There is a nursing shortage with no end in sight; nurses are becoming some of the most sought-after professionals in today’s job market. 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. 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 feel the same desire for a career change. 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.
Depending on the type of nurse you are, maybe you’re hesitant to change directions. Some nurses go through quite a bit of schooling – you may be asking yourself “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 currently in a nursing job and find yourself thinking about a different path, it may be time to choose a new career.
In 2015, the turnover rate for hospitals was 17.2%, which is up from 13.5% in 2011, according to a report by NSI Nursing Solutions. And while a 2013 Deloitte study finds that seven out of 10 physicians say they are satisfied, six in 10 say that it’s likely many of their peers will retire earlier than planned.
Reasons to Consider a Non-Clinical Nursing Position
There are so many non-clinical nursing jobs available if any of the previous statements apply to you. Non-clinical jobs are perfect for:
People who don’t like working with blood.
It’s okay to be a 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, largely thanks to the aging baby boomer generation, there is an ever-growing need for nurses across, for all sorts of jobs.
Those who don’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
Just because this job has “corporate” in the title doesn’t mean you’re going to be stuck in an office setting. Consulting jobs call on RNs to improve care for patients by helping corporations implement new changes and strategies for health. You’ll be doing a lot more broad work with your degree in this position.
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 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.
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.
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 by getting your masters in nursing education online. 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.
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 likely already have all the tools necessary to be outstanding in this position.
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 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.
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!
To learn more, check out the infographic below created by Duquesne University’s Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program.