20 Types of Nursing Positions: With Job Duties and Salaries

By Indeed Editorial Team

February 20, 2022

If you're interested in a nursing career, there are many different fields to consider based on your strengths and interests. In this article, we discuss 20 types of nursing positions and their related salaries and primary duties to help you decide the right path for you.

What are the general duties of a nurse?

Nurses provide care to their patients by administering medications, observing symptoms and progress, recording information and communicating with doctors and other health care providers.

Nurses can be found in various facilities, including hospitals, private practices and clinics. Some nurses also travel for their work, while others attend to patients at their homes.

Related: Learn About Being a Registered Nurse (RN)

20 different types of nursing positions to consider

Though all nurses seek to provide proper care and treatment for their patients, their day-to-day duties will vary depending on their specialty. Here are 20 nursing positions you can find in hospitals, clinics and private practices:

1. Certified nursing assistant (CNA)

National average salary: $13.73 per hour

Primary duties: Certified nursing assistants help patients get dressed, eat meals, take their medications and move around. CNAs are also often responsible for regularly monitoring their patients’ vitals, exercising them and communicating their status to other medical staff. This position requires a high school diploma, post-secondary certificate and CNA certification.

2. Licensed practical nurse (LPN)

National average salary: $23.68 per hour

Primary duties: Supervised by an RN, LPNs perform a variety of tasks for their patients including the administration of medication and injections. LPNs should have a practical nursing diploma.

3. Charge nurse

National average salary: $25.23 per hour

Primary duties: Charge nurses have duties similar to an RN, but they're also responsible for some administrative tasks, such as scheduling and managing. Because of their duties, they might not see as many patients face-to-face. Charge Nurses should have a Bachelor's degree or Master of Science Nursing Degree.

4. School nurse

National average salary: $25.43 per hour

Primary duties: School nurses provide care to students throughout the school year. When a student falls ill at school, school nurses come to their aid. School nurses should have an associate or bachelor's degree along with an RN certificate. Though the pay scale for this job is different than most other nursing positions, school nurses are also given school-year time off, including summer and holiday vacation.

5. Home health nurse

National average salary: $42.07 per hour 

Primary duties: Home health nurses care for patients in their homes. They may care for patients who are terminally ill, geriatric or those with mobility issues. Home health nurses are required to have a nursing diploma or an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing.

6. Pediatric nurse

National average salary: $29.53 per hour

Primary duties: Pediatric nurses provide care to children in various settings. They often treat minor injuries and administer vaccinations. Pediatric nurses need an associate degree at minimum.

7. Registered nurse (RN)

National average salary: $33.88 per hour

Primary duties: RNs create treatment plans for patients with a variety of illnesses, conditions or injuries, and they work across several different specialties. RNs should have an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing.

8. Dialysis nurse

National average salary: $36.63 per hour

Primary duties: Dialysis nurses are responsible for the care of patients experiencing kidney failure. They also provide their patients with advice on living healthy lifestyles and support for those awaiting new kidneys. Dialysis nurses typically require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and an RN license.

9. Oncology nurse

National average salary: $42.95 per hour

Primary duties: Oncology nurses care for a variety of cancer patients at all stages. Along with administering medication, oncology nurses observe patients and their ongoing progress. Oncology nurses must display a great deal of empathy to their patients and families as they undergo cancer diagnosis and treatment. Requirements for this position may vary but you should have at least an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing and experience in nursing—and specifically oncology experience.

10. Travel nurse

National average salary: $49.22 per hour

Primary duties: Travel nurses are nurses that move from city to city to provide care for patients in understaffed hospitals or medical facilities. Travel nurses can be specialized or perform general duties. A travel nurse should have an RN license and an associate or bachelor's degree in nursing.

11. Registered nurse manager

National average salary: $37.41 per hour

Primary duties: Registered nurse managers supervise and manage members of the nursing staff. Their various duties include overseeing patient care, creating work schedules and scheduling meetings. They should have a bachelor's degree in nursing, as well as two years of experience as a nurse manager and an RN license.

12. Operating room (OR) nurse

National average salary: $63.93 per hour

Primary duties: Operating room nurses work in hospitals and care for patients before, during and after surgery. OR nurses provide streamlined communication between the surgical team and the patient's family. They can also be called perioperative or scrub nurses. OR nurses should have an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing and an RN license.

13. Radiology nurse

National average salary: $74.63 per hour

Primary duties: Radiology nurses care for patients undergoing diagnostic imaging procedures and radiation therapy. They do so by preparing them for various scans, MRIs and other tests administered by physicians and performed by radiological technologists. Radiology nurses should have a bachelor of science degree in nursing and a CRN certification.

14. Intensive care unit (ICU) registered nurse

National average salary: $85.26 per hour

Primary duties: Intensive care unit nurses are responsible for the care of patients with life-threatening injuries. Similar to emergency room nurses, ICU nurses need to be able to think quickly to help with emergency situations as they arise. ICU nurses need an RN license and an associate degree, at minimum.

15. Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse

National average salary: $7.25 per hour ​

Primary duties: NICU nurses are responsible for the care of premature or sick newborn children. Working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, NICU nurses monitor newborns and their various conditions. Some newborns will be in incubators, while others might require the use of a ventilator to breathe. NICU nurses are also a source of contact for parents whose NICU babies are in their care. NICU nurses must be registered nurses with a Bachelor of Science in nursing and be certified in Neonatal Resuscitation and/or Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing.

16. Labor and delivery nurse

National average salary: $76.24 per hour

Primary Duties: Labor and delivery nurses help with the birth of a new baby. They support expectant mothers both during and after labor. Labor and delivery nurses should have an associate or bachelor’s degree, as well as an RN license.

17. Emergency room nurse

National average salary: $92.39 per hour

Primary duties: Emergency room nurses are tasked with the care of a variety of patients that enter their hospital's emergency room. While some will deal with non-life-threatening injuries and illness care, others will handle traumatic and life-threatening conditions. Emergency room nurses should have an RN license as well as an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing.

18. Cardiovascular nurse

National average salary: $99.63 per hour

Primary duties: Cardiovascular nurses, also known as cardiac nurses, treat patients with various heart diseases or conditions, or patients who have recently undergone heart surgery or procedures. Cardiovascular nurses are required to have an associate or bachelor's in nursing, as well as an RN-BC (board certified) certification.

19. Psychiatric mental health nurse

National average salary: $47.63 per hour

Primary duties: Psychiatric mental health nurses are responsible for diagnosing and treating patients that suffer from mental illnesses. Psychiatric mental health nurses should have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and an RN license.

20. Nurse practitioner (NP)

National average salary: $60.28 per hour

Primary duties: Nurse practitioners work under the direction of doctors and have the ability to perform tasks beyond typical nursing care. Like a physician, NPs can diagnose conditions and prescribe treatments. NPs should have a master's degree or doctoral degree to work in this position.

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