University of Phoenix: Seven Types of Nurses and How to Qualify

While nursing represents several rewarding professions, there can be an overwhelming choice of roles and their accompanying educational requirements to choose from, both for those entering the industry and for registered nurses (RNs) who are looking to branch out or pursue new opportunities.

To secure any type of nursing job requires candidates to complete at least a diploma from an approved nursing program, though some employers may prefer further qualifications such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. In addition to any state-specific licensure requirements, nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). And RNs going on to pursue a nursing speciality may need a bachelor’s or master’s degree, industry certifications or additional training.

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University of Phoenix is well-known for its range of online nursing degree programs that allow students to balance their education, work and other commitments. To help RNs identify the next move in their nursing careers, these are the job descriptions of seven nursing roles and their education requirements.

1.    Informatics Nurse

Informatics nurses are often responsible for the proper use of healthcare technology to improve patient outcomes. This could involve working with software developers to design health informatics systems or building software themselves, performing audits on existing systems and analyzing data to inform decisions.

RNs interested in becoming informatics nurses should be aware that some employers require specific certifications or advanced degrees. University of Phoenix offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a concentration in Informatics, which can help students learn how to analyze data to aid decision making and improve patient outcomes.

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2.    Charge Nurse

Charge nurses provide crucial coordination between hospital administration and general nursing staff. Often undertaking many of the patient care responsibilities expected of an RN, charge nurses also oversee administrative duties and a department of nurses, manage employees, coordinate schedules, provide guidance for colleagues and handle patient admissions and discharge.

For RNs wanting to become a charge nurse or step into another leadership role, an RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree can help.

3.    Nurse Faculty

Members of a nurse faculty represent the teaching staff who train and educate other nurses. Additionally, their tasks may include conducting research and assessing healthcare policies, evaluating new technologies, and updating curriculums for future generations of nurse teaching.

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As well as the experience gained from working as an RN and the skills to translate that experience to others, employers typically expect nurse faculty to have a BSN and sometimes an MSN.

4.    Clinical Director

Clinical directors, or medical and health service managers, oversee human resources and healthcare administration in many settings such as hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. They are responsible for implementing clinical policies, managing teams of staff and running a positive healthcare environment that operates smoothly.

Clinical directors usually need a bachelor’s degree in a healthcare field, though some employers ask for a master’s degree and experience in the field.

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5.    Director of Nursing

Directors of nursing oversee the nursing department of a healthcare facility and usually report to a chief nursing officer. Typical tasks involve implementing nursing procedures, managing staff and serving as the link between nurses and other facility departments.

Directors of nursing require years of experience in the nursing profession and strong communication and management skills. While most directors have a bachelor’s degree in nursing or other healthcare fields, other common requirements include a master’s degree and hospital administrative experience.

6.    Chief Nursing Officer

Chief nursing officers (CNOs), or chief nursing executives, represent the highest level of healthcare administrators. Though the particulars of the role vary between facilities, in general, CNOs write and implement broader policies, represent the department of nurses to the administration and manage staff, training and budgets.

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There are no specific requirements for RNs wishing to achieve a CNO position as such, but most hold at least a bachelor’s degree and have plenty of experience in the nursing field. Some employers prefer a more advanced degree such as an MSN or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.

7.    Nurse Practitioner

Unlike the previous six roles, to obtain licensure as a nurse practitioner (NP), candidates must have both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, among other requirements. NPs, otherwise known as a type of advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), carry out many of an RN’s patient-facing responsibilities but can also prescribe medication and design medical treatment plans for patients. In addition, NPs tend to specialize in the needs of a particular population such as psychiatric or pediatric health.

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Further Education for Registered Nurses

When enhancing a nursing career or pursuing higher positions in the field, RNs can pursue a BSN, MSN or DNP with University of Phoenix to prepare for new opportunities. Plus, for RNs who hold a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field and wish to speed up the process to earn their MSN, the University offers a Nursing Bridge Program.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is committed to advancing the educational goals of adult and nontraditional learners and to helping students navigate the career options and degree programs that best suit their interests. The University’s degrees align with many popular career paths including roles in cybersecurity, business and nursing. With the University’s flexible start dates, online classes and scholarship opportunities, anyone can earn the degree they need.

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University of Phoenix’s Career Services for Life® supports active students and graduates with the resources needed to be prepared when entering the workforce for no additional charge, such as career guidance, resume and interview support, and education and networking opportunities. Learn more by visiting