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Nursing is a profession within the health care sector focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life.

Nurses may be differentiated from other health care providers by their approach to patient care, training, and scope of practice. The opportunities in the nurse careers are endless. After several years of experience, the nurse is eligible to pursue certification in her specialty of choice. This can often mean more opportunities in the nursing profession, including leadership or management, and also usually means an increase in pay. Opportunities for certification exist in almost every field of nursing, but the requirements vary with each specialty.

Hospital Care

Many nurses begin their nurse careers in hospital care, often working in the hospital directly after graduating from nursing school. Most of the care provided to ill patients in the hospital is still provided by the registered nurse. Some nurses choose to stay in a hospital setting throughout their careers, often deciding to pursue certification as a medical-surgical nurse.


In the course of their nursing careers, cardiac nurses work with both ill and well patients. They may care for patients in the hospital who have just undergone procedures on their hearts. They may also care for patients who have suffered heart attacks or had open-heart surgery. Other cardiac nurses work in outpatient clinics, helping to test patients that are at risk for cardiac illness or patients that are recovering after being hospitalized. Certification is available for the cardiac nurse, and presents an opportunity for the cardiac nurse to become a leader in her specialty.


As a part of their nursing career, pediatric nurses work with children in many different settings. They may care for children who are hospitalized, or they may care for well or ill children in a pediatric clinic. These nurses have specialized knowledge of childhood diseases and pediatric medication dosing. They may pursue certification in their field after they have obtained several years of experience.

The pediatric nurse may work with children wherever the child is located. They may work with ill children who have been hospitalized. They also work with children recovering from surgeries while they are in the hospital. They may also work in pediatric clinics, helping to care for children who are both well and sick, often giving medications and vaccinations to these children.


ICU, or Intensive Care Unit, nurses work with the most ill patients that are hospitalized. These patients are often very near death, and ICU nurses care for them, providing critical treatment and medication. These nurses must be very focused, and have the ability to recognize symptoms and signs of progressing disease quickly, or it may result in their patient’s death. These nurses often work very independently with the lives of their patients in their hands.


Psychiatric nurses work with patients suffering from mental illnesses. During their nursing careers, they may work with hospitalized patients, or patients in recovery from substance abuse or in outpatient clinic settings. These nurses may choose to pursue certification after they have had some experience in their specialty, often after several years.

Labor and Delivery

Labor and delivery nurses help women during one of the most joyous times of life: childbirth. Through their nursing careers, labor and delivery nurses help women to give birth, and assist with the care of the postpartum woman and her baby. These nurses help women become mothers, often teaching them not only how to deal with the pain of labor, but also how to care for their new child. These nurses may pursue certification within their specialty after they have had some extensive experience.


People in dialysis nursing jobs help patients suffering from kidney failure to lead more healthy lives. During the course of her nursing career, the dialysis nurse may help patients both inside and outside the hospital to acquire life-saving dialysis treatment. These nurses have specialized knowledge of the kidneys and dialysis machinery. They may pursue certification in their field, if they choose, after they have had some experience in the specialty.

Emergency Room

Emergency room nurses work with patients who have been injured, or are newly ill and have just entered the hospital setting. Over the course of their nurse careers, these nurses may work with trauma victims, critically-ill patients, and children and adults with many different types of illnesses and injuries. These nurses have knowledge of many different types of illnesses, and are trained to recognize symptoms of serious illness. These nurses may become certified in emergency nursing after acquiring a great deal of specialized knowledge.


Neurological nurses work with patients who have suffered strokes or other neurological damage. These nurses usually work in an inpatient setting, but may also work in outpatient clinics during their nurse careers. These nurses care for stroke victims and other patients suffering from neurological problems, and help them recover their health. They have specialized knowledge of the brain and neurological systems. These nurses may become certified in their specialty after they have completed several years of employment in their field.

Operating Room

Operating room nurses work with patients who are undergoing a surgical procedure. As part of their nurse jobs, these nurses may care for patients who are preparing for surgery, recovering from surgery, or undergoing surgery. These nurses have specialized knowledge of the surgical patient, and must understand sterile techniques and the surgical process. These nurses are often certified as a part of their employment.