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9 Nursing Roles To Choose From

9 Nursing Roles To Choose From

Oct 11, 2022

Nurses have crucial roles in healthcare and provide several services to the communities they work in. Although their specific duties have evolved, their significance in healthcare remains the same. Their job is to care for patients, promote healthier lifestyles, and spread awareness about health-related issues.

From being comforters to modern healthcare providers offering evidence-based treatment and wellness education, nurses have taken different roles over time. Undoubtedly, nursing is one of the most stressful yet rewarding occupations.

Registered nurses (RNs) can concentrate on a certain medical department or niche if they have the required educational background, experience, and skills. In this article, we’ll discuss the different nursing roles you can pursue depending on your field of expertise, desired salary, and interest.

1. Chief nursing officer

Chief nursing officers oversee the nursing team at their healthcare facility. So this role may be ideal for you if you have leadership traits running through your veins. Your responsibilities as a CNO may include managing finances, implementing treatment plans, integrating new medical technologies, assigning schedules, and onboarding new nurses into the department.

To pursue this role, you’ll need a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and a Master’s degree in the same field. You’ll also need at least five years of experience fulfilling nursing duties.  All that hard work and education will pay off, as the average chief nursing officer (CNO) salary is $246,620 per year.

2. Neonatal nurse

You could also pursue the role of a neonatal nurse if you’re ready to stay in charge of infants from birth until discharge. As a neonatal nurse, you’ll handle premature newborns and newborns, including all infants that require intensive care because of serious health conditions.

On some occasions, you may also need to care for a baby after discharge, offering assistance to mothers with prematurity, congenital disabilities, infection, cardiac malformations, and surgical problems. You’ll need a valid RN license and a BSN to pursue a neonatal nursing career. The average salary of a neonatal nurse is $98,417 per year.

3. School nurse

Nurses who bond well with children and teenagers can also take on the role of a school nurse. This role will require you to work in schools and provide healthcare services to students, including pre-schoolers and high-schoolers.

As a school nurse, your responsibilities may include treating and giving first-aid to ill or injured students, providing acute care, collecting health data, and conducting health screenings. You’ll need to work with other authorities within the establishment to guarantee the physical and psychological well-being of all students in the school.

There isn’t any advanced education required to become a school nurse other than having registered nurse certification. The average annual salary for school nurses in the US is $53,360.

4. Psychiatric mental health nurse

If you’re interested in helping patients with mental health problems, you may consider the role of a psychiatric mental health nurse. Your responsibilities will revolve around helping senior mental health professionals treat patients with psychological and psychiatric disorders like addiction and substance abuse.

Overall, you’ll need to maintain the mental well-being of your patients and do your best to relieve their mental stress. This role requires an MSN and a valid RN license to qualify for APRN licensure. Most consider this a stressful role, but the annual average salary of $142,030 is worth considering.

5. Oncology nurse

If cancer treatment is important to you, it may be suitable to take on the role of an oncology nurse. This role will keep you responsible for patients and their treatment throughout various stages of cancer, assisting with chemotherapy administration, identification of symptoms, and progress monitoring.

Most oncology nurses specialize in pediatric, geriatric, breast, or hematology, but their general aim is to maintain a supportive and comfortable healthcare environment for the cancer patient. This role requires an RN license and an associate or BSN degree, while some states also require the Oncological Certified Nurse credential. As an oncology nurse, you may earn between $72,300 and $90,400.

6. Trauma nurse

Trauma nurses work as part of emergency medical response teams in emergency rooms and critical care units. Their job is to care for patients in critical and life-threatening conditions, administering wound care, emergency medications, and IV fluids or blood transfusions.

You’ll also be responsible for operating life-saving equipment like defibrillators and monitoring vital signs. You’ll need an associate or BSN degree and must pass the NCLEX-RN exam for this role’s qualification. The average annual salary of a trauma nurse falls between $72,246 and $181,221.

7. Family nurse practitioner

If you’re comfortable treating an entire family at a time, the role of a family nurse practitioner may be ideal. As an FNP, you’ll provide primary and preventive healthcare services to all members, including infants, children, teens, and adults.

You’ll also be responsible for examining, diagnosing, treating patients, and providing basic guidelines on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and perfect health. To pursue this role, staying comfortable treating all age groups and developing long-lasting relationships with your patients is crucial.

You can research specialized FNP programs to advance in this role, which pays between $106,450 and $124,620 annually.

8. Dialysis nurse

True to the name, dialysis nurses handle daily dialysis, which means cleaning up a patient’s blood when they’re suffering from kidney failure. This role will keep you responsible for equipment management, administering medication, and record management of the patient’s condition before and after dialysis.

You’ll need a valid RN license and nursing diploma, associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing to qualify for the role of a dialysis nurse. The average annual salary of a dialysis nurse ranges from $76,072 to $97,420.

9. Infection control/prevention nurse

The COVID-19 pandemic was a stressful time for nurses because of the severe understaffing in the healthcare industry. You may positively contribute to this issue by pursuing the role of infection control and prevention nurse.

As an infection control and prevention nurse, you will specialize in identifying, surveillance, and managing infections, diseases, and viruses. Your time will also revolve around reporting and preventing widespread infection.

You’ll need a Certification in Infection Prevention and Control (CIC) from the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology to pursue this role, but the outcome is worth it. The average salary for an infection control/prevention nurse is $87,562 a year.


Now that you’re educated about the many nursing jobs and duties, you can make a choice! Choose a niche that aligns with your personality and professional goals. Look into the education and training needed to perform a specific nursing duty professionally, and you’re good to go. 

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