinics, and rural hospitals.

ER nurses are registered nurses with additional certifications like the Trauma Nursing Core Course.

More than that, ER nurses can specialize in newborn life support, pediatric or advanced cardiac.

ER nurses earn an average of $78,000 per year. 

Travel Nurse

Travel nurses, like the name suggests, are registered nurses who provide their health care services around the world as they travel.

They can be called upon in another country in the face of a calamity.

Sometimes, they may fill in for nurses on sick or maternity leave. 

Their jobs are usually on a short-term basis since they move around.

To be a travel nurse, one must have an associate degree in nursing and be a registered nurse.

On average, travel nurses earn $76,380.

Informatics Nurse Specialist

We are in a digital era, and so is the nursing profession.

Hence, informatics nurse specialists incorporate information technology with nursing science.

They are registered nurses with IT training in the healthcare system.

Informatics nurse specialists work in large medical facilities to improve processes and systems.

These professionals analyze data in a hospital facility to improve workflow processes, reduce the risk of medical errors, and enhance patient care.

Moreover, they train other medical staff, maintain medical hardware and software, and review the facility’s IT.

They double up as nurses and technology liaisons in a hospital.

Informatics nurse specialists have a bachelor of science in nursing.

Some have a master’s in management, health informatics, and healthcare management.

Some informatics nurse specialists pursue further education in computer science and information technology.

The average salary of these professionals is $91,590.

Critical Care Nurse

Critical care nurses work in specialty hospitals and intensive care units, providing specialized care for patients in critical conditions.

They are registered nurses with additional certification.

The most common certification for this specialty is the Adult Critical Care Nurses (CCRN), administered by the American Association of Critical Care Nurse.

Critical care nurses earn an average salary of $78,000 annually.

Nursing Assistant

Certified nursing assistants are also referred to as nursing aides, patient care assistants, and nursing assistants.

These healthcare professionals work in long-term care facilities, nursing facilities, and hospitals.

They work under the close supervision of an LPN or an RN.

Nursing aids help bath patients and assist them in dressing and walk.

They also monitor patients and report to an RN.

To be a certified nursing assistant, one must complete a state-approved CNA program and gain on-job training.

They earn an average of $30,830 annually.

BLS projects an 8% growth rate in the next decade.


There you have it.

Everything you need to know about what a nurse is and what you need to do to become one.

There are many entry points to the nursing profession as we’ve discussed.

Additionally, there are many nursing specialists you can pursue.

The next step is to look into the options available and get started right away.

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