When you search through the Internet for information about nursing, you’ll discover stories about individuals who state that they’ve “wanted to be a nurse” since as long as they can remember. The nursing profession has a wide appeal to those who want to help people who are sick. But, the nursing profession means much more than this — through nursing specialties, individuals can hone in on an area of concentration that can help future generations through hands-on research, observation and education. These specialties and their sub-specialties are, perhaps, more varied than those in any other profession.

So, to simply say that you want to be a nurse is a broad statement. The only profession that comes close to the wide-ranging “nurse” perception is the medical-surgical nurse who provide cares for primarily adult patients before and after surgical procedures. The medical-surgical nurse has, traditionally, represented the foundation of nursing, as this area is the clinical practice where new graduates receive basic experience. But, the medical-surgical nurse has become a specialty that focuses on holistic care, even though nurses who have entered the nursing field through this specialty have gone on to one of almost 100 other focused nurse specialties.

Medical-surgical nursing practices have served as the launchpad for specialization in oncology, cardiology, neurology, forensics and more. All these specialties have sub-specialties where nurses can gain even more education and experience. For instance, the fairly recent forensic nursing field, which combines nursing with the judicial field, was recognized in 1995 as a nursing specialty. Since that time, a subgroup of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) was developed to help women who are victims of sexual assault. Forensic and SANE nurses often have the advantage of helping to create their own positions, and even whole forensic nursing departments within hospitals and clinics as this field is so new.

Other specialties within the nursing profession may seem ancient, such as military nursing. But, while Florence Nightingale remains an inspiration to many individuals who want to serve their country as nurses, Ms. Nightingale would never be able to envision this nursing specialty as it exists now. The technological trends and educational possibilities available through military nursing service today would astound any military nurse from a decade ago, let alone from a century ago.

If you want to be a nurse, you might want to study all the specialties available within this field. You may discover a niche that is perfect for you, and you can refine your educational and career goals in the process. To that end, the specialties listed on this site are some of the most commonly known within the nursing field. This list can help you jump-start your ideas about how you want to shape your future as a nurse.

Types of Nursing Specialties