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Career Alternatives for Nurses


The world of nursing is changing rapidly. From career advancement opportunities to the ever-changing healthcare industry, nurse graduates are presented with many more career paths than just working at the bedside. Nurses who began their careers years ago might not be aware of the opportunities available today, including working outside of the traditional hospital setting and developing their knowledge and skill away from bedside.


Why You Might Consider Changing Your Career

Today, increasingly more nurses experience career burnout at a young age. It’s no secret that many nurses can be overworked and pushed past their physical and emotional limits. As a result, nurses are pursuing options away from the bedside and hospitals. In many cases, they want a change, but don’t know where to start. 


Nursing Careers Away From Bedside

For my fellow nurses who are looking for a career change, these are the best alternative career options to continue making an impact and using your expertise: 


  • Medical Device or Pharmaceutical Sales Rep– Working for a pharmaceutical or medical device company is perfect for the nurse who wants to travel and is personable. In this field, the nurse is required to travel to market and sell pharmaceuticals or devices. There is also an opportunity to help train staff on new equipment in their facilities. 


  • Nurse Freelance Writer – Nurse writers can choose to work freelance or for a company. Opting for a career in writing can look very different, but common options include writing for medical texts and documents, a journal, or magazines.


  • Legal Nurse Consultant – Legal Nurse Consultants work as private contractors or for a law firm. They act as an in-between for lawyers to understand medical terms and medical professionals to understand legal terms.


  • Nurse Health Coach– Nurse health coaches can work independently or within an interdisciplinary team to provide individualized plans for improving clients overall health. Coaching can be in diet, exercise, medication, and lifestyle planning and management.


  • Nurse Recruiter – Nurse Recruiters work for hospitals or healthcare systems to seek out potential employees, market the job, and facilitate terms of employment for new recruits. They might also negotiate contracts, help with the onboarding process, and facilitate orientations for new hires.


  • Forensic Nurse – Forensic Nurses are employed by hospitals, coroner’s, correctional facilities, or mental health facilities. They can help with criminal investigations, determining cause of death and providing expert testimony in a court of law. 


  • Occupational Health Nurse – Occupational Health Nurses work for corporations and businesses to identify, prevent, and correct risks to health for workers. This job varies depending on the nature of risks to workers. These nurses work with disaster planning, risk management, and case management. 


  • Nurse Aesthetician – Nurse Aestheticians generally work in medical offices and specialize in all things skin. This work can include treating long-term burn victims and skin disorders, as well as providing elective procedures, such as botox and laser treatment. 


  • Flight Nurse – Flight nurses are assigned to a helicopter or jet for transportation of patients from hospital to hospital or evacuation and rescue from remote traumas. This line of work isn’t for anyone!


Today, nurses are successfully changing careers by using their skillset to simply create new roles. If you’re intrigued by a career change, it’s best to start looking at job posting pages. Search at clinics and healthcare systems for administrative jobs that require nursing education. The internet is a great resource for finding work-from-home jobs or flexible jobs across the country. There is no shame in recognizing you are ready for a change and taking the risk to try something new.


If you have made the change to nursing away from the bedside, I would love to hear what you are doing now. Comment below!