Nursing Careers

Nursing is the largest healthcare field, combining science and technology with the desire to help people. Three out of five nurses work in hospitals, but a wide variety of organizations also employ nurses. Many nursing positions have flexible schedules and allow for part-time work. Nursing requires both physical stamina and emotional stability, and nurses must possess the ability to follow orders and direct others.


All states regulate nursing by requiring licensure and requirements for licensure vary by state. If a nurse is licensed in Missouri as their primary state, they may be able to practice in other states under their Missouri license.

However, if you are looking to be licensed in a state or U.S. territory other than Missouri, please review that state or territory's requirements as we cannot guarantee our program will meet their licensure requirements.

States Outside of the NLC Compact

The following states and territories are not currently in the NLC compact. Their status and a link to the state or territory's licensure information is available under its name:

Types of Nursing Careers

Entering a field of advanced practice nursing, for example, a clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist or nursing administration, requires earning a master's degree. Teaching or conducting research may even require a doctoral degree.

For more information about nursing as a career, visit the following links:

Staff Nursing Specialties

By Work Setting or Type of Treatment:

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

By Specific Health Conditions:

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

By Organ or Body Systems:

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

By Well-Defined Populations:

  • Neonatology
  • Pediatrics
  • Adults
  • Geriatrics

By Advanced Practice Nursing:

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Nurse Anesthesiology
  • Nurse-Midwifery

By Nurse Practitioner:

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

By Employer:

  • 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

How to Prepare for a Staff Nursing Position

  • 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
  • Investigate specialties; some nurses combine specialties, i.e. pediatric oncology
  • Obtain a master's or doctoral degree for advanced practice nursing because some specialties may also require certification
  • Join relevant professional associations and plan to attend continuing education programs

Community & Public Health Nursing

Areas of Employment

  • Home Health
  • Rural Nursing
  • Health Education


  • Public and private schools
  • Daycare centers
  • Mental health facilities
  • State and local health departments
  • Home healthcare agencies
  • Senior centers
  • Nurse-run clinics
  • Religious organizations
  • Social service agencies

How to Prepare for a Community and Public Health Nursing Position

  • Develop knowledge and skills in management, decision-making, mediation, teaching, counseling, speaking and writing
  • Gain experience in the ability to handle emergencies, work independently and be flexible
  • Develop expertise in first aid procedures
  • Expand knowledge of health issues related to age, cultures, religions, ethics and government policies
  • Obtain a master's degree for nurse practitioner positions

Independent Practice Nursing

Areas of Employment

  • Temporary Staffing
  • Travel Nursing
  • Personal Services Contracting
  • Private Duty


  • Healthcare staffing agencies
  • Travel companies
  • Businesses and organizations with temporary needs
  • Private households

How to Prepare for an Independent Practice Nursing Position

  • Gain years of experience in a hospital or other healthcare setting
  • Learn to work autonomously and make decisions independently
  • Be prepared to move frequently to various locations, either locally or abroad
  • Become flexible and adaptable

Government Service

Areas of Employment

  • Staff Nursing
  • Administration
  • Policy Development
  • Research


  • Government health agencies including:
    • Public Health Service
    • Indian Health Service
    • Veterans Affairs
    • Peace Corps
    • Americorps-VISTA
  • Armed services
  • Prisons

How to Prepare for a Government Service Nursing Position

  • Define an area of interest since government work offers a variety of practices
  • Earn a master's or doctoral degree for positions involving research, policy development or administration
  • Become familiar with other cultures, languages, health systems and beliefs.
  • Be prepared for combat nursing in armed services


Areas of Employment

  • Teaching
  • Educational Administration


  • Teaching hospitals
  • Colleges and universities
  • Schools of nursing

How to Prepare for an Education-based Nursing Position

  • Develop patience, sensitivity to the needs of young adults as well as patients, and the ability to accept responsibility for the actions of others
  • Take courses in the principles and practices of teaching
  • Earn an advanced degree to teach at the college or university level
  • Gain experience in public speaking

Nursing Research


  • Large hospitals and medical centers
  • Colleges and universities
  • Centers for nursing research
  • National Institute for Nursing
  • Pharmaceutical companies

Strategies and Information

  • Gain experience with research through supervised independent study or class projects
  • Develop curiosity, analytical thinking, attention to detail, persistence, good writing skills and an understanding of statistics
  • Maintain a high grade point average and secure strong faculty recommendations.
  • Obtain a doctoral degree in nursing



  • Call centers
  • Private offices
  • Clinics
  • Health maintenance organizations
  • Hospitals

Strategies and Information

  • Work in other practices for five to ten years to gain the necessary experience
  • Develop good communication skills and the ability to make important decisions quickly
  • Earn the Telehealth Nurse Certification

International Health Nursing

Areas of Employment

  • Clinical Nursing
  • Emergency Relief
  • Policy Development


  • Embassies
  • Military bases
  • National or international government agencies
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Humanitarian organizations
  • Private voluntary organizations
  • Church-related mission services
  • World Health Organization

Strategies and Information

  • Consider advanced education as a clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner to be more marketable
  • Learn a foreign language and an appreciation for other cultures.
  • Study or volunteer abroad
  • Participate in medical mission trips
  • Inquire about the need for additional preparation in religious studies or similar courses
  • Research nursing requirements in other countries

Other Areas of Nursing

Areas of Employment

  • Insurance (Underwriting and Claims)
  • Sales
  • Product management
  • Quality assurance
  • Writing
  • Law
  • Forensic nursing
  • Healthcare administration
  • Information management
  • Patient advocacy
  • Case management
  • Employers' insurance companies
  • Hospitals
  • Health maintenance organizations
  • Business and industry:
    • Pharmaceutical companies
    • Medical equipment and supplies manufacturers
    • Medical marketing firms
  • Law firms
  • Medical and health publications
  • Healthcare websites
  • Healthcare advertising agencies
  • Public relations firms
  • Professional associations

Strategies and Information

  • Combine interest in nursing and health care with another field by earning appropriate graduate degrees or gaining relevant experience
  • Minor in business or communications as an undergraduate
  • Develop strong computer skills and an understanding of business practices
  • Gain experience as a staff nurse before taking expertise in another direction
  • Demonstrate initiative and effective leadership
  • Get involved with relevant professional associations

Our Programs

Are you interested in finding a nursing career that fits your preferences? Take a look at the nursing programs offered at Goldfarb School of Nursing.


BSN Degree

Nursing is the largest healthcare field, combining science and technology with the desire to help people.


MSN Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Master's Certificates