Beyond the Hospital – Career Options for Nurses are Vast

Jul 23, 2023

While working at the bedside in hospitals is an integral part of a Nurse’s journey, there are many places being a Nurse can take you.  If you are seeking change or want to explore other career avenues there is much to discover! Get ready to be amazed at the many ways you can leverage your skills as a Nurse. Here are some ideas to spark your interest and inspire you to explore the many, many possibilities before you.

  1. Nursing Education – If you have a passion for teaching and mentoring, a career in Nursing education may be a great fit for you. By sharing your knowledge and expertise, you can help prepare the next generation of Nurses. There are many different roles in Nursing Education and be assured, you don’t need a PhD to be a valuable part of Nursing Education. Faculty vacancy rates are high causing students to be turned away while the demand for more nurses is growing, so your skills are much needed here. Joining the world of education can offer some benefits like flexibility, many classes are offered online today, and holidays off, and summers are optional, but be aware that we have a long way to go in getting appropriate pay for educators.
  2. Case Management – Helping patients navigate the healthcare system, coordinate care, and ensure patients receive the necessary resources and support can be a fulfilling way to use your skills. In these roles, you would work closely with patients, families, providers, local resources, and insurance companies to meet the needs of patients.
  3. Nurse Recruiter- Good at relationship building? Nurse recruiters help healthcare organizations or companies that employ nurses, like travel nurse companies find and hire talent. In today’s healthcare environment where there is a shortage of nurses and competition for talent is heightened, this is a growth area but not easy. You would spend a lot of time talking with Nurses, attending job fairs, meeting with students at colleges and universities, and helping find good fits for jobs.
  4. Nurse Advocate – Organizations like Guardian Nurses provide much-needed services to patients and their families. For many trying to navigate today’s healthcare care systems and needs can be overwhelming. As a Nurse Advocate, you can provide expert guidance and support with compassion and integrity. Things like coaching, attending doctor appointments to help with questions and answers, in-hospital support to assure patients are getting good care… the list could go on.
  5. Home Health – If you still love direct care but want a change from the hustle of the hospital, there is a completely different pace and focus available in Home Healthcare roles. Caring for patients in their homes gives you the opportunity to offer very personalized care. Some Home Health providers offer care to a wide range of patients and others specialize, an example is Thrive Skilled Pediatric Care, this is an amazing organization serving a very complex patient population who very much need the special skills and caring Nurses have to offer.
  6. Hospice Nursing – If your heart is tired, this is probably not the right option for you, but if you have developed a relationship with loss and grief that keep your heart open and your vitality maintained, you may enjoy the very special and intimate relationships with patients and their families that come with Hospice Nursing. Many find supporting patients and their loved ones through death experiences to be deeply moving and professionally satisfying.
  7. Public Health – If you are interested in promoting and protecting the health of populations you might consider Public Health Nursing. This specialty has many roles within government agencies, community health centers, and not-for-profit organizations. Areas of focus may include epidemiology, community outreach, health education, or policy development. Public Health Nurses can implement health initiatives, conduct or support research and advocate for positive change.
  8. School Nurse – As a school Nurse you will be focused on the health and safety of students and staff members. More than band aides on skinned knees be they essential, you would do assessments, treat minor needs, advise in care, stabilize and coordinate transport when necessary, coordinate programs on nutrition, physical activity, and safety, and do counseling.
  9. Physician Office Nurse – This can be quite rewarding if you are working in a specialty you care about and a physician whose work and way with people you admire. Here you may assist with exams, perform routine procedures, order tests, triage patient calls, deliver patient education, and make follow-up inquiries.
  10. Outpatient Settings – There are many outpatient setting jobs for Nurses that stills allow for direct patient care, but most often in less demanding settings than inpatient care. Chemotherapy infusion sites, radiation treatment centers, day surgery centers, dialysis facilities, plastic surgery, cardiac rehab locations, sports medicine, the list could go on.
  11. Telehealth and Telemedicine – The rapid advancement of technology and the impact of the pandemic have opened more and more opportunities in this area. Here you can leverage your skills and expertise in remote patient care, consultations, and monitoring patient conditions virtually. This field offers flexibility and the chance to work remotely.
  12.  Nursing Informatics – The ANA defines Nursing Informatics as " the specialty that integrates nursing science with multiple information and analytical sciences to identify, define, manage and communicate data, information, knowledge and wisdom in nursing practice." There are degrees and certifications you can obtain to specialize in Informatics which can lead to a wide range of career opportunities. If you love research, data analysis, designing user experiences, product development, translating healthcare knowledge to engineers, these sorts of things… check out Nursing Informatics.
  13.  Implementation Specialist - Want to leverage all that time you spent learning the EMR charting software, or the scheduling tools used where you work? Every provider of software to healthcare hires Nurses to help with implementations, serving their customers and sales. They love to hire Nurses who have direct experience with the tools they offer. There are often upward mobility opportunities in these technology companies for Nurses and they tend to pay well see number 11.
  14.  Healthcare Technology CompaniesWith or without a degree in Nursing Informatics there are an abundance of opportunities for your Nursing skills and experience in technology companies. Some of the roles Nurses play in technology companies include customer support, relationship management, product specialists, implementation team members, sales support, sales, marketing, and subject matter expert as advisors to cross-functional teams. These companies tend to pay well.
  15.  Research and Clinical Trials – If you are interested in the advancement of nursing science or other areas of healthcare science, then this may be just right for you. Nurses play a vital role in conducting studies, collecting data, and analyzing results. If you’re interested in leadership roles in this area, continuing your education to the Ph.D. level will help secure opportunities, but there are many areas in this field that do not require advanced degrees.
  16.  Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Industries – Nurses bring valuable clinical experience and healthcare knowledge to these companies where you will find opportunities in product development, clinical research, sales, and marketing.
  17.  Insurance Companies – Insurance companies are hiring more and more Nurses for a variety of needs. Some examples include patient assessment, patient inquiries, analysis of patient conditions, treatment plans, monitoring patient progress, coordinating care plans, offering guidance on wellness strategies, determining eligibility, and advice on claims.
  18.  Cruise Ship - Love the ocean? Be part of a small medical team that delivers all kinds of care to passengers. Beyond things like administering first aid and dealing with seasickness, you will help stabilize more critical situations and prepare for transport to a land-based facility.

Well, hope this got you started in thinking about all the possibilities available to Nurses. As a Nurse, you have a wide range of skills and experiences that are highly valuable and can be applied in numerous career paths and you don’t have to choose just one! Wherever your interests take you, stay open to new possibilities emerging and enjoy your Nursing journey.

Have an Entrepreneurial spirit?  Stay Tuned!

We will soon post a blog on opportunities for those wanting to start their own business.  Be sure to join our community and follow us on social media to get notified when it is posted.

“Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”   Dr. Seuss

PS: It’s a good idea to have a strong LinkedIn profile and presence, networking on LinkedIn can be a powerful way to make business connections, that surface opportunities you may not have even thought of!