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
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.
How to get a job in medical device sales:
- Work with a medical device headhunter
- Network on Linkedin
- Polish up your resume and upload it online to job boards
#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.
How to get a job in pharmaceutical sales:
- Work with a pharmaceutical headhunter
- Network on Linkedin
- Polish up your resume and upload it online
#3. Nurse Freelance Writer
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.
Additional recommended reading: 5 Non-Bedside Nurse Jobs Your May Not Know About
#4. Nurse Blogger
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.
How to be a nurse blogger:
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
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
And although certification isn’t necessarily a requirement for working as a legal nurse consultant, many employers prefer to work with nurses who hold a certification from the American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board (ALNCC).
#6. Lactation Consultant
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
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.
- 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
Resources to become a nurse health coach:
- Jessica Smith, Life Coach for nurses at Jessica Smith RN Coach
- Donnie Alvarenga, Health People, Inc.
#8. Nurse Recruiter
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.
Additional recommended reading:
- Alternative Nursing: Unique Careers Within Nursing
- Nurse Health: Self Care For 12 Hour Shifts
- How Adopting A New Specialty Reignited My Passion For Nursing
- 3 Reasons Why Nurses Quit