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Understanding the Day-to-Day of Different Nursing Specialties

Nursing can be an enriching career. As you complete your course, you’ll explore a variety of different fields of medicine, developing your knowledge and honing your professional skill set. Studying can be exciting, and allow you to explore a range of career options from the comfort of the classroom.

When you graduate, the sheer number of specializations that a new nurse can pursue can feel incredibly daunting. From surgery to oncology, let’s explore four of the common specializations that nurses may choose to pursue, and how each of those transform the lives of millions of Americans every day.


Let’s face it –  surgery is becoming increasingly common, and demand for surgery nurses is growing dramatically in the hospital sector. A surgical nurse, also known as a perioperative nurse, is a highly specialized nurse who’s trained to assist patients who require surgical procedures. These nurses do a range of duties, including supporting a patient through the phases of pre-operative, operative, and post-operative care.

With nearly one million major surgeries performed in the United States each week, there’s a high demand for nurses who are able to work with patients through all stages of the surgical cycle. Surgery nurses form the backbone of modern surgical clinics and offer a great deal of support in this high-demand field.


In recent years, geriatric nurse practitioner programs have been highlighted as an area of particular demand for nursing graduates across America. With the average American getting older, it’s becoming more and more commonplace to see older Americans stay in nursing homes for longer and longer periods of time.

A geriatric nurse typically works to address the needs of elderly patients, working with stakeholders such as family, medical staff, and the patient themselves, to help maintain a suitable quality of life and aim to help them stay in the best possible condition for as long as possible, so that they don’t need ongoing medical care.

With an estimated one in six Americans over the age of 65 in the 2020 Census, according to the United States Census Bureau, it’s expected that there will be a growth in demand for geriatric nurses for many years to come. You may even know family or friends who will require the services of a geriatric nurse in the years ahead.


Cancer can hit hard – impacting the lives of many Americans, and it’s quite likely that you know someone who’s been personally impacted. Some nurses find themselves motivated to become certified oncology nurses, a specialized role that helps to look after individuals who are diagnosed with cancer.

An oncology nurse may work as part of a multidisciplinary team, helping a patient navigate the complexities of cancer. They may work to educate a patient and their loved ones about cancer and its treatment, administer treatments in a clinical environment, and sometimes assist in end-of-life care.

With nearly two million cancer cases diagnosed annually, according to the American Cancer Society, oncology nurses form a critical part of the support networks that are required when trying to navigate through the complexities of cancer. It’s a highly rewarding career that tries to make a difference in what can often be an immensely challenging part of a patient’s life.


Babies are wonderful – they gurgle and giggle, and can be utterly illuminating. Of course, while their giggles and joy can be fascinating to laugh at (just ask YouTube), having a baby can sometimes be a complicated life event.

In cases where a newborn is born prematurely, or with health conditions, a neonatal nurse may be brought in to support mother and child through what can be a tough time. Typically, a neonatal nurse will work with the child through the first month of their life, however, in some cases, she may work with an infant on an ongoing basis.

A neonatal nurse is highly specialized in the care of newborn infants – able to provide medications as prescribed by the newborn’s medical staff, educate families on infant care such as swaddling, or even provide regular diaper changes if a mother is not able to do so.

Neonatal nursing is a highly regarded career – in extreme cases, neonatal nurses go above and beyond to take care of the infants in their care, in one case enduring a major hurricane.

No matter the field you choose to specialize in, nursing is a wonderful, rewarding field. Rest assured, knowing that you’ll make a genuine difference in the lives of your patients on a daily basis – you’re making a valuable difference to the world we live in.


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