The nursing profession is incredibly versatile. It has the potential to suit individuals with differing interests. Nurses are hired in a plenty of roles and are required to perform a variety of duties in addition to caring for patients.
As healthcare emergencies are fairly common, a lot of places also like to have a medical professional on site in case the inevitable happens. Nurses are hired by schools, businesses, cruise ships, and rehabs so there is a lot of opportunities to explore in the nursing profession. Elmhurst University notes that approximately 40% of RNs are hired in nursing jobs outside hospitals. Therefore, it is not necessary that if you choose a nursing career you will be limited to only caring for patients in a hospital.
Types of non-traditional nursing jobs
These non-traditional nursing jobs mostly rely on nurses to use their medical knowledge in innovative ways. So non-medical skills are very valuable for these jobs. So, a clear understanding of your personality, skills, interests and weaknesses are important as they can help you determine what non-traditional nursing job may be the right one for you.
Most popular non-traditional nursing roles include:
Ambulatory care nurses include nurses working in emergency care centers ranging from outpatient care centers to telehealth. These nurses often see a large number of patients in a short time and are therefore required to be astute with their clinical decision-making processes. As patients brought into emergency care can often have life-threatening medical emergencies, nurses must be prompt and cautious with their approach.
These nurses also need to communicate with other healthcare professionals about patient needs in addition to aiding the patient in navigating the healthcare system. They are also responsible for allocation of roles and responsibilities of nursing personnel. Therefore, leadership and communication skills are highly valued in an ambulatory care nurse. Responsibilities of ambulatory care nurses can range from providing care coordination to providing consultation via telehealth platforms.
A registered nurse in ambulatory care can also perceive potential career growth prospects into managerial roles owing to their unique combination of medical knowledge and interpersonal skills.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 18% of registered nurses worked in ambulatory healthcare services across the country in 2021, making it the second most preferred employment setting for registered nurses after hospitals. The number is expected to grow in the oncoming years. Nurse Journal notes that ambulatory nurses make approximately $89,300 annually, making this profession one of the most well-paying nursing professions.
Some examples of ambulatory care nurses can include case managers, occupational nurses, military nurses and outpatient clinic nurses.
Nurse educators are integral to the nursing community as they teach and instruct nursing students to become skilled healthcare professionals. They primarily operate in academic settings but can often be hired by hospitals or clinics to keep nursing personnel updated with everchanging healthcare policies.
Nurse educators typically begin their careers as RNs and move on to higher education though advanced degrees like MSNs or DNPs before turning to mentor aspiring students. They play a pivotal role in maintain a positive atmosphere within the medical community for professionals to grow professionally and personally. Nurse educators often build lasting relationships with their students that last throughout their whole careers. Therefore, these professionals often are required to serve as mentors and role models and need to have strong interpersonal skills in addition to clinical expertise.
According to BLS, certified nurse educators are paid a median salary of $78,580 annually. Like all nursing professions, this profession is also facing shortages and, according to All Nursing Schools, is estimated to grow by almost 21.5% by 2031 .
Public health nurses
Primary roles of public health nurses include educating communities about health risks and health practices that can be beneficial to the community. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the role of public health nurses in terms of risk reduction and preventive care.
Public health nurses are licensed medical professionals who also need to have strong analytical skills along with leadership qualities. These nurses are often required to conduct surveys to analyze risk factors and educate the people about them. They are also required to work with other healthcare professionals at times to guide patients to necessary care facilities.
Public health nurses can be hired by government and private institutions to ensure healthcare facilities can have the maximum outreach. Nurse Journal records public health nurse salaries to be ranging from $46,000 to $93,000.
Research nurses are invaluable to the medical community as their role is essential to medical advancement. They take part in research studies and trials, supervising, observing, recording and reporting every progressive occurrence. At times, they may even need to interact with patients and must have good communication skills, along with analytical ones. Research nurses can also be required to publish papers and appear in medical conferences to share results of their studies.
Clinical research nurses often have advanced nursing degrees and are estimated to make $87,048 annually on average. According to Regis College, the BLS estimates that the demand for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), which may include nurse researchers, to grow 45% between 2020 and 2030.
As nurses interact with patients on a day-to-day level, they have significant responsibility in maintaining patient well-being. The nurses’ Code of Ethics dictates nurses to be mindful of and prioritize patient rights at all times. Therefore every nurse has a significant advocative function in patientcare.
However, nurses can also opt towards advocacy specializations if they find themselves passionate towards it. In addition to a specialization certificate, nurse advocates must also have advanced nursing degrees. Nurse advocates earn $72,240 annually on average, according to Nurse Journal.
Nurse consultants offer their medical and non-medical expertise in the healthcare industry to a variety of scenarios, ranging from healthcare to law to televisions. They often specialize in particular areas and are required to go through a rigorous academic and clinical journey to become a consultant.
Nurse consultant specializations can be in clinical, operational, legal or even entertainment fields and some of these specializations can at times be required to be certified by specific bodies. For instance, a legal nurse consultant must seek a legal certification from the American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board (ALNCCB). However, in cases like when nurses who offer their consultation services to say, a TV show production for fact-checking medical scenarios, no such certification is required.
Nurse consultant salaries can vary depending on who they offer the services to. Legal consultations are usually most common and the median annual salary of a legal nurse consultant is $86,024.
Other non-traditional nurse positions can include forensic nurses, nurse writers, nurse auditors, pharmaceutical nurses, health coach nurses and nursing positions in places with limited communication to the rest of the world at times, like cruise ships, flights and oil rigs.
Nursing careers outside the hospitals can give you unique opportunities to exercise your strengths while finding a way around your weaknesses. These diverse career opportunities can also help you ensure proper job satisfaction. In addition, these nursing jobs can also help you achieve your career goals without sacrificing work-life balance.