There are so many career options for nurses outside of the traditional hospital setting. If nursing is your passion, but doing rounds on the patient floor is not, consider one of these five non-bedside nurse jobs that you may not have heard of before.
#1. Public Health Advisor
Non-bedside nurse job #1: public health nurse
With the current outbreak of COVID-19, the Center for Disease Control is receiving a lot of attention. Many look to organizations like the CDC for guidance on how to stay safe through when a public health crisis strikes.
Nurses make great public health advisors because they already have experience working directly with patients in a variety of healthcare settings. They can take their clinical knowledge and years of direct patient care experience and apply it in the public health arena.
Public health advisors develop and implement public health programs. Also, they build relationships with all levels of government organizations and project management. It is also possible to get involved in politics to initiate change at the national level, like former nurse Congresswoman Lauren Underwood.
Working as a public health advisor can be a fascinating new career for nurses. Who knows, one day we could even have a nurse in the oval office!
Recommended Education Level: The minimum requirement for a public health advisor is a BSN or three years of comparable general experience; however, specialized expertise or completion of higher education programs like an MSN with a concentration in Public Health are preferred. You can find more information on job listings and requirements here.
#2. Clinical Trial Nurse
Non-bedside nurse job #2: clinical trial nurse
Clinical trials are the process by which cures for cancer and other diseases are discovered – and they are at the forefront of the ever-changing field of medicine.
A clinical trial nurse serves as coordinators for clinical trials and implements good clinical practice for the emerging treatment modalities. This job is an excellent fit for nurses who are as passionate about patient rights as they are scientific advancement.
At this very moment, thousands of trials are being conducted worldwide in all fields of medicine. For example, one clinical trial aims to prevent the onset of rheumatoid arthritis – as another clinical trial is testing the efficacy of a swab test to detect neurodegenerative disorders. For the nurse with scrutinizing attention to detail and compassion for helping sick patients, becoming a clinical trial nurse would be an exhilarating position to hold.
Recommended Education Level: A BSN is required for most clinical trial nurse roles. Advanced degrees — such as an MSN — are critical for those who wish to assume a leadership role within clinical trials and research nursing.
#3. Movie-Set Nurse
Non-bedside nurse job #3: movie set nurse
Hollywood magic knows no limits. Car crashes, fight scenes, and defying gravity are just some of the ways actors and showbiz execs can get hurt on the job, and it happens more often than we think. This is why it’s so important to have skilled medical professionals on set at all times. Nurses, paramedics, and doctors are all found on the sidelines of silver screen productions to provide first-aid care and more.
Movie productions must staff large groups of people who work long hours. They often work with heavy machinery, putting them at risk for injury. Often, very risky work is being performed. Some action scenes – think the kind with stunt doubles – can cause accidents.
The medical team on-site needs to be able to act quickly in case of incidents and emergencies — making your ER experience a great asset. The ability to stay calm and focused in the wake of accidents are key strengths many nurses already possess.
Nursing gigs in the film industry are fiercely competitive, so you’ll want to accentuate your ability to act quickly and efficiently if you get a chance to interview. The pay may not be great at first – often as low as $15/hour – but there’s no telling where an opportunity may take you. One nurse even got hired to go on tour with Beyonce!
Recommended Education Level: Minimum requirement of an associate’s degree.
#4. Hotel/Resort Nurse
Non-bedside nurse job #4: hotel/resort nurse
People on vacation rarely foresee a need for medical care. But as health care providers, we know that illness and injury can happen anytime, anywhere. Hotels and resorts employ nurses to be on-site in case guests need first-aid or assistance getting more intensive care at a local hospital.
Resort nurse jobs, like this one at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company, can be pretty sweet gigs (pun intended). Depending on where you find work, you may even be able to spend your days off at the beach or a snowy mountaintop!
Recommended Education Level: Minimum requirement of an associate’s degree.
#5. Legal Nurse Consultant
Non-bedside nurse job #5: legal nurse consultant
Legal nurse consultants (LNC) serve as liaisons between the medical and legal fields in a variety of venues. LNCs can serve as expert witnesses, be employed by law firms that handle medical malpractice or personal injury law, work in forensic environments, and some opt to open their own independent practices.
The American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants has an extensive list of tasks performed by LNCs. These range from medical research to drafting legal documents and helping attorneys prepare for trial. In this riveting career, you’ll get to see the legal side of the medical field and use your nursing expertise in the name of justice.
As an LNC, you can dip your toes in to see how you like the field while building an autonomous career. According to LNC Wendie Howland, any nurse with 8-10 years of experience can serve as an expert witness for an attorney. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn where medical and judiciary interests intersect.
Recommended Education Level: An associate’s degree is the minimum requirement, but for certain positions, particularly in forensics, completing a program of higher education like an MSN with a specialization in Forensic Nursing is recommended.
There are so many non-bedside nurse jobs for experienced RN’s who want to advance their careers out of the bedside. Consider doing a little soul-searching and decide where your nursing career will take you next!
Guest author Pamela Mahler is a content specialist for Aspen University. She is passionate about learning and producing valuable resources that empower others to enhance their lives through education. Aspen University offers CCNE accredited programs at every degree level. Aspen created affordable degrees and 0%-interest payment plans with transparent pricing so that nurses can focus on courses, not the fine print.
Once a nurse, always a nurse. But what if you have concluded that you don’t want to work as a nurse anymore?
Even though you don’t want to practice nursing at the bedside anymore, it doesn’t mean that you lose the RN title after your name.
After all, you struggled through nursing school. You worked your tail off as a new grad to learn challenging nursing skills alongside your peers.
You may have already spent many years in the profession, working on several different units while adding new specialties and certifications to your resume along the way.
Most importantly, you have helped humankind and even saved lives.
But now you are starting to feel it’s time to move on. And it really shouldn’t be a surprise – nurses are burning out at a rate unparalleled to any other profession.
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For me, it started after having my children and realizing that I wanted more flexibility in my life that a traditional nursing career can’t offer me at this time. I speak with mothers all the time who are looking for alternative ways to practice nursing so that they can be more present for their children at home… and finally stop working 12-hour shifts!
My point is that you will always be an RN. And the best part of being a nurse: your skills are highly transferable. There are many different ways to practice nursing… What will your next nursing pathway be?
I don’t want to be a nurse anymore. What else can I do?
One aspect of the nursing profession appealed to me when I was considering becoming a nurse as a second career: flexibility. Nurses can take so many pathways outside of the hospital setting. Now it’s time to take those critical thinking skills and apply them in a new direction!
After all, nurses are lifelong learners by nature. Taking on a new job away from the bedside can be exciting. Where will you end up next? Have you ever considered looking for a way to use your nursing degree working for a corporation or as a nurse entrepreneur?
If the answer is YES, you may be ready to embark on a new nursing career journey. It is time to open up your mind to new nursing jobs away from the bedside.
8 Awesome Nursing Jobs Away From The Bedside
#1. Medical Device Sales Representative
Alternative nurse job #1: medical device salesperson
Medical device sales representatives are sales experts who sell medical equipment to hospitals, surgery centers, or physician offices. Their job is to detail their products’ unique features and benefits and work as a liaison between the device company and the client.
Many medical device sales representatives spend time in hospital operating rooms teaching physicians and staff how to use their company’s products. However, many sales reps sell products directly to hospital units as well.
If you have an outgoing personality, a bulldog attitude, and enjoy meeting hospital and office staff around your city, this may be an excellent fit for you! It’s a lot of hard work- but medical device reps often make a high salary to match the stress.
Also, many medical device companies hire “clinical nurse specialists” to work as educators for specific products. CNSs travel to business accounts and do in-services. That is a great way to get your foot in the door as a medical device sales representative when you have a clinical background as a nurse.
Polish up your resume and upload it online to job boards
#2. Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
Alternative nurse job #2: pharmaceutical sales representative
Pharmaceutical sales is very similar to medical device sales. However, pharmaceutical reps sell drugs, not devices. (Although some companies have reps that sell both). Pharma reps provide drug information and product samples to physicians. Also, pharmaceutical reps monitor physicians’ prescribing patterns within a specific geographical territory.
Pharma reps go door-to-door and meet physicians who work in specialties that may be interested in prescribing their products. For example, a drug rep who sells a medication for atrial fibrillation would focus on selling drugs to cardiologists.
To be successful in pharmaceutical sales (much like medical device sales), you need to have a go-get-em attitude and an outgoing personality. There is a lot of talking involved in pharmaceutical sales for educational events, in-services, and in-servicing to clients.
Do you enjoy writing? Nurse freelance writers write about healthcare topics and work on a self-employed basis. Most nurse freelance writers are independent business owners who manage their work right out of their own homes.
As a freelancer, your clients hire you to write articles, and you are generally paid per writing assignment or a group of writing assignments. Nurse freelance writers often have clients with recurring projects that they pay for per diem.
There are many different types of nurse freelance writing, depending on what you want to do, such as:
Ghostwriter- write under a client’s name (not your name) for blog posts, eBooks, or webpages.
Freelance blogger- write blog posts for other healthcare bloggers.
Content writer- write for various websites and online magazines.
How to be a nurse freelance writer:
The Savvy Scribe Podcast: One way to start as a beginner nurse freelance writer is to learn from other nurses who have made the transition. Listening to the Savvy Scribe podcast with Janine Kelback and Carol Bush is a great way to learn how to be a nurse freelance writer when you already have a busy schedule.
Nurse bloggers generally create and manage a website with a specific nursing niche they write about. For example, I am a nurse mom blogger who writes about working mom & nurse lifestyle topics – things I have directly dealt with myself as a working mother. Over time you can grow an audience interested in the topics you like to write about.
Advertising, affiliate links, and creating & selling products are a few ways that bloggers make money. In general, bloggers have to start their work as a side hustle for many months or years before making an income. It’s more of a long game – you can start it as a side hustle or work as a per-diem nurse until you get things moving along.
Health Media Academy: Health Media Academy is managed by two very experienced nurse influencers: Brittany Wilson and Kati Kleber. They help nurses harness the power of social media, blogging, and other methods of online influence to create an audience of your own as a nurse blogger.
In addition to influencing positive change on the healthcare blogging front, Health Media Academy aims to promote wealth-building strategies and business focus for healthcare influencers while maintaining their profession’s dignity and integrity. Check out their nurse Blogger 101 course!
#5. Legal Nurse Consultant
Alternative nurse job #5: legal nurse consultant
Legal nurse consulting is an excellent job for nurses who don’t want to be nurses anymore – but still want to utilize the knowledge they have learned while working in patient care.
Legal nurse consultants analyze and evaluate the facts and testimony in legal cases related to the delivery of nursing and other healthcare services. Often, LNCs analyze cases involving injuries and other medical-legal situations. These nurse experts must have strong experience and education in the healthcare setting and act as expert witnesses in legal matters.
LNC’s clinically analyze and evaluate facts and testimony related to the delivery of nursing and other healthcare services and outcomes. They also analyze and review the nature and cause of injuries in legal cases.
Many LNC’s are entrepreneurs and start their own legal nurse consulting businesses. This means you should have a self-starter attitude and be willing to hustle to get your business up and running.
Legal nurse consultants’ responsibilities vary depending on the employer and often include:
Attending medical reviews by independent medical exams
Testifying in court as an expert witness
Reviewing cases to identify strengths and weaknesses
Preparing chronologies or timelines for medical records
Working with lawyers to plan healthcare litigation
Drafting legal documents in medical cases under the guidance of an attorney
Educating attorneys and paralegals about healthcare issues and nurses as it relates to legal situations
If you believe that breastfeeding is an essential start to babies’ life and want to help develop the bond between mothers and babies, then becoming a lactation consultant might be a great next career step for you! Especially if you have had your own experiences with breastfeeding and want to share both your clinical knowledge and personal experience as a breastfeeding mother. Breastfeeding can be a highly personal and emotional experience – helping a new baby get a positive start in life could be a fulfilling and exciting career.
What a lactation consultant does:
Helps mom and baby develop a healthy bond
Shows mom what a good latch looks like
Helps position the baby correctly for feeding
Performs weight checks with the baby to assess sufficient intake
Offers emotional support to breastfeeding mothers
Lactation consultant’s work can work in hospitals, for private businesses, and even for themselves. They do both individual appointments and classes for larger groups.
#7. Nurse Health Coach
Alternative nurse job #7: nurse health coach
Nurse health coaches can actualize their patient’s healthcare goals outside of the hospital setting by helping them develop the healthiest version of themselves. By teaching patients how to take optimal care of themselves and holding them accountable, the nurse health coach can inspire clients to achieve even greater results.
Nurse health coaches work with patients to provide guidance and resources to assist their patients in living a more healthy and balanced lifestyle. In terms of nursing experience, nurse health coaches generally have many years of direct patient care in the hospital setting and have the desire to have a more direct and positive health impact on their patient’s lives.
Many nurse health coaches are entrepreneurs who work in private practice, although some hospitals and doctor’s offices hire nurse health coaches as well. According to some surveys, nurse coaches can earn similar or even more income than they do working in hospitals.
Nurse health coaches help their patients by working with them in the following ways:
Understanding their patients’ unique healthcare dynamics
Holding patients accountable for their pre-established goals
Assessing patients’ readiness for change
Identifying client opportunities and issues for improved health
Identifying and setting goals to achieve optimal health
Empowering patients to reach their goals
In addition, nurse health coaches can decrease healthcare spending by:
Helping insurance companies reduce the cost of disease management, and
Assisting patients to improve their overall health and well-being by decreasing the incidence of chronic illness and the healthcare costs associated with them
You don’t need to be a nurse to become a nurse recruiter. However, most employers prefer working with candidates with a nursing background. In fact, experienced nurses may have more career opportunities in this field than those without prior nursing experience. This is because nurses already understand the qualities needed to be a successful nurse.
Some of the roles of nurse recruiters include:
Marketing- It is the nurse recruiter’s job to find great nurse candidates to hire for the company. This may include attending professional conferences, designing and implementing media advertising campaigns, attending job fairs, and developing relationships with student work advisers.
Interviewing – Screening candidates, setting up interviews, and performing telephone interviews
Collaborating with departments to fill job vacancies quickly
How to be a nurse recruiter:
Apply for entry-level nurse recruiter positions. Employers list job openings through their websites and on Internet job boards. Increase your chances of getting an interview by applying for as many nurse recruiter positions as you can find.
There are other career opportunities for nurses who don’t want to be bedside nurses anymore. The great news is that you have learned valuable career skills both in nursing school and while working as a nurse in patient care.
So, take these critical thinking and time management skills and abundant clinical knowledge that you have gained as a bedside nurse and apply it to a new endeavor.