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Nursing Career Options

*Original post released 7/9/2020

Nursing is arguably one of the most versatile professions. There are endless options for the new grad nurse, the nurse who needs a change of scenery, or the nurse seeking to further their career. Should you be in need of inspiration, find that a specialty doesn’t suit you, need a change of pace, or need a new challenge, nursing is definitely the profession that keeps on giving. This is one of the main reasons I pursued a degree and profession in nursing…aside from the obvious perk of selflessly helping others in their most vulnerable times of need. In this article, I’ll list ten of the lesser known career opportunities for nurses, provide a brief description of each, and link the job title to more information if you find yourself interested in that career path.

  1. Forensic Nursing: This type of nurse assists those in need of medical assistance who are victims of abuse-related crimes. Their job description can include collecting evidence, medical/psychological care of the victim, and providing testimony during legal proceedings among other duties. Their job requires specific training to handle evidence and to care for these victims. There can be different sub-specialties depending on the area you work in. These include sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse/neglect, elder abuse/neglect, and more!
  2. Cruise Ship Nursing: Love nursing? Love to travel? Then cruise ship nursing may be the career path for you! These nurses can work in a clinic setting, triage setting, and even in critical care scenarios. A cruise ship nurse pretty much needs to be prepared for just about anything – cardiac arrest, animal bites/stings, fractures, sprains, strains, choking, and patient transport among many others. You’ll eat, sleep, and work on the ship, all while getting to take advantage of the destinations you’re traveling to and from.
  3. Hyperbaric Nursing: These nurses specialize in providing therapy via 100% oxygen that is pressurized greater than sea level pressure. This therapy can be used in addition to surgery/medications in the treatment of wounds, injuries, and other medical conditions. Some examples of conditions this therapy is used for include PE (air or gas related), CO posioning, gaseous gangrene, decompression sickness (from scuba diving), severe anemia, necrotized tissue infections, and osteomyelitis. These nurses are often the only medical professional accompanying the patient during these treatments. They perform regular nursing duties and are often trained in critical care to be able to maintain drips and provide wound care.
  4. Fitness Nursing: Love working out, eating healthy, and helping others do the same? Combine this with your passion for nursing and become a fitness nurse! These nurses hold jobs in areas like rehabilitation centers, post-surgery recovery centers, health fairs, and fitness clubs among others. Their key job functions often include assessing clients to identify areas for improvement in activity and nutrition to help them maintain their health, prevent deterioration of health, and assist in recovering from a major illness or surgery.
  5. Esthetic Nursing: Fascinated with beauty/health, elective procedures, spa services, and other holistic services? Check out this area of nursing! These nurses can assist plastic surgeons and dermatologists in the provision of care related to the procedures being conducted. Examples of such procedures include hair removal, skin treatments, microdermabrasion, botox injections, etc. You may even be able to stem from this profession over to working with plastic surgeons who reconstruct areas of the body after trauma has occurred. This can definitely be a rewarding career path!
  6. Medical Script Nursing: Love Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, The Good Doctor, The Resident? Me too. How awesome would it be to help write the scripts for the episodes of tv shows just like this?!? Well, it is actually a job and it’s called a medical script nurse. These nurses help script writers, cast, crew, and directors make the content of their show relevant, accurate, and credible. In this position, you’ll have a large influence over the audience, so it’s your job to ensure the public gets an accurate portrayal of the health issues experienced in the episodes.
  7. Disney Nurse: Do I even have to explain the appeal of this one? Here, you’ll be taking care of the employees, characters, and the tourists. This role is much like cruise ship nursing in the sense that you will likely see and treat just about anything. This job will also push you professionally to enhance your communication and cultural skills as many tourists are from different countries, speak different languages, and may have different customs. Some perks are access to the parks and possible relocation to different parks across the country and world.
  8. Transgender Nurse: This area of nursing can be extremely rewarding, especially if you identify with or belong to the LGBTQIA community. It’s a rapidly growing area of need, especially for youth members of the community who require specialized support, health care, and encouragement. Many major urban areas, like Los Angeles, have a high demand for nurses in this field. In this nursing specialty, you’ll be helping spread awareness, acceptance, and access to healthcare for the LGBTQIA population. You may be asked to assist in providing psychological care, hormonal treatments, hormonal blocking therapy, assist with applying chest binders, and/or assist with surgical procedures. The most rewarding part will be helping someone feel entirely comfortable with who they are, and maybe even experience self love for the first time in their lives. The link for this area of nursing will take you to the Institute of Pediatric Nursing’s website and provide additional articles/resources on the topic.
  9. Pharmaceutical Sales: If you liked pharmacology (I did…I’m weird, I know), this may be an option for you! This field will allow you to be at the front of new medication research and distribution for some of the world’s most complicated diseases. Examples can include heart failure medications, HIV/AIDS medications, meds to help in the treatment of myocardial infarctions and afterward, diabetes medications, etc. In this field, you’d have a position that allows you to make a difference for hospitals and their patients. These jobs also tend to offer less stressful working conditions, more of a regular schedule, travel, and pay incentives. Your job duties may include sales, patient education, staff education (Ex: injectable meds), marketing, and many more.
  10. Procurement Nursing: This type of nurse is involved in ALL things organ transplant related! If surgery, the transplant process, and everything in between peak your interest, this field of nursing may just be for you. In this field, you can take on the role of interacting with patients and families on both sides of the transplant, ensure organ viability during travel, coordination of organ travel, donor/recipient list management, and interdisciplinary communication with the teams involved among many other duties. You’ll have to be able to act fast and think critically should circumstances of the transplant change. You’ll also need excellent organizational and communication skills.

Doesn’t thinking about these other areas of nursing make you feel so excited and rejuvenated? If you’re struggling to find joy or success in your current line of nursing, why not consider a change? And if you’re a new grad, set your sights high! Shoot for the nursing career of your dreams and don’t lose sight of the goal. If you’re still in school, take time to research the job’s requirements, reach out to professionals already established in that field, make connections, and make it happen for yourself. Have fun with your nursing career and enjoy it to the fullest! I have no doubt that doing so will be beneficial for both you and your future patients.


Andra Alyse

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