15 Different Types of Nurses With Pay and Job Descriptions

different types of nurses

If there’s one thing that people from all over the world can say in unison, more so now that we are battling the worst pandemic of our time, is – hail to all health care workers! We all recognize nurses – along with doctors, technicians, physicians, hospital support staff, and other health care professionals – as our modern-day heroes. They honor us all with their dedication, commitment, and professionalism.

While those who go into the nursing career know that they’ll be risking their own lives to save the lives of others, they also know for a fact that being a nurse is very fulfilling. As a profession, nursing provides nurses with a consistent and lucrative career with numerous opportunities for advancement

When you decide to really look into the nursing career, however, you realize there’s a wide range of nursing specialties and options to select from. Each of these options comes with its own salary, perks, and job descriptions.

In this guide, we’ve highlighted 15 different types of nurses with pay and job descriptions.

1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

crna operating room

A CRNA is a type of advanced practice registered nurse who is in charge of administering anesthesia to patients. They are expected to find the best anesthetic plan for the patient, administer it, and monitor their vitals before, during, and after surgery.

They work with anesthesiologists, dentists, surgeons, and other professionals to prepare patients for their procedures.

How much do Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists make?

CRNAs are the highest-paid practice nurses. Their salaries range from $110k to $203k according to Payscale. The median salary is$117,670 per year or $56.57 per hour. The exact amount depends on years of experience and residence.

The highest-paying states for CRNAs are Montana, Wyoming, and California.

What are the requirements to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist?

To become a CRNA, you need:

  • A Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.
  • A license as a registered nurse
  • At least one year of experience as a registered nurse
  • A Masters degree in nursing or doctoral degree program

2. Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)

Neonatal nurse practitioners are trained to take care of newborn babies born sick or prematurely from the time of birth, to when they are discharged. Neonatal nurses work in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of medical centers, hospitals, or clinics. The level of care expected from them depends on the type of facility.

Some of their tasks include:

  • Formulating care plans,
  • Implementing and monitoring reactions from medication,
  • Keeping the infants clean and comfortable,
  • Monitoring their vital signs,
  • Providing education and reassurance to family members.

How much do Neonatal Nurse Practitioners make?

According to the BLS, on average, neonatal nurse practitioners make $75,330 per year, or $36.22 per hour.

What are the requirements to become a Neonatal Nurse?

You need an NNP certification and/or neonatal resuscitation certification to advance in this specialty. You can also get optional neonatal training.

3. Cardiac Nurse Practitioner (CNP)

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A CNP works in the intensive care unit (ICU) with patients who have heart diseases such as myocardial infarctions, or have undergone heart surgery. They monitor them, administer medications, perform tests, and assist them to understand how to care for their heart after the procedure (cardiac rehabilitation).

They also assist with surgical procedures such as angioplasty, pacemaker surgery, or bypass.

How much do Cardiac Nurse Practitioners make?

On average, CNPs make $116,810 per year which varies depending on education, experience, additional skills, and certifications.

What are the requirements to become a CNP?

To become a CNP, you need to take the cardiac nursing exam, which you qualify for after being a registered nurse for two or more years.

4. Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner

Orthopedic nurses deal with injuries or diseases of the muscle and skeleton. These illnesses include broken bones, arthritis, osteoporosis, and joint replacements among others.

Orthopedic nurses help with diagnosis, casting, and surgeries. They also work alongside physicians to help recovering patients return to full mobility.

How much do Orthopedic Nurses make?

Orthopedic Nurses make $115,700 per year on average ($56 per hour). With a proper combination of experience, skills, and location, you can make up to $123,000 per year.

What are the requirements to become an orthopedic nurse?

To become an orthopedic nurse, you need to take the orthopedic certification exam, which you qualify for if:

  • You are a registered nurse,
  • You have a Master of Science in Nursing,
  • You have over 2,000 hours of practice as an APRN.

5. Oncology Nurse Practitioner (ONP)

ONPs are highly trained in the detection and treatment of cancer. They are responsible for educating patients on what treatment options they have and what to expect from each.

During and after treatment, they prescribe medication and continue monitoring the progress of their patients.

ONPs often work in hospitals, but can also work in-home care organizations, and ambulatory services.

How much do Oncology Nurses make?

The salary range for this high-demand position is $108,901 to $119,901. On average, they make $115,601 per year ($56 per hour).

What are the requirements to become an Oncology Nurse?

To become an oncology nurse, you need:

  • An associates degree or Bachelor’s of Science Degree
  • Registered Nurse license.

6. General Nurse Practitioner (GNP)

GNPs provide basic preventive health care to patients. Although they commonly work in family practices, due to the versatility of their career, general nurses can also work in pediatrics, adult practices, and women’s health among others.

GNPs can work in a number of industries such as:

  • Community Food and Housing, and Emergency and Other Relief Services,
  • Religious organizations,
  • Outpatient care centers,
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals,
  • Social Advocacy Organizations.

How much do General Nurse Practitioners make?

On average, GNPs earn about $111,680 per year or $53 per hour according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics. GNPs are paid the highest in Vallejo, Spokane, and San Francisco

What are the requirements to become a General Nurse Practitioner?

To become a GNP, you need first to become an advanced practice nurse practitioner by obtaining a Master’s degree from an accredited program. With your master’s, you can now go for a nursing specialization.

7. Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Family nurse practitioners are educated and trained in primary health care services for all ages in a clinical setting or a family practice. They deliver strictly family-focused care.

Their typical duties include physical examination, diagnosis, treatment, and prescription.

How much do Family Nurse Practitioners make?

FNPs make $111,680 per year, which equals $53 per hour.

What are the requirements to become a Family Nurse?

To become an FNP, you need to earn your FNP certification from American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC )after acquiring the following:

  • A Master’s Degree in Nursing,
  • Registered nursing license,
  • 500 clinical hours.

8. Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Clinical Nurse Specialists are also referred to as Intensive Care Unit nurses. They are a type of advanced practice registered nurses who work with other staff and nurses to improve the quality of care that the patient receives. They specialize in areas such as medical setting, patient population, type of patient problem, and type of patient care among others.

This role has leadership responsibilities so CNSs are expected to offer advice and education to other nursing staff. They also oversee specific care systems to ensure they are effective and offer suggestions to improve them.

How much do Clinical Nurse Specialists make?

The median salary of a CNS is $109,822 per year ($53 per hour). It ranges between $99,296 and $120,295 depending on experience, state, experience, and additional certifications.

What are the requirements to become a Clinical Nurse Specialist?

To become a CNS, here are the steps you need to take.

  • Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing by completing an accredited nursing program,
  • Complete a Master’s program in nursing or a doctoral degree program,
  • Get a license as a CNS.

9. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)

Psychiatric nurse practitioners often work at correctional centers or mental health facilities, but can also work in private practices or within hospital settings.

They work with patients who have shown symptoms of, or those who have already been diagnosed with, and are being treated for mental illnesses and neurological disorders.

They also treat patients who have suffered mental breakdowns and elderly patients with different forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s.

How much do Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners make?

The median salary for PNPs is $109,670 per year ($53 per hour) but may fall within $98,030 and $120,300.

What are the requirements to become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?

To become a PNP, you need to earn a Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in psychiatric care. You also need practical experience.

10. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Pediatric nurses specialize in taking care of children from infancy into teen years. Their responsibilities are similar to those of other nurses and include performing physical examinations, diagnosing illnesses, and coming up with treatment plans.

They are also expected to educate and direct parents on the best care for their children to ensure they never need to go to the hospital.

Pediatric nurse practitioners can be employed at various facilities such as ICUs and schools among others.

How much do Pediatric Nurse Practitioners make?

According to salary.com, Pediatric Nurses make about $109,400 per year ($53 per hour). The range typically falls between $102,200 and $114,800.

What are the requirements to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner?

To become a pediatric nurse practitioner, you need to sit for the pediatric certification exam that is provided by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. You qualify for this exam if you have an MSN degree with a specialization in pediatric care.

11. Nurse-Midwife

Nurse-Midwives specialize in women’s reproductive health and childbirth. They serve as the primary caregivers for pregnant women and new mothers.

Nurse-Midwives care for pregnant women, assist in delivery, and educate and counsel new mothers on how to adjust to life with a newborn. They can work independently or as part of a team in a hospital.

Some of the industries that Nurse-Midwives can work in include:

  • Office of the physician,
  • Outpatient care centers,
  • Colleges, universities and professional schools,
  • General medical and surgical hospitals.

Although it is mostly associated with women, men also excel in this profession.

How much do Nurse-Midwives make?

Nurse-Midwives make, on average, $111,130 per year which is equal to $53 per hour.

What are the requirements to become a Nurse-Midwife?

To become a Nurse-Midwife, you need to have an MSN degree and be certified as a Midwife by completing a program by the Accreditation for Midwifery Education.

12. Pain Management Nurse

Pain Management Nurses work in palliative care, hospice programs, or within hospital oncology units. Their main responsibility is to identify the cause of a patient’s pain, then prepare a diagnosis and care plan.

They also oversee the treatment of the patient and educate them on how to manage and reduce the pain and what medication to use or avoid.

How much do Pain Management Nurses make?

Pain management nurses make $104,309 per year on average or $44.79 per hour.

What are the requirements to become a Pain Management Nurse?

You do not need an advanced degree to become a pain management nurse. In order to earn the pain management nurse practitioner certification, you need to have significant registered nurse experience.

13. Nurse Researcher

Nurse researchers are scientists who conduct research on various aspects of healthcare, illness, and health at the nursing level. Their scientific studies are published in nursing publications and medical journals.

This is a very essential nursing specialty as the results of these studies are used to improve the healthcare services and outcomes for all patients.

How much do Nurse Researchers make?

A nurse researcher makes $95,000 per year.

What are the requirements to become a Nurse Researcher?

To become a Nurse Researcher, you need to have a doctoral degree (Ph.D.).

14. Nurse Administrator

A nurse administrator combines years of experience in health care and business skills to supervise and manage the nursing staff. They are part of the executive team and oversee entire nursing teams and units, help develop policies, and coordinate nursing with other departments.

They may also be charged with hiring and training staff as well as handling financial matters such as the budget. They may also provide patient care if the need arises.

The operation of the nursing team or unit depends on the nursing administrators to run effectively.

How much do Nurse Administrators make?

The average salary for nursing administrators is about $95,329 per year, or about $46 per hour.

What are the requirements to become a Nurse Administrator?

To become a nurse administrator, you need to have a Master’s Degree in Healthcare and a registered nurse license.

15. Gerontological Nurse Practitioner

Gerontology nursing is a field in nursing which involves caring for the elderly. On a typical day, a gerontological nurse practitioner is tasked with assessing the cognitive abilities of the patient, evaluating their acute or chronic conditions, and educating them on how to prevent falls and injuries among other tasks.

They also groom the patients and give them advice on how to manage their problems.

There are very many job opportunities for geriatric nurses because they can work in any place as long as there are elderly people present. Apart from the traditional healthcare facilities such as hospitals, outpatient centers and, community clinics, gerontological nurse practitioners can also work in:

  • Nursing homes,
  • Retirement communities,
  • Hospices,
  • Assisted living facilities,
  • Rehabilitation centers,
  • Patient’s homes.

They can even open their own practice if they want to be independent.

How much do Gerontological Nurse Practitioners make?

On average, Gerontological Nurse Practitioners make $97,031 per year or $47 per hour.

What are the requirements to become a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner?

To become a gerontological nurse practitioner, you need to successfully take the gerontological nursing certification exam hosted by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. To qualify for this exam, you need to have a registered nurse license, and at least two years of full-time experience.

Final Thoughts

You may be tempted to make your selection based on salary alone. DON’T!  You should consider what you are interested in, what you are really passionate about, and what general role you will play in the healthcare landscape. It would be a shame if a large paycheck stuck you to a job you hate.

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