Whether you’re looking to specialize further, educate the next generation, or make a career shift, there are so many jobs for nurses outside the hospital. To help you understand your options, we’ve created this handy guide you can start using now.
Why Explore Next Steps?
There are so many reasons why nurses consider getting a second career. The most common ones are:
- More time with loved ones
- The need for a regular schedule or weekend time
- To focus on fewer patients
- Readiness to impact the field as a specialist
- Willingness to educate the next generation of nurses
Where to Go Next
Exploring these options and others will let you change your lifestyle without giving up on your passion. Whatever your goals are for seeking another career, you will be able to find a new one that suits your desired lifestyle and fits your skills.
Here are some ideas:
As a telehealth nurse, you may be able to work from home or even travel, depending on your employer. You will provide your expertise to homebound, remote or chronically ill patients via video chat or over the phone. This is an excellent option for experienced nurses who are comfortable with technology and want some location freedom in their work.
Many areas around the country are experiencing a shortage of nurses and your experience will be invaluable.
As a travel nurse, you’ll spend between two and six months in one location before moving onto the next. You will be able to mentor others and learn from a wide variety of hospitals while you explore the country.
The pay is often excellent and many travel nursing staffing companies will allow you to travel with your partner. Get involved with a travel nursing staffing company to get updates on job postings.
3Public Health Nurse
If you’re ready to get out of a traditional hospital setting and really help the community, explore becoming a public health nurse.
Public health nurses are often stationed in correctional facilities, businesses, and government health departments. Your job will include educating local populations, administering screening tests, and giving immunizations. Depending on the position, you may need to pass an exam on public health nursing.
Becoming a school nurse is another way to use your experience as a nurse while getting out of the hospital. School nurses help with vaccines and education. They are also the first line of defense in any major health concern at a school. You will have the opportunity to impact the lives of young people and to work regular hours.
And don’t forget about summer vacation! More time off means no more night shifts or weekends and more time with your family.
As the nation leans more heavily on nurses for medical care, we also need more students to become nurses. As a nurse educator, you will work in a college or university to guide potential new nurses in their healthcare journey. You may also work in a healthcare facility to educate new nurses and nursing aids.
Nurse educators get some flexibility in how much time they spend in clinical settings. This is best suited for well-rounded nurses who have a master of science in nursing degree.
Aside from the specific position of nurse educator, there’s a high demand for experienced nurses in education. You can leverage your experience as a nurse to work as a high school health teacher, give seminars on a specific area of health that you’re passionate about or advise students in various stages of their nursing careers.
If you’ve got an entrepreneurial streak, you can use your nursing knowledge in almost any educational field you want. If that’s something you’re not interested in, look for job postings at schools and private tutoring companies.
7Home Health Nurse
As a home health nurse, you’ll be able to work more independently and provide holistic care to just a few patients, You can do that while building close relationships and enjoying a more flexible or part-time schedule.
Some home health nurse agencies even offer short-term contracts, allowing you to work between traveling and enjoying a slower half-retirement schedule.
8Interim Manager Positions
As an interim manager, you’ll be able to flex your leadership muscles without the permanent stress of the position. You’ll help supervise nurses and coordinate care either during a specific project or while they work to fill another permanent leadership position.
If you’re not ready to leave the hospital setting yet but are looking for a change, it might be time to go back to school. Furthering your education can increase your pay and stature within an organization, helping you impact more lives.
A few common nursing specialties include:
- Oncology nurse
- Nurse anesthetist
- Psychiatric nurse
- Orthopedic nurse
- Neonatal nurse
You can specialize in almost any area of nursing that you’re passionate about, so dream big and pursue the necessary education or certifications. You can help shape the future of patients, hospitals, and the entire healthcare system by pursuing specializations in nursing.
Volunteering is a great way to use your skills and really help out the community. You could pair volunteering with another part-time or seasonal position if you prefer a busier schedule. If you worry about working completely pro bono, there are positions that are available as paid options or “voluntourism”.
A few nurse volunteering positions include aiding in disaster relief or working in a community health clinic in regions where healthcare is limited.
Your skills will always be valuable and donating your time and experience is a great way to give back to your community. You will feel energized and have more flexible hours without the need to give up the career you’re so passionate about.
Your years of experience as a nurse will make you a valuable asset to almost any organization. So, don’t limit yourself. There’s so much that you can do with your nursing degree.
With some creativity and entrepreneurship, you’ll be amazed at how you can leverage your nursing experience for the better. After all, nursing is one of the most in-demand professions out there and we can’t afford to waste any nursing talent or expertise. So, don’t hang up your scrubs just yet!
Deborah Swanson is a former Hospital Administrator who now works with allheart.com celebrating caregivers. She keeps busy interviewing medical professionals, writing for blogs, and gardening.