If you’ve been considering a profession in medicine, but are reticent to spend the next decade of your life in school, you may want to look into nursing as an excellent outlet for both your desire to help others and your interest in the medical field. Not only are there several different degrees available for the profession (from certification to an associate’s degree to a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, and beyond), there are also an astronomical number of foci within the field. So whether you want work in a fast-paced emergency setting, join a private practice, or pursue a degree with an emphasis in such diverse fields as pediatrics, first-response services, anesthesia, or obstetrics and gynecology (just to name a few), you can specialize in virtually any area.
Registered nurse. You cannot go wrong by joining this growing profession. It is estimated that jobs in this area will continue to grow over the next several years (some have predicted more than any other field) and it is an extremely versatile occupation. You can certainly seek work in a hospital setting, but you may find more opportunities in outpatient facilities or by providing rehabilitation services.
Travel nurse. This is a profession that has been around for awhile, but has slowly become more popular (with rising demand). It differs from other types of nursing in that you will be expected to travel for short-term contracts, generally with hospitals. The perks of this occupation include the ability to see other places, paid housing, and in some cases, health benefits and a 401k (depending on the agency you work for).
Psychiatric nurse. If your area of interest leans more towards personality and mood disorders than physical ailments or emergencies, you may be better suited to psychiatric nursing. You must have a calm and rational disposition to excel in this profession, and you probably won’t spend a lot of time dealing with hard facts (like other types of nursing). However, you will have the opportunity to help people in the long term and in many ways, you will enjoy a lot more human interaction.
Radiologic nurse. The field of radiology has undergone rapid growth as a profession in the last few years with certification programs popping up left and right (even in community college settings). In this vocation, you can expect to provide care and support for patients who need diagnosis from x-rays, ultrasound, or magnetic resonance imaging.
In-home health care nurse. The nice thing about choosing to work as a nurse for hire is that you will most likely operate in a private residence with one client. It can be a very intimate and rewarding experience (with less stress than other types of nursing) as you get to know your patient and become familiar with their particular difficulties and needs. A related field is hospice care, in which you will care for terminally ill patients and work to keep them as comfortable and pain-free as possible.