General Resources » 5 Alternate Nursing Paths to Consider

5 Alternate Nursing Paths to Consider

Whether you’re a practicing nurse looking to take the next step in your career or you’re just beginning to think about entering the profession, there’s no shortage of paths to take.

There are plenty of great nursing pathways to consider, as each one offers a different routine or opportunity to work with patients in unique ways. To figure out which nursing pathway is right for you, it’s a good idea to do some research into different types of hospital jobs so you can get a feel for which type of career path best suits your interests. In the meantime, here are five alternate nursing paths to consider.

Advanced Practice Nursing

The first nursing pathway you might be interested in is advanced practice. Advanced practice nurses are experts in providing care and take advanced courses to prescribe medication to patients without the direct supervision of physicians.

One of the best careers as an advanced practice nurse is a pain management nurse. Pain management nurses are responsible for assessing the various sources of pain. They also work with nurses and doctors to coordinate various treatment options to handle patient pain.

Becoming a pain management nurse is a great option for individuals who want to help make others feel more comfortable while they are receiving critical care. Feeling comfortable while receiving care is critical to ensuring patient satisfaction levels and providing the most efficient and effective care as possible. Additionally, when patients feel comfortable, it helps speed up their care as they aren’t constantly thinking about how much pain they are in.

As a nurse working to control patient pain management, you can directly impact the overall patient satisfaction levels which are critical to ensuring a successful rehabilitation period.

Emergency Nursing

If you’re looking to work in an ambulance, urgent care center, or emergency room, then another fantastic nursing pathway to consider is becoming an emergency nurse. Emergency nurses typically work in situations where there is a sudden and urgent need for medical care. They also help provide structure to the chaotic environment that an ER can sometimes present.

Emergency nurses are responsible for providing care related to trauma or injury and for identifying various life-threatening problems through extensive training and education. These nurses deliver prompt medical care to those who are suffering from an injury that is life threatening or could result in a long-term disability.

As an emergency nurse, you must be ready to act quickly and prioritize the most critically ill patients, all while remaining calm in a stressful environment. It is a difficult and fast-paced job, but it can also be one of the most rewarding and exciting nursing specializations.

Psychological Nursing

There are plenty of nursing pathways that don’t directly involve work in a hospital facility. Some nursing paths, such as the psychological nurse pathway, allow nurses to work in unique healthcare facilities for specialized care.

Psychological nurses help provide mental health care to groups of patients or individual patients. For those nurses who want to help provide care for patients who are struggling with mental illnesses or psychological problems, psychological nursing might be a good career path to consider.

One of the best careers in this pathway is to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Psychiatric nurse practitioners do much of the same things that are expected of a psychiatrist, including diagnosing mental health issues and prescribing medication.

In addition, psychiatric nurse practitioners will help counsel patients that are suffering from anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts. Many patients just need someone to listen to in their dark moments; if you’re a good listener, this could be the right nursing pathway for you.

Clinical Nursing

The next nursing pathway to consider is clinical nursing. Clinical nursing is one of the most common and most popular nursing pathways that many nurses go down, as they provide care in some of the most unique ways.

Typically, clinical nurses will work in hospitals, as much of the care they provide is directly related to care received in a hospital environment where more serious treatment options need to be considered.

One unique nursing career that falls under the clinical nursing pathway is becoming a diabetes nurse. Diabetes nurses are essential in providing care to patients that are currently suffering from diabetes-related issues. They are responsible for helping patients monitor their blood sugar, teach proper diet and lifestyle methods, and minimize diabetic nerve damage.

Another core responsibility of a diabetes nurse is that they need to properly communicate treatment options and therapy guidelines to patients. Therefore, nurses who have strong communication skills might want to think about this occupation as a possible career path.

Family Nursing

Another great nursing pathway to consider is specializing in family nursing, which is one of the most popular specializations for advanced nursing practice. Family nursing is all about providing the most efficient care possible for patients of all ages from childhood to adulthood.

Most nursing professions only allow you to impact a patient during the time they are immediately receiving care, and then you don’t see them again, but family nurses typically work throughout their patients’ lives and will work in a family practice or clinical setting. If you would prefer to work with patients for a long period so that you might develop relationships with repeat patients, then a career in Family Nursing might be for you.


As one can see, there are plenty of great nursing pathways for you to consider if you are a nursing student trying to determine which nursing field you would like to go into, or if you are a nursing professional looking for a career change.

Nursing is one of the greatest healthcare occupations available today, and part of what makes nursing careers so appealing is the many different nursing pathways available within the healthcare industry. If you are a nursing student or a nursing professional looking for a change, these are some of the best alternate nursing paths to consider.

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