Schools Training

The Different Kinds of Nurses

14 SEP 2012
Career Path : Nursing

What comes to mind when you think of a nurse? Common cultural stereotypes might imagine gentle women in clean, white uniforms holding cold compresses to the foreheads of feverish patients. Or maybe you think of a stressed-out, overworked hospital employee running from room to room shouting out all kinds of medical jargon and numbers to doctors.


Nursing, in fact, is quite a diverse profession with many specializations within the industry. Nurses don’t always work in hospitals or the offices of doctors: they can work in private homes, schools, summer camps, with the military, or along in ambulances and even helicopters.


There are three basic types of nurses with many subdivisions among these types. They are: Critical Care Nurses, Non-Intensive Care Nurses, and Non-Bedside Nurses.


Critical Care Nursing


Like the name suggests, nurses working in critical care deal with situations that are very serious, for example: life-threatening emergencies or patients with critical illnesses. Most of this work is done in hospital settings, like the emergency and intensive-care units, but also in emergency medical response units (ambulances). Some subtypes of critical-care nurses are:


– Cardiac Care Unit – for patients with critical heart problems which may involve surgery

– Cardiothoracic ICU – immediate post-operation care, especially with heart or lung surgery and transplants

– Neonatal ICU – treating very sick or under-developed newborn babies

– Neuro ICU – treating serious injuries and traumas, especially to the head, as well as stroke victims


Non-Intensive Care Nursing


This kind of nursing work is similar to the above category with the obvious difference that here nurses are working with patients that are not in serious critical condition and with no immediate emergencies. Notice that the departmental subtypes are often the same as critical-care but with marked differences in the actual work:


– Cardiac Nurse – for cardiology patients who are not having heart surgery

– Cardiothoracic Nurse – regular recovery for patients who have had heart or lung surgery with few complications

– Nursery Nurse – taking care of newborn babies who are healthy

– Neurology Nurse – helping with a smooth recovery from strokes and brain injuries


Non-Bedside Nursing


When these nurses work in hospitals, their work is more often administrative. They also work in other industries, like educational institutions or insurance companies. Although this branch of nursing is non-clinical work, one must still attend a school of nursing and have several years of clinical experience in a hospital before working in one of the subtypes of non-bedside, or non-clinical nursing:


– Health Educator

– Medical Journalist

– Patient-Doctor Facilitator

– Patient Case Manger

– Quality Control

– Malpractice Consultant


A good nursing program will give the student enough experience of all the different types of nursing work, so he or she can decide what branch is best for them. One of the exciting and attractive things about becoming a nurse is that you have a lifetime of new career opportunities that will never be the simple cultural stereotype of wiping foreheads or running alongside gurneys shouting numbers of CCs.


Visit Mohawk College for more information about nursing schools and other healthcare programs.