17 specializations for nurses in Texas

black smiling nurse

Nursing is a vibrant field filled with opportunities for Registered Nurses (RNs). Regardless of an individual’s specific interests and goals, the healthcare system in Texas would love to welcome qualified nurses and their expertise in any of a variety of specializations. This article explores some of the biggest specialties RNs can adopt in Texas in more detail. 

Some might find working in a law office helping attorneys prepare for cases the ideal position while others might thrive working with patients in their homes. Whether you prefer to specialize in a niche and work at an issue-specific clinic or want to help patients in critical care at the hospital, here are some of the careers you can work towards in Texas. 

Nursing specialties in Texas

Nursing specialties in Texas can be divided into two main categories: RNs with an undergraduate degree in nursing and professionals with advanced degrees. Most specialties described below require just an undergraduate degree, sometimes with additional certification. Those already working as an RN might already be qualified to pursue most of the jobs discussed. No matter which degree a nurse decides to earn (or has already earned), the good news is that the field of nursing is always expanding.

Here are some of the most popular nursing specialties in the state of Texas.

Critical Care Nurse (CCN)

Critical care nursing concerns patients with acute injuries or illnesses in a hospital environment. Patients who need immediate and round-the-clock care are the main patients CCNs see. These nurses are flexible and ready to change their duties or direction as their patients need, even during hectic situations. CCNs also interact closely with physicians and other critical care specialists to ensure patients receive the treatment they need to recover.

Neonatal nurse

Neonatal nursing focuses on newborns. There are two specialties in this category: neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurses and post-birth nurses. NICU nurses work with babies who are premature or struggling with health crises immediately after birth. NICU nurses often work with the same babies for long periods as it takes time and effort to stabilize a newborn, especially when they are born prematurely and cannot survive without intensive medical care. They also stay in constant communication with the loved ones and family of the baby in question to keep them updated on progress. Non-NICU neonatal nurses, on the other hand, care for mothers and newborn babies without complex medical needs. 

Travel nurse

To work as a traveling nurse, RNs must have at least one year of experience in the medical field. Once they have a bit of experience behind them, nurses can begin to travel around the state filling in where their presence is most needed. Travel nurses often have higher salaries than other specialties, although that is tempered by the costs of moving and accommodation (assuming the hospitals in question don’t cover it outright). This is a great option for people with a flexible lifestyle interested in traveling while also gaining valuable experience in the industry.

Medical-surgical nurses

Those who work well under pressure and enjoy caring for patients before, during, and after surgery, may find that surgical nursing is the specialty for them. Surgical nurses thrive in the operating room and spend much of their time providing pre-surgical, in-surgical, and post-surgical care for patients undergoing all manner of procedures. These nurses also need a strong stomach, of course, as they will likely be dealing with a lot of bodily matter. This is an especially critical position within the medical field in Texas. 

Flight nurse

When patients in critical condition are loaded into a helicopter, flight nurses (also known as transport nurses) take care of patients as they travel to the hospital. This includes assessing injuries, detecting potentially complicated medical conditions, stabilizing the patient, and providing advanced care on the go to patients with acute needs. Flight nursing is a good choice for people who do well under extreme pressure.

Labor and Delivery (L&D) nurse

Labor and delivery is an incredibly vulnerable time for patients. As they move through the sometimes-unfamiliar process and adjust along with their bodies as they prepare for birth, patients often need a reassuring presence. L&D nurses provide care to patients during their pregnancy and birth as well as providing immediate post-delivery care. They care for patients in both traditional births and C-sections, and often interact with women who come to the hospital with pregnancy concerns.

Pediatric nurse

Nurses not only work with pregnant mothers and babies, but they also help as children grow older too! Pediatric nurses work with kids of all ages as they visit or stay in the hospital. They help children recover from many kinds of medical issues, including chronic illnesses and injuries, among others. For those with a passion for helping children grow to be healthy and strong, this specialty might be a great choice.

Outpatient care nurse

For those who don’t feel strongly about working with a specific age group or health issue and instead are interested in more varied days, outpatient care might be a good option. Outpatient nurses work in many different clinics and healthcare facilities to help walk-in patients as well as scheduled patients during routine check-ups. Outpatient nursing is a great choice for nurses who don’t want to have hectic shifts on call at all hours of the day. Working a set schedule might be slightly less exciting than critical care work, but it is also much more dependable and easier to schedule around. 

Forensic nurse

Avid watchers of true crime shows who admire how evidence is collected from victims of trauma, abuse, or other crimes, might be interested in learning more about forensic nursing. Forensic nurses work with patients to collect evidence to be used in trial while doing their best to provide compassionate care. Nurses might also choose to specialize as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) and treat victims of sexual assault exclusively.

Home Health Nurse (HNN)

Nurses treat patients beyond the hospitals and clinics. Home healthcare nursing is a critically important specialization where nurses visit their patients’ homes to monitor chronic conditions and assess their well-being. More specifically, home health nurses (HHNs) are part of an evolving field of nursing with a wide variety of responsibilities. Their care process often begins with assessing the safety of the patient’s home, such as any present slip and fall risk, and then expands to helping patient meet their health needs, developing plans of care, assessing any pain, and working with the patient and their loved ones to implement effective pain management techniques, and overseeing case management, among many others. 

In the state of Texas, home health nurses also care for patients remotely in certain situations. In this circumstance, appointments are most commonly done via video chat with visits in person as needed. They use tools such as wearable personal emergency response systems (PERS), blood pressure monitors, and pulse and oxygen monitors to assess every aspect of their patients’ whether they are directly in the home or not.

ER nurse

Nurses in the emergency room (ER) specialize in working under emergency conditions. They must be familiar with a wide range of injuries and conditions and learn to examine and assess patients quickly and accurately. The latter is especially important, as ERs are typically busy and patients must wait to be seen. Someone with a critical injury will be seen before someone with a superficial wound, for example, so being able to accurately assess an injury is crucial. 

nurse iv therapy

ER nurses also work with patients and their loved ones as they make treatment decisions and await test results. In crisis situations, they help stabilize trauma patients and critical patients too.

Correctional facility nurse

Correctional facilities house all sorts of people with highly diverse healthcare needs. Correctional facility nurses, also known informally as prison nurses, are well-versed in treating and managing the care of the inmates in question. They help manage medications, assess injuries, and treat chronic conditions all within a challenging environment. 

Educational and administrative nursing specialties

While many nurse specialties focus on treating patients directly, there are administrative and advanced careers away from patients that qualified nurses can also pursue. Here are some educational nursing and administrative nursing specializations.

Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC)

Legal nurses are unique in that they rarely have any direct interaction with patients. Instead, they work behind the scenes leveraging their clinical knowledge to help legal proceedings run smoothly. This includes interpreting medical records and serving as consultants in medical lawsuits, including medical malpractice. Sometimes LNCs also work with businesses, insurance companies, and law offices to help them understand their responsibilities when it comes to protecting the health of those around them.

Informatics nurse specialist

Informatics nursing typically requires at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). These nurses use information technology to enhance and streamline the patient’s experience. Their work is a unique combination of clinical knowledge and technology-based expertise that prepares nurses to leverage their love of analytics to make the medical system a better place for patients. 

Advanced nursing specialties

Texas’ scope of practice for nurse practitioners is quite flexible, which differs from some others with more rigid guidelines. According to the Texas Board of Nursing, advanced nursing practice is considered “dynamic” and therefore nurse practitioners are encouraged to evolve professionally by working in new environments, developing new skills, and focusing on new procedures to expand the kind of patients they can treat. There are some finite limits to this, but in general, Texas is quite permissive with its nurse practitioners, encouraging them to care for a wide variety of patients with different kinds of health struggles.

The following common nursing specialties are available to nurses with advanced degrees beyond a BSN. Advanced degrees demonstrate that students are willing to go above and beyond to broaden their knowledge in the field which typically results in higher pay than entry-level RN positions. Those who have ever looked up the nurse practitioner salary TX, for example, are seeing the premium that advanced knowledge from first-class universities provides. The Texas Woman’s University, for example, has an online MSN-FNP program. This highly rated program is responsible for successful nurses currently working across Texas and the wider US.

In many circumstances, nurses earn BSNs before they register and start working. Sometimes, however, RNs receive alternative training. RNs with alternative training should consider leveraging their experience and expertise when applying for the following jobs, as they typically require an undergraduate BSN degree in nursing.

Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP)

CNPs work in a variety of different fields and clinical specialties. Family medicine, surgery, adult medicine, pediatrics, gerontology, mental health, and orthopedics are just a few of the many specializations CNPs can select. Nurse practitioners are increasingly seen as comprehensive primary care providers and have an ever-growing amount of autonomy over how they treat patients.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

Working alongside anesthesiologists, CRNAs help prep patients for anesthesia and ensure that they receive the anesthesia they need throughout surgery. Those who find the idea of working in high-pressure situations to keep patients comfortable appealing might enjoy CRNA work quite a bit. They will need to pay close attention to details and think while on the go in this role! 

Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)

While not all midwives have a medical degree, nurse midwives are held to a high standard and are required to complete at least a master’s degree. In some cases, they must complete a doctorate degree. CNMs care for pregnant women and manage their delivery and pregnancy experiences. They work in a variety of environments, but primarily in clinics and, during the birthing process, on labor and delivery floors of healthcare facilities.

Explore nursing specialties in Texas

There truly is something for just about everyone in nursing. From working with patients at home to helping patients prepare for surgery, there are many different career opportunities for a wide variety of skills. Nurses should keep any specialty that interests them in mind as they search for the perfect educational opportunity or career advancement opportunities!