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What can I do with this major?




  • Staff Nursing Hospital Specialties Include: Pediatrics, Surgical, Emergency, Critical Care, Maternity, Women's Health, Newborn Intensive Care, Cancer Treatment, Psychiatric/Mental Health, Operating Room/Recovery Room, Various Others
  • Occupational or Industrial Health
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics and medical centers
  • Physicians' offices and medical groups
  • Outpatient surgery centers 
  • Home health agencies 
  • Extended care facilities: Nursing homes, Rehabilitation centers, Hospices
  • Psychiatric hospitals and mental health agencies
  • Educational institutions
  • Large corporations
  • Gain experience through externship or internship programs. Work or volunteer in healthcare and medical settings during summers and breaks. Take electives in areas such as wellness, holistic health, medical ethics, and death and dying.
  • Develop good organizational skills and the ability to handle stress. Develop patience, ability to work with both patients and families for long periods, and good listening skills. Be prepared to work nights, weekends, and holidays in a hospital setting. Obtain a master's degree for positions such as nurse practitioner, clinical specialist, or nurse administrator. Cultivate managerial skills for head nurse or other supervisory positions.

Community and Public Health

  • Home Health
  • Rural Nursing
  • Health Education
  • Public and private schools
  • Daycare centers 
  • Mental health facilities
  • State and local health departments
  • Home healthcare agencies
  • Senior centers
  • Nurse-run clinics
  • Religious organizations
  • Social service agencies

Develop knowledge and skills in management, decision-making, mediation, teaching, counseling, speaking, and writing. Gain experience in the ability to handle emergencies, work independently, and be flexible. Develop expertise in first aid procedures. Expand knowledge of health issues related to age, cultures, religions, ethics, and government policies. Obtain a master's degree for nurse practitioner positions.

Independent Practice

  • Temporary Staffing
  • Travel Nursing
  • Personal Services Contracting
  • Private Duty
  • Midwifery
  • Healthcare staffing agencies
  • Travel companies
  • Businesses and organizations with temporary needs
  • Private households

Gained the required years of experience. Learn to work autonomously and make decisions independently. Be prepared to move frequently to various locations either locally or abroad. Become flexible and adaptable.

Government Service

  • Staff Nursing
  • Administration
  • Policy Development
  • Research
  • Government health agencies including: Public Health Service, Indian Health Service, Veterans Administration, Peace Corps, VISTA
  • Armed services
  • Prisons
  • Define an area of interest since government work offers a variety of practices.
  • Plan on graduate study in teaching, research, or administration for advancement.
  • Become familiar with other cultures, languages, health systems and beliefs. Be prepared for combat nursing in armed services.


  • Teaching
  • Educational Administration
  • Teaching hospitals
  • Colleges and universities
  • Schools of nursing
  • Wellness centers
  • Public school systems
  • Community education programs

Develop patience, sensitivity to the needs of young adults as well as patients, and the ability to accept responsibility for the actions of others. Take courses in the principles and practices of teaching. Earn an advanced degree to teach at the college or university level. Gain experience in public speaking.

Nursing Research

  • Large hospitals and medical centers
  • Colleges and universities
  • Centers for nursing research
  • National Institute for Nursing
  • Pharmaceutical companies

Gain experience with research through supervised independent study or class projects. Develop curiosity, analytical thinking, attention to detail, persistence, good writing skills, and an understanding of statistics. Obtain a Ph.D.


  • Call centers
  • Private Offices
  • Clinics
  • HMO's
  • Hospitals
  • Work in other practices for five to ten years to gain the necessary experience.
  • Develop good communication skills and the ability to make important decisions quickly.

International Health

  • Embassies
  • Military bases
  • National or international government agencies
  • Private voluntary organizations
  • Church-related mission services
  • World Health Organization

Consider advanced education as a clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner to be more marketable. Learn a foreign language and an appreciation for other cultures. Inquire about the need for additional preparation in religious studies or similar courses. Research nursing requirements in other countries.

Other Areas

  • Insurance: Underwriting and Claims
  • Sales
  • Product Management
  • Quality Assurance
  • Writing
  • Law
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Information Management
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Forensic Nursing
  • Insurance companies
  • Hospitals
  • HMO's
  • Business and industry: Pharmaceutical, Medical equipment and supplies, Medical marketing companies
  • Law firms
  • Medical and health publications
  • Healthcare websites
  • Healthcare advertising agencies
  • Public relations firms
  • Professional associations

Combine interest nursing and healthcare with another field by earning appropriate graduate degrees or gaining relevant experience. Minor in business or communications as an undergraduate. Develop strong computer skills and an understanding of business practices.

Strategies for placement in Nursing

  • Nursing is the largest healthcare field. Three out of five nurses work in hospitals. Many nurses work part-time.
  • Nursing combines science and technology with the desire to help people. One must enjoy helping people of all types and backgrounds.
  • Nursing requires both physical stamina and emotional stability. Nurses must be able to follow orders and direct others.
  • Earn a master's degree to prepare for advanced practice nursing including: clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, and administration. Earn a doctoral degree for research or teaching at a university.
  • All states regulate nursing by requiring licensure.

Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (2005) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section
504/ADA /ADEA Employer.