Getting Started Healthcare

10 Nursing Careers You Didn’t Know Existed

Written by Miranda Pennington

the nursing field is one of the fastest growing in the country. as healthcare modernizes and expands from the er into the app store, there are a number of new opportunities to look out for as you consider nursing or look to explore a new area of your career.


1. holistic nursing

practices of holistic nursing include massage, complementary medicine (which combines conventional and alternative techniques), and mind-body integration. you’ll find these jobs in upscale clinics. successful holistic nurses should be calm, centered, and open-minded.


2. nursing informatics

nurses in this specialty need exceptional computer skills—beyond developing fluency with existing programs, they provide guidance to it professionals and code developers to create the tools that help hospitals and doctors’ offices operate efficiently and effectively. the blend of real-world nursing knowledge and technological savvy makes this niche profession appealing to the nurses of the digital generation.


3. forensic nursing

not for the faint of heart, forensic nursing involves working closely with law enforcement to investigate deaths, sexual assault survivors, and trauma cases, as well as partnering with child services for advocacy work. these nurses provide emotional support to patients and may be called upon for courtroom testimony.


4. outcomes management

if you’re fascinated by statistics and interpreting data, nursing in outcomes management may be a good match for you. these nurses analyze stats on patient needs, length of stay, quality surveys, and utilization of services to measure efficiency and propose adjustments in hospital policy or regulation. this is another specialty where your nursing knowledge overlaps in a productive way with the more administrative tasks of the job.


5. fitness nursing

if you’ve ever contemplated being a personal trainer, this specialty offers you the chance to combine your nursing degree with a desire to help people learn to take better care of themselves. look for jobs in rehabilitation centers, post-surgery recovery, health fair screenings, or even health clubs. fitness nurses provide assessments and make recommendations for exercise and diet regimens that may help patients maintain their health or recovery from an illness or procedure.


6. entrepreneur and consultant (self-employed)

let’s hear it for the freelancing nurse entrepreneur! if you open up a consultant business of your own, you can travel to offices, schools, medical centers. and other institutions to provide trainings from cpr to first aid. you might hold seminars, contract with staffing agencies, or consult with medical publishers, putting your knowledge to work and setting your own hours.


7. medical esthetics nursing

an aesthetics nurse works in medical centers that may also provide spa and other holistic therapy services. your license would include laser procedures, chemical peels, botox, collagen injections. and spider vein treatments, and your daily responsibilities would include treating patients directly and providing post-procedural care.


8. faith-based nursing

if you consider your religious practice a priority, there’s a growing need for medical practitioners with religious sensitivities. you might find a position in a religious educational institution or rehabilitation center that combines spiritual care with medicine. faith-based nurses pick up where chaplains and pastors leave off to add a layer of treatment and healing provided by their medical background.


9. insurance nursing

are you interested in helping coordinate patient care and communicating clearly and effectively with patients, medical professionals, and insurance policies to ensure a high level of care for clients? an insurance nurse position might be an ideal match for your strengths; your responsibilities might also include informational writing, running educational programs, and monitoring their effectiveness.


10. assisted living and long-term care

if you enjoy working with seniors or those recovering from accidents or injury and the emotional rewards of long-term care, this work may be perfect for you. you’d also have responsibilities like meeting with patients’ families, developing care and transfer plans, and working with outside support professionals. there is also growth potential in this specialty—if you find an institution where you enjoy working, there may be opportunities to move into management or coordinator positions.

click here for a full list of nursing positions

About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.