Nursing Beyond the Hospital

By Joan Spitrey via Multibriefs

When most think of nurses, they imagine the trained professional caring for them in a time of need in the hospital or long-term care center. However, the world of nursing is so much more diverse than the traditional bedside caregiver.

One of the draws to nursing is the incredible opportunity that a nursing education and license can provide. Here are some "nontraditional" nursing roles you may not have considered:

Health coach — Nurses have a unique skill set covering many areas of healthcare, making them excellent health coaches. For example, nurse Kelsey Rowell teamed up with a registered dietitian and helps others reach their health goals at The Wellness Chicks. She took her passion for healthy living and nursing knowledge to forge a new business helping others.

Nurse educator — After years of experience, it might be time to pass on some of your knowledge. Often, educators can be found in the hospital insuring they stay up to date or in the traditional academic world — either way, the impact is enormous.

Legal consultant/expert — If you have a few years under your belt and want to assist attorneys in the legal process of a medical malpractice claim, then this might suit you. Many nurses work with firms to decipher or translate the medical record and some even testify in court as to the standard of care.

Life care planner — This unique position assists families, insurance companies or attorneys in determining the plan of care and cost involved in patients with long-term medical needs. Nurses are uniquely suited to recognize the intimate needs of patient care that may otherwise go unnoticed.

Cruise ship nurse— Although still working at the bedside, this unique setting certainly puts your bedside skills to the test. Your work hours may be long, but the fringe benefits are significant. And if you are a dialysis nurse, you might want to look into Dialysis at Sea — the best of both worlds.

Writer/blogger — Nurses are natural educators and communicators. Although many might not think what they say is important or valuable, they need to remember nursing is the most trusted profession, and people are listening.

Forensic nursing — In this relatively new field, nurses bring compassion and science to the forefront of a potentially criminal case. They assist in assessing injury or illness and consult with law enforcement or attorneys.

Case management — Often used in the hospital to assist with patient flow and contain cost, many nurses also work for insurance companies who directly assist patients with managing chronic illness and attempting to prevent re-hospitalization.

The list goes on and on for the many unique opportunities nurses have beside the traditional bedside role. None is more important than the other, but each showcases the skill sets nurses bring to the corporate world and beyond.

For those interested in learning more from other nurses in business, you night want to consider joining the National Nurses in Business Association. They hold an annual conference highlighting different career opportunities from experts who have been successful as well as provide a network of resources and information.

So, as a nurse, never feel like you are "stuck" or have no options. Just look around, pick the one that suits you, and go for it!

Joan Spitrey has been a registered nurse for more than 16 years, specializing in critical care and acute care services. She currently is a clinical nursing instructor, sharing her passion with the next generation of nurses. She can be found blogging at

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