Choosing the right nursing specialty

One of the beauties of working in nursing is the variety of nursing specialties. Although a majority of nurses start their careers in direct patient care, they often strive to use their talents to advance in their profession and impact healthcare as a whole. As the healthcare world continues to change and expand, so do the opportunities for nurses. The new demands in providing patient care have opened up a wealth of employment opportunities within different nursing specialties. Often there is a nursing specialty that fits your skill set and experience and even your personality.

Nurse managers

If you are someone who has strong leadership experience and good interpersonal communication skills, the role of a nurse manager might be a good specialty area to consider. Not only do nurse managers oversee nursing units, but they are often in leadership roles in quality improvement departments and on patient satisfaction teams. There are many opportunities for nurses in leadership roles as the Nurses on Boards Coalition calls for 10,000 nurses on governing boards by 2020.

Nurses who know IT

Another growing type of nursing is in the area of informatics or information technology (IT). As healthcare organizations are required to implement electronic health records, nurses are perfectly poised to bridge the gap between the technical world of the electronic medical record and clinical care. A nurse with a strong interest in computers and technology would be the perfect candidate to fill that gap.

Nurse educators

Considering the projected need for approximately one million new nurses by 2022, there will be an enormous need for nurse educators. While nurses tend to be natural educators with their patients, they often feel called to give back to their profession by way of academics or staff education. This type of nursing requires patience, creativity, organization and a drive to improve those whom they teach.

Case managers

For nurses who have exceptional organizational skills and can navigate the complex healthcare environment, case management is an ideal nursing specialty to consider. Case managers can be found working in hospitals, clinics and for insurance companies, always with the goal of patient-focused care while optimizing resources.

Although nursing is one profession with many nursing specialties, the one thing nurses have in common is the need for higher education. Most of these types of nursing require the nurse to have at a minimum a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). If nurses want to move beyond the bedside or even to the boardroom, they will need to be critical thinkers and change agents with a solid understanding of the complexities of healthcare. Obtaining their BSN is the next step to help them achieve their goals.


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2014). Nursing job outlook sunny as experts project the need for more than one million new nurses by 2022.–as-experts-project-na.html

American Academy of Nursing (2014). National coalition launches effort to place 10,000 nurses on governing boards by 2020.

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