Nursing Careers: Beyond the Hospital
Hollis Forster, RN
Non-traditional nursing roles
Let’s examine how you can use a nursing degree for a career outside of the traditional venue of Registered Nursing, Licensed Practitioner Nursing or Master of Science in Nursing.
To begin exploring alternative nursing employment opportunities, try conducting a web search for: Nursing specialties. Most of these career choices allow nurses to work with patients in direct care settings. You’ll find an array of possibilities that include:
• Advanced practice nursing (NP, CNM)
• Nurse anesthetist
• Forensic nursing
• Travel nursing
• Legal nurse consultant
• Educator/ DON/ nursing manager
Outside of direct care
There are other fields where someone with a nursing education can make a huge difference while not working with patients. Here are some career choices that are less frequently explored:
Risk Management: Nurses are needed at hospitals, community clinics and insurance companies to ensure compliance to laws that influence the practice of medicine. Chart reviews for standard of care and adherence to state, Federal and third-party payer laws and guidelines are critical to organizations for maintaining the quality of their practice.
Electronic Health Records (EHR): Who determines what needs to be included in the systems that are being sold to health care providers? Nurses can contribute to the development of the EHR packages to ensure companies are providing the best possible product to clients (the hospitals and community health systems). The details built into the chart forms and interfaces are the bricks and mortar of these systems, and medical staff input is essential.
Online Education: Many hospitals and clinics use online teaching modules to orient their staff to procedures of the organization as well as general medical information needed for job performance. Online health care education is ripe for nursing intervention. Content developers typically consult with subject matter experts (SMEs), who review their material and ensure the medical accuracy of the product.
Government Jobs in Nursing: Many state and local programs have been developed to fund hospitals or community clinics. These programs need nurses to consult with hospitals and community providers about the quality of their care and compliance with program guidelines.
Consultants: After years of working in a hospital setting, nurses are exploring ways to strike out on their own and use their experience to assist other struggling organizations serving their communities.
Sometimes it simply takes opportunity to move into one of these unorthodox nursing realms. However, if you feel you need more education, there are many degrees and classes available online that can help you reach your goal.
If you’re just beginning your journey into the nursing world; remember, there can be life beyond hospital floor work. For those of you in the field, you don’t have to give up nursing entirely if you decide you’ve had it with the hospital scene. Be a little creative, you can find amazing jobs that need the attention of someone just like you.
Improve your life. Get a degree. Find nursing degree programs near you.