When you envision a nursing career, you likely see yourself working in a hospital or private practice. But, there are all kinds of nurse settings.
This article invites you to expand your imagination and consider the vast range of environments where you can put your RN license to work.
We’ll look at traditional and exciting locations for registered nurses’ jobs. We’ll cue you into the typical nursing salary for each. If you think you know where you like to work, you may someday need a change of pace. The good news is that there’s a wealth of job opportunities.
What does a nurse do?
A job as a nurse can be exciting, varied, and rewarding (if not tiring, too). There are many types of nursing, but these healthcare professionals generally work with patients to implement care plans designed with the help of physicians or an entire medical team. Nurses often perform tasks like administering medication, checking vital signs, and putting in IVs.
Several nursing specialties exist, so if you wish to work with a specific population or individuals that suffer from a particular condition, you can do so in this career path. Before earning your ADN or BSN nursing degree, browse our resources on the different specialties, from pediatrics to geriatrics, and what they entail.
Where do nurses work?
In short, nurses work in any healthcare environment where physicians may need assistance implementing patient care plans. Some nurses may work more independently, like those practicing in schools and private homes.
Eight of the best places to work as a nurse
The best place to work as a nurse is the one you enjoy going to every day (well, most days). The following are some top work environments for nursing jobs:
The most common answer to “Where does a nurse work?” is—you guessed it— hospitals. Most nurses (approximately 60%) work in these healthcare facilities. That said, nurses in hospitals don’t necessarily have the same duties, as specializations may determine the tasks each performs.
But, most work includes working closely with physicians to establish and implement patient care plans, doing lab work, and moving between various patients.
Currently, the average annual salary for hospital nurses is $77,000.
Emergency rooms and emergency vehicles
If you want to work with patients who urgently need life-saving care, an emergency vehicle (yes, that includes airlift helicopters) or the ER may be the best place to help. This role requires excellent critical thinking skills, as you’ll serve gravely ill or injured patients. That means you’ll need to be able to act quickly and calmly under pressure to provide critical care.
Currently, the average annual salary for this nursing position is $69,000.
From home (telehealthcare)
Telehealth has become increasingly popular following the pandemic. You can consult with patients remotely and do other freelance work like writing medical articles, advising, and researching. All jobs come with a specific challenge: distractions. Organize your time and keep the kids and roommates out of your workspace.
Currently, the average annual salary for telehealthcare nurses is $64,000.
If physicians’ offices are what first come to mind when you think of where nurses work, it’s with good reason. They’re popular options, especially for nurses who want a regular schedule. Office work tends to be a bit more laid-back than hospital work, as it often centers on outpatient care.
That means you’re less likely to treat patients in crisis and more likely to take lab samples and vital signs, perform screenings, assist doctors and perform clerical tasks like making appointments.
Currently, the average annual salary for this nursing position is $58,000.
Who wouldn’t love working with adorable babies while supporting mothers through the birthing process? Nurse-midwives work with OB-GYNs to help educate and care for maternity patients. To work in this field, you’ll need some extra credentials like a degree concentrating in midwifery and your American Midwifery Certification Board certification.
Currently, the average annual salary for nurses who work in birthing centers is $98,000.
Are you torn between whether to become a teacher or a healthcare professional? Working as a school nurse may just be the perfect solution. This career also touches on public health care, as you may treat conditions that affect entire populations within the general student body.
And here’s another take on “school nursing:” become a teacher. Some nurses with advanced degrees can instruct classes, even at college-level nursing schools. To learn more about this role and its requirements, we recommend researching how to become a nurse educator.
Currently, the average annual salary for school nurses is $77,000.
Public health clinics
If your focus is on the community, public health nursing is for you. You’ll get to tackle issues that affect those around you through education on wellness. And you’ll hopefully get to see the fruits of your labor as your community becomes healthier, thanks to the programming you worked to establish. You’ll need a master’s degree or a doctorate to hold a role in this field, so get ready to hit those books.
Currently, the average annual salary for public health clinic nurses is $59,000.
In patients’ homes
More than 60% of all nurses work in hospitals, which means many of the remaining RNs work in private homes (and understandably so, as many patients require constant in-home care). These jobs can imply long hours, but the tradeoff is the ability to connect with your patients.
Your daily work will include monitoring vitals, administering medication, and providing emotional support. If you have a big heart and are open to making deep friendships, this could be quite a rewarding career.
Currently, the average annual salary for homecare nurses is $67,020.
No matter where you end up working as a nurse, we’ll be there with you. Whether it’s suiting you up in premium scrubs, offering you all the practical advice we can, or simply cheering you on as you journey down your path as a medical professional, we’re invested in you and all the great work you do. So go out there and make a difference!