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Specialties by:

Work Setting or Type of Treatment, such as:

  • Perioperative (operating rooms)
  • Emergency/Trauma
  • Critical Care
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Home Health Care
  • Hospice and Palliative Care
  • Occupational Health
  • Radiology
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health

Specific Health Conditions, such as:

  • Oncology
  • Diabetes Management
  • Addictions Treatment
  • HIV/AIDS Care

Organ or Body Systems, such as:

  • Cardiovascular
  • Gastroenterology
  • Gynecology
  • Dermatology
  • Orthopedic
  • Urology
  • Respiratory

Well-defined Populations, such as:

  • Neonatology
  • Pediatrics
  • Adults
  • Geriatrics

Advanced Practice Nursing, such as:

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Nurse Anesthesiology
  • Nurse Midwifery

Nurse Practitioner, including:

  • Family, Adult, Women's Health, Pediatric, Neonatal, Geriatric, Mental Health


  • Hospitals
  • Clinics and medical centers
  • Physicians' offices and medical groups
  • Outpatient surgery centers
  • Ambulatory care centers
  • Home health agencies
  • Nursing care facilities
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Hospices
  • Dialysis centers
  • Diabetes care clinics
  • Birth centers
  • Psychiatric hospitals and mental health agencies
  • Health maintenance organizations
  • Educational institutions
  • Summer camps
  • Large corporations
  • Correctional facilities

Strategies & Information:

  • Work or volunteer in healthcare and medical settings during summers and breaks.
  • Shadow nurses in different settings to learn which ones hold the most appeal.
  • Gain experience through externship or internship programs.
  • Take electives in areas such as wellness, holistic health, medical ethics, and death and dying.
  • Get involved in student organizations and seek leadership roles.
  • Learn to be organized and to manage stress well.
  • Develop patience, the ability to work with both patients and families for long periods, and good listening skills. Learn to work effectively with people from different cultures, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Prepare to work nights, weekends, and holidays in a hospital setting.
  • Cultivate managerial skills for head nurse or other supervisory positions.
  • Many specialties exist and some nurses combine specialties, e.g. pediatric oncology.
  • Obtain a master's or doctoral degree for advanced practice nursing. Some specialties may also require certification.

Join relevant professional associations and plan to attend continuing education programs.

US News & World Report: Best Colleges, Nursing (BSN) Programs, 2022

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