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Career Services:
What Can I Do With This Major?
Additional Resources: PDF Version     Additional Links Nursing

What can I do with this degree?
NURSING

AREAS
STAFF NURSING

Hospital Specialties Include: Pediatrics, Surgical, Emergency, Critical Care, Maternity, Women's Health, Newborn Intensive Care, Cancer Treatment, Psychiatric/Mental Health, Operating Room/Recovery Room, Various Others
Occupational or Industrial Health

EMPLOYERS

Hospitals
Clinics and medical centers
Physicians' offices and medical groups
Outpatient surgery centers
Home health agencies
Extended care facilities: Nursing homes, Rehabilitation centers, Hospices
Psychiatric hospitals and mental health agencies
Educational institutions
Large corporations

STRATEGIES
Gain experience through externship or internship programs. Work or volunteer in healthcare and medical settings during summers and breaks. Take electives in areas such as wellness, holistic health, medical ethics, and death and dying.
Develop good organizational skills and the ability to handle stress. Develop patience, ability to work with both patients and families for long periods, and good listening skills. Be prepared to work nights, weekends, and holidays in a hospital setting. Obtain a master's degree for positions such as nurse practitioner, clinical specialist, or nurse administrator. Cultivate managerial skills for head nurse or other supervisory positions.

AREAS
COMMUNITY AND PUBLIC HEALTH
Home Health
Rural Nursing
Health Education

EMPLOYERS
Public and private schools
Daycare centers
Mental health facilities
State and local health departments
Home healthcare agencies
Senior centers
Nurse-run clinics
Religious organizations
Social service agencies

STRATEGIES
Develop knowledge and skills in management, decision-making, mediation, teaching, counseling, speaking, and writing. Gain experience in the ability to handle emergencies, work independently, and be flexible. Develop expertise in first aid procedures. Expand knowledge of health issues related to age, cultures, religions, ethics, and government policies. Obtain a master's degree for nurse practitioner positions.

AREAS
INDEPENDENT PRACTICE
Temporary Staffing
Travel Nursing
Personal Services Contracting
Private Duty
Midwifery

EMPLOYERS
Healthcare staffing agencies
Travel companies
Businesses and organizations with temporary needs
Private households

STRATEGIES
Gained the required years of experience. Learn to work autonomously and make decisions independently. Be prepared to move frequently to various locations either locally or abroad. Become flexible and adaptable.

AREAS
GOVERNMENT SERVICE
Staff Nursing
Administration
Policy Development
Research

EMPLOYERS
Government health agencies including: Public Health Service, Indian Health Service, Veterans Administration, Peace Corps, VISTA
Armed services
Prisons

STRATEGIES
Define an area of interest since government work offers a variety of practices.
Plan on graduate study in teaching, research, or administration for advancement.
Become familiar with other cultures, languages, health systems and beliefs. Be prepared for combat nursing in armed services.

AREAS
EDUCATION
Teaching
Educational Administration

EMPLOYERS
Teaching hospitals
Colleges and universities
Schools of nursing
Wellness centers
Public school systems
Community education programs

STRATEGIES
Develop patience, sensitivity to the needs of young adults as well as patients, and the ability to accept responsibility for the actions of others. Take courses in the principles and practices of teaching. Earn an advanced degree to teach at the college or university level. Gain experience in public speaking.

AREAS
NURSING RESEARCH

EMPLOYERS
Large hospitals and medical centers
Colleges and universities
Centers for nursing research
National Institute for Nursing
Pharmaceutical companies

STRATEGIES
Gain experience with research through supervised independent study or class projects. Develop curiosity, analytical thinking, attention to detail, persistence, good writing skills, and an understanding of statistics. Obtain a Ph.D.

AREAS
TELEHEALTH

EMPLOYERS
Call centers
Private Offices
Clinics
HMO's
Hospitals

STRATEGIES
Work in other practices for five to ten years to gain the necessary experience.
Develop good communication skills and the ability to make important decisions quickly.

AREAS
INTERNATIONAL HEALTH

EMPLOYERS
Embassies
Military bases
National or international government agencies
Private voluntary organizations
Church-related mission services
World Health Organization

STRATEGIES
Consider advanced education as a clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner to be more marketable. Learn a foreign language and an appreciation for other cultures. Inquire about the need for additional preparation in religious studies or similar courses. Research nursing requirements in other countries.

AREAS
OTHER AREAS
Insurance: Underwriting and Claims
Sales
Product Management
Quality Assurance
Writing
Law
Healthcare Administration
Information Management
Patient Advocacy
Forensic Nursing

EMPLOYERS
Insurance companies
Hospitals
HMO's
Business and industry: Pharmaceutical, Medical equipment and supplies, Medical marketing companies
Law firms
Medical and health publications
Healthcare websites
Healthcare advertising agencies
Public relations firms
Professional associations

STRATEGIES
Combine interest nursing and healthcare with another field by earning appropriate graduate degrees or gaining relevant experience. Minor in business or communications as an undergraduate. Develop strong computer skills and an understanding of business practices.

GENERAL INFORMATION
Nursing is the largest healthcare field. Three out of five nurses work in hospitals. Many nurses work part-time.

Nursing combines science and technology with the desire to help people. One must enjoy helping people of all types and backgrounds.

Nursing requires both physical stamina and emotional stability. Nurses must be able to follow orders and direct others.

Earn a master's degree to prepare for advanced practice nursing including: clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, and administration. Earn a doctoral degree for research or teaching at a university.

All states regulate nursing by requiring licensure.

 

Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (2005) UTK is an EEO/AA Title IX/504/ADA/ADEA Employer