Nursing Careers Beyond the Hospital
Cindy Mehallow | Monster Contributing Writer
Mid-career nurses who want to reinvent themselves without starting over can apply their clinical skills and experience outside of the hospital. Take a look at these career possibilities. Perhaps one of them is the key to helping you rediscover your passion for nursing.
Want to strike out on your own? Many nurses carve out lucrative niches as consultants, offering data analysis, strategic planning, project management or architectural services.
Gwen Uman, PhD, RN, is one of them. As the cofounder of Vital Research, a Los Angeles data-analysis firm, Uman began by analyzing dissertation data for fellow graduate students. Her business grew as her clients moved up the career ladder. Today, her company designs research studies, develops custom surveys, and provides qualitative and quantitative data analysis and results interpretation. Clients include clinicians, healthcare providers, trade associations, professional organizations, government entities, consumer groups, and such non-healthcare groups as school districts, universities and credit unions.
“Beyond health and methodology expertise, consultants must have the ability to communicate in a language the client understands — basic English, not research jargon,” Uman explains. “You need a feel for the client’s content area and must be able to market and sell your services. That includes closing a deal, estimating jobs accurately and figuring out market-rate pricing.”
Medical Office Manager
Nurses are well-suited to running a physician’s office, a hectic job requiring a wide range of skills and constant multitasking. “With HIPAA, OSHA and compliance laws at every turn, this position is much more complex today,” says J. Roger Landers, executive director of the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM). Landers suggests that nurses break in as a billing supervisor or coding supervisor at a group practice and then work their way up to office manager.
PAHCOM, the Practice Management Institute and the Association of Registered Health Care Professionals all offer certification programs. While most older office managers learned on the job, some schools now offer associate’s degrees in healthcare office management.
But be forewarned: According to PAHCOM’s 2004 salary survey, medical office managers earned just under $61,000 in salary and benefits. This may not be competitive with the compensation nurses can earn in hospitals, Landers says.