What can I do with this degree?
A rewarding profession on the frontlines of health care
For nurses, no two days are alike—and for many nurses, that's one of the reasons they do what they do. The scope of nursing covers a broad range of health-care settings. Nurses have a complex role in advocating for patients while striving to assist individuals in reaching an optimal level of wellness and capability.
A nursing career offers limitless opportunities in practice, education, research and leadership. With the world-wide nursing shortage, graduates of Dalhousie's Nursing program are pursued by national and international recruiters offering competitive employment packages. Explore just a few of the dynamic career options below. Note: Some roles require further study.
- Emergency room: This unit requires perceptive nurses who can identify any life-threatening problems and quickly arrange the necessary care.
- Oncology unit: Care for cancer patients who are either chronically or critically ill. You'll monitor a patient's physical condition, administer medication and formulate symptom management strategies.
- Cardiovascular unit: After heart surgery, cardiac nurses provide post-operative care and prepare patients for discharge, including tasks such as cardiac monitoring and health assessments.
- Labour and delivery unit: Share in the excitement in caring for a newborn baby, and provide care to families experiencing high-risk pregnancies or premature delivery.
- Medical unit: Manage the health care of individuals with chronic or terminal medical illesses. From patient education and pain management to discharge planning and methods of maintaining an individual's health.
- Pediatric unit: Spend your time working with children and their families, performing tests such as checking a child’s temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rates.
- Mental health unit: Provide care for individuals of all ages suffering from mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, major depression, schizophrenia and dementia. Mental health nurses provide therapeutic counselling and work with individuals to provide an optimal level of functioning.
Home health care
As a nurse who provides care to clients in their own homes, you could be responsible for the following:
- Caring for individuals and families in their own home
- Administering intravenous (IV) antibiotics for an infection
- Assisting an individual receiving home dialysis for a kidney condition
- Providing palliation, care and assistance to individuals in the terminal stages of cancer
- Wound care management
- Case management
- Geriatric assessments
As a nurse who provides care on a community level, you could be responsible for the following:
- Educating a newly diagnosed diabetic about how to manage the condition
- Advising on needle exchange programs
- Teaching prenatal classes
- Educating children and their parents about making healthy food choices
- Administering seasonal flu shots and immunizations
- Meeting with students to discuss issues of self esteem, sexuality, stress management, smoking and making healthy choices
As a registered nurse who provides care to residents in long-term care, you may be responsible for the following:
- Caring for individuals with chronic illness and/or functional decline
- Caring for individuals with cognitive impairment
- Caring for individuals who require assistance with the independent activities of daily living
- Complex care management
- Collaborating with individuals, families and the interdisciplinary team regarding choices about care and quality of life
- Providing leadership and clinical education to front-line staff
Diverse nursing roles
- Forensics nurses participate in the scientific investigation and treatment of abuse victims, violence, criminal activity, as well as working with patients in prison.
- Legal nurses work in the legal system reviewing medical papers, documents, etc., for attorneys and lawyers.
- Infection control nurses identify, track, and control infectious outbreaks in health-care facilities, and develop programs for outbreak prevention and response to biological terrorism.
- Nurse educators plan, develop, implement, and evaluate educational programs and curricula for the professional development of student nurses and RNs.
- Health informaticists manage and communicate data and information to improve decision making by consumers, patients, nurses and other health-care providers.
- Health-care consultants are often RNs and may work as public policy advisors; pharmaceutical and medical supply researchers and salespersons; or medical writers and editors.