After over a year of working in the kind of world that you only read about in history books, many nurses have begun to reevaluate their careers. The long hours and incredible stress of a worldwide pandemic have made many consider moving away from bedside nursing or at least looking for a change of scenery.
If you have a nursing license, you have many career choices, including bedside nursing as well as other nursing-related careers like education or case management. We have assembled a list of several alternative nursing jobs that will give you the opportunity to take your career to the next level, and in some cases, take a break from traditional bedside nursing.
5 Alternative Nursing Career Options
1. Travel Nurse
If, after 18 months of a pandemic, you are tired of living within the walls of your local hospital, travel nursing could be a great option for you. A travel nurse is a type of nurse that takes on short-term contracts with hospitals, long-term care facilities, correctional facilities, rehab centers, and even home health care all around the country.
Other than the obvious benefit of getting paid to travel full-time, travel nursing has several other benefits as well. Typically, travel nurses can earn more than a staff nurse because there is an urgent need to fill at the facility. Of course, this depends on what areas you choose to go to and which contracts you pick up. With that being said, there are a lot of factors that can impact how travel nurses get paid.
The easiest way to get started in travel nursing is by finding a good agency to work with. A good agency will look at your credentials and experience (1-2 years of clinical experience is usually required) and submit you for some options with your preferred requirements. They'll also help you navigate through compliance, onboarding, and figuring out your next assignment.
2. Nurse Supervisor
After working as a bedside nurse for many years, some nurses wonder what the next step is in their careers. If you want to continue working in a hospital but just need to step away from patients’ bedsides, working as a nurse supervisor could be a great option for you.
Nurse supervisors are typically senior nurses who have moved to a more managerial position. They oversee things such as hiring, updating policies and procedures, establishing patient care goals, and training new nurses. In this role, you will be involved more heavily in mitigating any hospital drama or other interpersonal issues that may come up, so you’ll need to be able to manage others.
Working as a nurse supervisor is a good option for nurses who want to gain leadership and administrative experience without fully stepping away from patient care. The one main qualification for being a nurse supervisor is that you should be an experienced nurse in your specialty, since part of your job will be showing new employees the ropes. Ideally, your facility will offer training to help you move into this role.
3. Case Manager
If you want a less hands-on role but aren’t interested in a leadership position, working as a case manager could be the right career move. Case managers work with patients and their families to evaluate all the care options and decide on a care plan for that patient.
For example, in the case of a senior home health care patient, the case manager would work to inform the patient and their family about all the specific care options and other factors such as cost, time, and quality of life.
If you are passionate about improving the quality of life for your patients and do well with outcome-based work, then case mangement might be just the change you need. You will still be able to work directly with patients while discussing their cases, but you won’t have to do the same type of daily nursing work.
4. Nurse Educator
Nurse education is another great alternative nursing career. The ideal candidate for this role would that hs been working in the field for a while, has a lot of experience under their belt, and loves to teach others would be idea.
Nurse educators can work in a variety of environments ranging from hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes to the university setting. Your main role as a nurse educator is to provide training and guidance to new nurses, answering their questions and demonstrating new skills for them to observe, practice, and learn.
This role provides a much needed break from the typical bedside nursing environment. You will also have the constant opportunity to interact with the next generation of nurses and influence how they go about their work in the future.
5. Nurse Practitioner
Many nurses go to nursing school because they love the idea of working in the medical field, but medical school wasn’t an appealing or realistic option. Becoming a nurse practitioner (NP) could be the path for you if you want more autonomy in direct patient care.
To become a nurse practitioner, you must already have a Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN), and then you’ll need to obtain a master’s degree that qualifies you as a nurse practitioner. Typically, you'll be going back to school for two years in most programs.
The duties of a nurse practitioner vary from state to state, but generally speaking, a nurse practitioner works independently as a direct provider. They can diagnose and prescribe medication. With more independence to practice and a higher salary, the extra schooling may be worth it.
How SHC Can Help
With an RN license, you always have options. If you’re still considering your career move, feel free to contact us at Supplemental Health Care for additional guidance on all our nursing roles.
Our friendly, energetic staff can help nurses at any point in their careers, whether they’re just starting out or looking for a change. We strive to listen to each nurse’s individual needs and help them get to where they want to go. To learn about more opportunities that we have, contact our recruiting team today!