Most RNs work as staff nurses, providing critical health care services along with physicians, surgeons, and other health care practitioners. However, some RNs choose to become advanced practice nurses, who often are considered primary health care practitioners and work independently or in collaboration with physicians.

For example, clinical nurse specialists provide direct patient care and expert consultations in one of many of the nursing specialties listed above. Nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia, monitor patientís vital signs during surgery, and provide post-anesthesia care. Nurse midwives provide primary care to women, including gynecological exams, family planning advice, prenatal care, assistance in labor and delivery, and neonatal care. Nurse practitioners provide basic preventive health care to patients, and increasingly serve as primary and specialty care providers in mainly medically underserved areas. The most common areas of specialty for nurse practitioners are family practice, adult practice, womenís health, pediatrics, acute care, and gerontology; however, there are many other specialties. In most States, advanced practice nurses can prescribe medications.

Nursing work with no patient contact

Some nurses have jobs that require little or no direct patient contact. Most of these positions still require an active RN license. Case managers ensure that all of the medical needs of patients with severe injuries and illnesses are met, including the type, location, and duration of treatment.

Forensics nurses combine nursing with law enforcement by treating and investigating victims of sexual assault, child abuse, or accidental death. Infection control nurses identify, track, and control infectious outbreaks in health care facilities; develop methods of outbreak prevention and biological terrorism responses; and staff immunization clinics.

Legal nurse consultants assist lawyers in medical cases by interviewing patients and witnesses, organizing medical records, determining damages and costs, locating evidence, and educating lawyers about medical issues. Nurse administrators supervise nursing staff, establish work schedules and budgets, and maintain medical supply inventories.

Nurse educators teach student nurses and also provide continuing education for RNs.

Nurse informaticists collect, store, and analyze nursing data in order to improve efficiency, reduce risk, and improve patient care. RNs also may work as health care consultants, public policy advisors, pharmaceutical and medical supply researchers and salespersons, and medical writers and editors.

Information on Registered Nurses in America:

Information on Licensed Vocational and Practical Nurses in America: