Explore Specialties


Nursing is the most diverse of the health care fields.  There are a variety of specialties nurses can pursue depending upon their interests and the needs of the individuals seeking help.

  • View a video of faculty member Martha Driessnack Ph.D., P.N.P. provide an explanation about what is distinctive about advanced nurse practitioners and how our education and practice overlaps with other health care professionals. (NOTE: This is a 5 minute recording which starts with a black screen. The speaker will begin to “draw” the illustration at the 1 minute mark, so stay with it).
  • Watch the “American Nurse” movie highlighting 5 different nurses across the nation

Some of the major nursing divisions include, but are not limited to:

  • Acute care (specialized nursing to patients suffering brief but severe illnesses)
  • Cardiac nursing (the nursing of people with heart-related problems)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner* (advanced training to provide care, promote health, and treat disease in patients from childhood through old age)
  • Geriatric nursing* (the nursing of older adults)
  • Nurse Anesthetist* (advanced training to administer local or general anesthesia to patients undergoing surgery or other procedures)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist* (an advanced practice nurse whose care focuses on a specific patient population)
  • Nurse Educator* (responsible for teaching and mentoring the next generation of nurses within the classroom and in the practice setting)
  • Nurse Midwifery* (the nursing of pregnant women, from prenatal visits through to labor and delivery, as well as providing primary health care throughout the course of a woman's reproductive life)
  • Oncology nursing (the nursing of people with cancer)
  • Orthopaedic nursing (the nursing of people with musculosketal diseases)
  • Palliative care (specialized care focused on the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness)
  • Pediatric nursing (the nursing of children)
  • Perioperative nursing (the nursing of people before, during, and after surgery)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health nursing* (the nursing of people with mental health problems)
*Specialties offered through the OHSU School of Nursing through master's, post-master's, and doctor of nursing practice programs. 


Learn more about the graduate nursing programs at OHSU

Explore & Discover

There are many facets to nursing and it can sometimes feel overwhelming to know where to get started.  Below are some helpful web sites that can assist you with furthering your exploration in this exciting field.

Discover more about nursing (statistics, salary, opportunities, etc.) through the Johnson & Johnson Nursing Campaign.

Learn what current nurse leaders are doing to help shape the health care field through the highly regarded American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) Journal, Nurse Leader.

A comprehensive guide to current national nursing news, information on continuing educations, career opportunities, and web editions of two nurse magazines can be found at Nurse.com and Nurse.org