There is a nursing shortage with no end in sight. As a result, nurses are becoming some of the most sought-after professionals in today’s job market, according to The American Association of Nursing Colleges.
Many people get into the nursing field because they want to make a difference. However, sometimes the careers we choose don’t always pan out the way we think they will.
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Other times, it’s just easy to get burnt out on doing the same things day after day. While the daily tasks of a nurse may change, as will the patients they see, they can still feel a desire for a career change.
Is it time for a different path?
Depending on the type of nurse you are, maybe you’re hesitant to change directions. Some nurses go through quite a bit of schooling. They may be wondering “would those years of education be a waste”? Absolutely not!
In any career, the decision to make a change is a personal one. Whether it has to do with your overall happiness, money, or scheduling. Everyone has their own specific reasons for wanting to try something different.
If you’re a nurse and just don’t feel as though your job is right for you anymore, it might be
time to discover a different path.
The growing need for nurses
The 2018 National Healthcare Retention and Staffing Report found the rate of turnover for bedside nurses in was 16.8% in 2017, up 2% since the prior year. A quarter of hospitals in the study reported a vacancy rate exceeding 10%. Recruiting nurses for these positions is both costly and time-consuming.
Despite the need for clinical nurses, it is reassuring to know that there are also many non-clinical nursing jobs available that if bedside nursing is not your cup of tea.
Reasons to Consider a Non-Clinical Nursing Position
Non-clinical jobs are perfect for:
- People Who Don’t Like Working with Blood.
First of all, it’s okay to be a clinical nurse and not like blood. As long as you have a passion for providing care to others, there are options for you.
Because of the great demand in the healthcare industry, thanks in large part to the aging baby boomer generation, there is an ever-growing need for nurses for all sorts of jobs.
- Those Who Won’t Like Working Directly with People.
Non-clinical nursing jobs may be the perfect compromise for introverted individuals. Hospital environments can be overwhelming and they require constant interaction between other nurses, doctors, and patients. With multiple health professionals caring for patients in clinical settings, communication is vital to ensure things are done right.
- Those Who Want More Flexibility.
Maybe it’s the long, odd hours of traditional clinical nursing that concern you. Maybe you are fed up with working nights, weekends and holidays.
Or, maybe you just prefer working individually at your own pace. Some non-clinical nursing jobs allow you to set your own hours and work independently.
Best Alternative Careers to Nursing
Non-traditional nursing jobs to consider
Whether you are simply looking for a slight change of pace, or you are looking to explore your entrepreneurial nursing options, there is a myriad of non-traditional nursing jobs to explore. Here are some:
- Home Health Nursing
If you don’t want to give up your nursing skills or don’t want to stop taking care of people, but you need a less-hectic pace, consider making house calls. There are multiple agencies you can work with to make house calls. They deal with homebound patients that often require special care or a certain number of hours by a healthcare professional.
Once you’ve received training in a traditional nursing position, you may be able to find telehealth positions that allow you to work from the comfort of your own home!
You might also be eligible to work for places that provide in-home care for elders or sick children, where you can help improve their quality of life and ease the stress on their families at the same time.
- Nurse Case Manager
As an RN case manager, you would be responsible for organizing and managing all aspects of your patient’s care throughout the stages of their hospital experience. This means using the nursing process to access, implement, and utilize the resources at your disposal to ensure the quality of care.
As a patient’s case manager, not only would you would work closely with the patient and their family, you would also be collaborating with the physician and health care institution, as well as social workers. This is especially needed if a patient is expected to have a lengthy stay in the hospital. A case manager is an integral part of the modern hospital system.
- Research Analyst
If you’re passionate about helping people, but you don’t want a hectic, difficult work schedule, consider getting a job in the research field. As a clinical analyst, you can use your nursing know-how to evaluate data, gather information and research technology to help improve healthcare in many different sectors.
- Medical Sales Rep
Selling medical devices is another non-clinical career option for nurses. It’s a complex industry, requiring substantial knowledge of healthcare and technology. Typically, careers in medical device sales are highly lucrative and rewarding – with significant opportunities for advancement.
Medical sales professionals often work directly with operating room personnel, selling new surgical products and demonstrating their use to surgeons, nurses, and technicians. Requirements for medical device sales positions may include a bachelor’s degree; some employers prefer previous sales experience.
- Healthcare Educator
Nurses with years of clinical experience have amassed a tremendous body of knowledge, and many find it rewarding to share it with nursing students.
If you want some variety in your career, consider getting a job as a healthcare educator. Even if you’re still practicing, you can spend your nights teaching other healthcare pros. This also helps to keep your nursing skills updated because you’ll have to stay up on the latest trends, research, and technology.
- Medical Secretary
If you think your skills might be better suited for administrative work, consider becoming a medical secretary. A medical secretary does much more than answer phone calls.
They must have specific medical knowledge that can offer support to a healthcare team, and patients. This includes managing medical charts. If you’ve had experience in nursing, you many of the qualifications necessary to be outstanding in this position.
- Surgical Technologist
If you want to look into a more specialized career in healthcare, consider becoming a surgical technologist. You’ll be responsible for preparing operating rooms and assisting surgeons. It allows you to remain in a hospital atmosphere, but work in a department that more condensed and focused on one particular thing.
- Freelance Health Writer
There is a huge market for health topics on the Internet. If you’re a nurse with years of experience, your expertise and opinion can turn into a lucrative career for healthcare blogs, medical websites, etc.
- Healthcare Recruiting
Healthcare recruiters generally work for hospitals or healthcare companies, or for general staffing or recruiting firms. They may be also be employed by nurse or physician staffing firms, which place doctors and nurses in temporary or contract positions.
Healthcare recruiters search out qualified candidates, then prequalify and move them toward the hiring process.
Because it involves a great deal of verbal and written communications, healthcare recruiting is a great fit for nurses with these abilities, as well as strong interpersonal skills.
Self-motivation is also vital for a successful career as a healthcare recruiter, as many recruiting firms offer performance commissions or bonuses along with a base salary.
- Nursing Consultant
Healthcare organizations such as hospitals, drug companies, and labs may bring in a nursing consultant to help address issues such as marketing plans, internal organization, quality assessment, or finance. Healthcare consultants research and analyze a company’s finances to find their strengths and weaknesses.
Once a nursing consultant has identified these, they can propose solutions to streamline economic processes. Because healthcare consultants are chiefly concerned with the business side of healthcare, their skill set tends to have plenty in common with what’s needed to succeed in business.
The Bottom Line: Go Beyond the Hospital!
It is time to celebrate the versatility of nurses. The days where nurses were limited to jobs in patient care are long gone. There are plenty of alternative careers for nurses to put their skills to good use outside the hospital walls.
The healthcare industry continues to grow and thrive. It’s showing zero signs of slowing down in the near future, so there should always be a job available in your area of interest.
No matter the role you have, you can still help to improve the quality of someone’s life – or, even save it!
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Veronica Bucher is a health and wellness writer, splitting her time between Nashville, TN, and Cincinnati, OH. She has a degree in Occupational Therapy, but currently has a job in social media marketing.