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10 Incredibly Cool Nursing Jobs You Didn’t Know Existed

January 26th, 2011


By Kitty Holman

There are so many nursing specialties out there, it can be hard to keep track of just what opportunities are available for students in nursing school to pursue as a career. There may even be jobs that suit your needs and interests perfectly, but you had no idea they even existed as an option. Here are some of the coolest, most cutting edge, fulfilling and interesting ways to use your nursing degree, many of which you might not have ever even considered as a career path for yourself.

  1. Holistic Nursing. If you want to follow in the footsteps of Florence Nightingale, you might want to consider a career in holistic nursing. Holistic nursing focuses on healing the whole person, not just what ails them. Nurses in this profession work with patients to improve the health of their bodies, minds, emotions, relationships – even their environment. Additionally, many holistic practitioners blend traditional Western treatments with alternative medicine. It can be the perfect career choice for nurses who want to practice medicine, but also want a more spiritual, interconnected experience with their patients. Holistic nurses may find work in many different kinds of facilities, but are most often found working in private practices.
  2. Nursing Informatics. Love nursing but can't get enough of technology? This exciting and relatively new field is the perfect way to combine both interests into one challenging and rewarding career. Nurses who take this path will combine their knowledge of efficient and conscientious patient care with the latest technologies, enabling them to more effectively care for those in a medical facility, manage records and even reduce some of the most common errors. Jobs in this career field are often found in large medical facilities as well as in private consulting firms; this profession is an excellent choice for any student looking to bring cutting-edge technology into standard health care practice.
  3. Forensic Nursing. When you first hear the term forensic nurse, you might think of shows like CSI or Bones, where medical professionals put their expertise to use in solving crimes. While forensic nurses do play a role in the criminal justice system, it's not quite as romanticized as these television shows make it out to be — though it's still a very interesting and cool career. Forensic nurses must not only access patients and help treat injuries, but must also look for any signs that a crime has been committed and collect any evidence that may be found on the body of the perpetrator or victims. Sometimes forensic nurses are also involved in much more macabre tasks such as identifying bodies from remains. Often employed in large hospitals, these nursing professionals combine law, health care and criminal justice into one cutting-edge, challenging career.
  4. Parish Nursing. If you're an especially spiritual person and want to bring that enthusiasm and belief into your nursing career, parish nursing may be the right choice for you. Parish nurses generally choose to work in a community of faith, such as a church, temple or other religious institution. Within this group, they work with members to not only improve their physical health, but their spiritual well-being as well; they believe that comfortable faith is an essential part of health as a whole. Parish nursing programs are most popular in the US and Canada, but are spreading to other areas of the world as well. While most parish nurses belong to Christian denominations, the principles of this spiritual branch of nursing can be applied to almost any belief system out there.
  5. Cruise Ship Nurse. Love the thought of traveling through beautiful Caribbean waters for work? You may be able to do just that as a cruise ship nurse. These health care professionals work to help ensure the safety and well-being of passengers aboard a cruise ship. This can mean treating non-serious issues like bumps and scrapes, or most serious conditions like heart problems or dehydration, until a patient can be moved to a hospital on land. Because of limited supplies and distance from shore, this kind of nursing career can be surprisingly challenging, but the rewards of spending your days off cruising warm, scenic waters may be worth it.
  6. Hyperbaric Nursing. Also called baromedical nurses, this branch of nursing focuses on treating patients within a hyperbaric or decompression chamber. This is one of the most challenging and sometimes intimidating fields of nursing, but it can be pretty darn exciting too. Hyperbaric chambers are used to relieve the symptoms of a number of different conditions from anemia to decompression sickness from diving. This field is in high demand, despite the limited number of medical hyperbaric chambers around the world. Nurses in this field will get to work with cutting-edge treatments and a wide range of patients, but should recognize that there can be serious health risks to this career as well, as decompression sickness can occur from repeated exposure to the decompression chamber.
  7. Oil Rig Nurse. Oil rigs are often located several miles offshore, and are worked by professionals who may spend months at a time out on them. The work can be dangerous, and it's essential that medical professionals such as doctors and nurses are on hand should an injury occur. Nurses who want to pursue this kind of career will be entering a highly competitive and sometimes stressful career, but one that can be rewarding personally and financially. Nurses may find jobs in far-flung destinations around the world, and more opportunities will be open to those who are bilingual or who have extensive emergency medicine training.
  8. Flight Nurse. Want to make your career as a nurse a little more exciting? Why not become a flight nurse? These nurses get additional training to work with patients who are in transport aboard a medical helicopter or aircraft. Nurses in this field must be able to work under a stressful situation, helping maintain patient stability and life with limited supplies and while in-flight. These nursing personnel must also work well with doctors and paramedics to help patients get the best care they can. Jobs in this field are available through hospitals and medical facilities as well as in the military, providing a wide range of options for nursing students to choose from.
  9. Medical Esthetics Nurse. Want to work in the medical side of the beauty industry? This field could be for you. Nurses who work in medical esthetics will work with clients to perform procedures like chemical peels, botox, collegen injections, laser therapy and spider vein treatments. In today's youth-obsessed culture, these types of nursing jobs are hot and in very high demand. Nurses may find work with a spa or within the office of a plastic surgeon or other medical professional.
  10. Insurance Nursing. There are a wide variety of jobs available to nurses who choose to work in the insurance industry. From evaluating patient claims to teaching classes to insurance salespeople, you're bound to find something that meets your personal needs and talents. For nurses who enjoy working directly with patients, this may not be the best career choice but for those who also have a passion for business, insurance nursing can be an amazing way to use their expertise.


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