If you’re interested in becoming a registered nurse, you might be wondering what career paths you can follow with an RN degree and license. On the flip side, if you already have your degree and license, and are exploring different options to pursue - we have compiled 20 alternative nursing careers for nursing professionals.
Nationwide there is a growing demand for nursing professionals, and that growing need is not limited by the profession. To help train and educate the new wave of nurses that are needed to combat the growing nurse shortage, nurse educators are in high demand.
Nurse Educatorshelp prepare students to become nurses through academic and clinical experiences where they can help provide guidance and expertise. In addition, nurse educators are being hired by hospitals and healthcare systems to on-board new nurses in hospitals to reduce training costs.
One great benefit of being a nurse educator is that most nurse education opportunities provide the flexibility to determine how much clinical work you actually take part in. For those registered nurses who have qualified experience, and would still like to participate in a clinical setting without completely changing careers, becoming a nurse educator is certainly an option to consider as an alternative nursing career.
Utilizing the Average Salary Range for the alternative nursing positions, we are able to see that Nurse Educator's typically make:
With the advent of new technology solutions increasingly being implemented into hospitals and healthcare systems, new technology based care systems have created new career fields like the Telemedicine Nurse.
For individuals who are looking to start a career in nursing without working in a hospital and are considering nursing desk jobs, telemedicine nursing combines both technology and nursing through remote communication methods. As more individuals find additional ways to add more convenience to their lives the healthcare industry has found a way to meet that demand.
Telemedicine nurses can help use different technology solutions like computers, live video/communication feeds, and patient care tracking software to monitor and care for patients. This alternative nursing career is great for those who want to find ways to help patients who live remotely and might have difficulty reaching a clinic to receive vital care or routine checkups.
Nursing professionals aren’t restricted to hospitals and healthcare systems. There are also plenty of alternative nursing careers that are available to those seeking a nursing occupation outside of the typical placement. One such alternative nursing career is becoming a Public Health Nurse.
Public health nurses are nursing professionals who work in either health department locations, or private business locations. These public health nurses will typically provide aid or care where a health or safety issue might arise.
These nurses are increasingly becoming popular as it is beneficial for large corporations to have an on-site nurse that can help administer immunizations or educate company employees about how to live a healthier lifestyle.
Becoming a school nurse is one of the greatest jobs for retired nurses. School Nurse positions allow nursing professionals to administer care to children of varying ages between early childhood and high school.
This is one alternative nursing career for those nurses who particularly enjoy working with children. As a school nurse, additional responsibilities might include treating minor injuries, dispensing medication as aligned with a doctor’s orders at school, preventive screens, and educating youth about potential health concerns.
Becoming a school nurse is one of the great alternative nursing careers for older nurses as it allows older nurses to have a more traditional set of hours and have some time off during the summer vacation.
There are plenty of alternative nursing careers for nursing professionals that don’t require a hospital or health department setting. One such alternative nursing career is becoming a Nurse Life-Care Planner.
Most registered nurses typically work with doctors in hospitals or healthcare facilities to determine the best course of action to treat patients over the short term. Life-care planning nurses, on the other hand, are certified nurses who can help craft a longer term care plan for patients who are suffering from severe illnesses or ailments.
Life-care planning nurses typically work with private insurance companies, lawyers, and doctors to help make decisions on estimated costs and varying needs to provide the medical care that suits the plan to treat the ailing patient.
Nurse Case Managers are nurses who coordinate long-term care options for patients who fall into several different groupings. Similar to a nurse life-care planner, nurse case managers will coordinate with different doctors to schedule appointments, research the newest treatment opportunities, plan surgery times, coordinate with insurance companies, and figure out the best treatment path for patients.
Typically this role is less hands on than a traditional nursing profession as most of the time spent during the day is spent with other nurses, hospital personnel, and physicians.
Becoming a nurse case manager requires a little more education than some of the other options on our list as most companies prefer individuals with either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree - in addition to continuing education courses and advanced certification.
Home Health Nurses are some of the most in-demand nursing professionals in today’s nursing shortage. Home health nurses are one of the fastest growing professions in the nursing field as increasingly, care is needed outside of the hospital or healthcare system to take care of patients once they are dismissed from a hospital.
Home health nurses is a great career for those who are looking for jobs for nurses outside the hospital as most of the time spent with patients will be at their private residences. Home health nurses provide both short and long-term care options to patients who are recovering from a surgery, substantial illness, or disabled, and might interact with home care aides as well.
Many of the tasks home health nurses do are similar to the tasks that might be found in a traditional hospital setting, such as traditional medication administration, patient assessment, wound care, or other duties as required by the patient.
If you’re one of those individuals who would like to combine data, information technology solutions, and patient care into one - then Nursing Informatics is a great alternative career path for you.
Informatic nurses typically incorporate information technology in various clinical settings, conduct research based on new clinical trials, work with various information technology data management systems, and help develop analytical solutions for big research.
Essentially, informatic nurses help combine the world of computer science and patient care. These nurses typically don’t work with patients, and is great for those nurses who don’t want to be a nurse anymore, as it is more focused on big data numbers and pulling information from that data and providing it to physicians to use when treating patients.
For those nurses who have a little bit of experience and are looking for a new spin to their routine, becoming a Nurse Manager is a great alternative nursing career. Nurse managers are charged with supervising and managing staff members in the hospital or healthcare facility you work in.
As new nurses are entering the workforce, additional nurse managers are needed to help provide additional guidance, management of care advice, and leadership to new nurses who might have questions. As hospitals and healthcare systems increasingly look for ways to improve patient care and reduce costs, nurse managers are needed to provide critical insight into improving existing methods and provide guidance to patient care.
One alternative nursing career for nursing professionals who have obtained some management experience after becoming a nurse manager is to become a Clinical Nurse Manager. Nurse managers can become a clinical nurse manager after roughly 3 years of management experience.
Clinical nurse manager responsibilities typically include similar skills as a nurse manager, but focus on the larger financial and organization goals. Clinical nurse managers help handle staffing concerns such as managing and firing nurse members on their staff, managing schedules, delegating tasks, training oversight, quality of care metrics, care development, and financial budgets.
For those nursing professionals who are looking for some part time RN jobs, becoming a corporate consultant nurse is an option. As a corporate consultant, corporations typically bring in experienced registered nurses> who can help provide insight into potential corporate changes that would affect an entire corporate staff.
In addition to insight provided, corporate consultant nurses can be used to help oversee and implement the potential changes over a period of time. Corporate consultant nurses are vital for those organizations who would rather have an experienced nursing professional oversee critical structure and policy changes.
Becoming a Clinical Analyst is one of the many alternative careers for nursing majors that many don’t think of. Traditional system analysts are computer science majors who analyze computer networks and computer information systems to make sure they run smoothly and find room for improvement. A clinical analyst is an analyst who looks for ways to improve information systems in hospitals and healthcare clinics to improve patient care.
As hospitals and healthcare systems look to technology to help advance treatment options, clinical analysts are needed to help analyze data from new technology and software solutions and advise hospitals and healthcare systems on what works and what doesn’t work for potential treatment options based on big data.
For those nurses who say to themselves, “I don’t want to be a nurse anymore,” there are still plenty of alternative nursing careers for nursing majors that don’t involve being a nurse. One such career is becoming a Medical Sales Representative.
Medical sales representatives sell medical equipment, medical software, and medical tools to hospitals, healthcare clinics, physicians, and managers. These sales goods often come at a premium and medical sales representatives can achieve a high earning potential in this highly competitive field. In addition, medical sales representatives have the ability to work on a flexible schedule - something many nurse professionals don’t have the luxury of.
Similar to being a nurse educator, Health Coach Nurses help interact with and coach patients on their treatment options, and encourage them to changing their lifestyle to match treatment needs. Health coach nurses differ from being a nurse educator in that nurse educators typically educate future nursing professionals, whereas health coach nurses typically educate patients.
Health coach nurses typically operate in two fields: health coaching, and wellness coaching. Nursing professionals who operate in these two fields will help coach patients on potential ways to deal with chronic conditions, promote healing options, and improve overall well-being.
Seeking treatment options and the best pathway to follow can be daunting for patients who don’t know the best treatment pathway, or where to start. Becoming a Nurse Navigator is a great alternative career for those nursing professionals who are seeking ways to help alleviate some of that fog that might be in front of patients who are concerned about which way to go forward.
Essentially, nurse navigators help patients understand their treatment options, which treatment pathways are available to them, and explain care options to patients. Nurse navigators are great for those nursing professionals who enjoy interacting with different individuals and are great at communicating complex matters into a simplified easy to follow format.
Becoming an Academic Nurse Writer is a great option for individuals who are looking to detail their professional nursing experience to educate others and talk about the industry in general. Academic nurse writers are useful for nurse educators who are looking for professional resources to use when educating future nurses.
In addition, academic nurse writers can be useful for patients who are seeking external information about certain topics that only nurses can provide.
Becoming an Occupational Nurse enables nursing professionals to continue helping others without having to deal with patients. Occupational nurses typically work with hospitals, healthcare systems, and other medical facilities in providing preventive care to the workforce in those locations.
Similar to a public health nurse in treatment options, occupational nurses differ in that they work more closely with organizations in setting health and safety standards from an organizational standpoint. Occupational nurses are also in charge of oversight of these standards and making sure they are met.
One alternative nursing career for nursing professionals that many don’t consider is a Forensic Nurse Consultant. Many individuals are familiar with forensic scientists, who typically analyze forensic evidence to be used in a crime - and forensic nurses are similar in a similar fashion.
Forensic nurse consultants are used to help investigate and solve crimes related to sexual assault, physical assault, and accidental death. Typically these nurses have been trained with forensic investigation techniques, have a criminal science background, and are very detail-oriented.
Most of the time these nurses are spent in hospital emergency rooms to determine whether any foul play was conducted, and then testify later on as an expert medical witness.
For those who are looking to change their nursing career by a slight margin, becoming a Dialysis Nurse is a potential career change. Dialysis nurses typically treat patients who are suffering from kidney failure, and help patients through treatment and education options.
Dialysis nurses typically perform maintenance reports, monitor patients for signs of change, administer medications, consultation with physicians and medical personnel, in addition to examining previous patient treatment records.
Becoming a dialysis nurse is attractive to so many nursing professionals as one of the alternative nursing careers they might pursue because of the various employment locations they can pursue. Dialysis nurses can find employment in various locations without being limited to one type of setting, work standard hours, and often have less chaotic days than their nursing peers.
Community care centers are short-term care and nursing care facilities that help provide additional care to elderly patients. Community Care Center Nurses are vital to ensuring that these elderly patients receive extra attention and care during their stay at these facilities that traditional hospitals and healthcare facilities simply cannot provide.
This alternative nursing career is attractive for nurses because a typical day isn’t as hustle and bustle as a traditional setting - and developing relationships with the patients is key to a positive care experience. This is a great alternative nursing career for those who enjoy establishing relationships and helping patients get back on their feet through extra attention.
Getting into nursing doesn’t mean that you are stuck in a hospital or healthcare facility for the rest of your career. There are plenty of different alternative nursing careers available for nursing professionals that will still allow you to use your professional skill set and your desire to impact patients in a positive way.