It’s often thought that nurses can only work in hospitals and healthcare clinics, but they have many more options available. Among the top non-hospital nursing jobs are home health nurse, healthcare recruiter and school nurse. Before you pursue nursing jobs outside of hospital settings, you’ll need to earn your BSN.
When it comes to nursing, people often think the only job option is working at the bedside. However, there are plenty of non-hospital nursing jobs to consider—ranging from office jobs to jobs aboard cruise ships. With a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, you can also follow a non-traditional nursing path that better suits your interests and lifestyle.
Nurses can pursue countless nursing jobs outside of hospital settings and throughout the community. If you’re someone who prefers working in settings other than the traditional hospital units, then consider these 25 great options for nursing jobs outside of hospital settings.
At Marian University, we are focused on educating you to be a skilled and adept nurse no matter what specific career path you take. Our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program will prepare you to excel in traditional and non-traditional nursing jobs for nurses outside the hospital.
Now, let’s get started on our list of the 25 top nursing jobs outside of hospital settings.
Non-Hospital Nursing Jobs Providing Clinical Care
1. Military Nurse
If serving your country inspires you, then consider working as a nurse within a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. These non-hospital nursing jobs involve working within the U.S. or overseas and traveling alongside the troops to care for them in case of injury. One perk of military service as a nurse is you can get your school loans paid off by the military. Nursing in the military also allows you to travel and gain a wide range of nursing experience.
2. Home Health Nurse
Home health nurses travel to patients where they live. They work with elderly people or those who have chronic health conditions that need monitoring. Home health RNs generally check on patients on a regular schedule. These nurses often develop close bonds with patients because they see each other often for years. If you enjoy caring for patients in the home environment, then home health nursing is a great option.
These types of nursing jobs outside of hospital settings are also likely to see robust growth. Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t track employment data for home health nurses specifically, the BLS does offer job growth projections for home health and personal care aides. According to the BLS, these occupations are expected to see a 25% growth rate from 2021 to 2031, much faster than average.
3. Cruise Ship Nurse
Cruise ship nursing is one of the most desirable jobs for nurses outside the hospital. Cruise ships are equipped with medical personnel, including nurses, who can treat and manage chronic medical conditions as well as any urgent conditions of ship passengers.
Cruise ship nurses get to travel the ocean for work, which can be a rewarding work environment. This role requires nurses to be independent and knowledgeable, for they are far from the traditional clinical environment, and they need to provide reliable care. Cruise ships are gone for days at a time, so nurses need to be able to embrace a non-traditional working schedule.
4. School Nurse
Your community’s school system needs a nurse in each education level, from elementary school to high school. School nurses work with children, as well as the occasional teacher. These nurses get the perk of school daytime hours and vacations. School nurses also help educate students on health topics, so if working with kids is your passion, then school nursing is worth exploring.
5. Camp Nurse
Church camps and other seasonal camps hire nurses on staff to care for injuries and medical concerns of the guests. These camps are in scenic mountain ranges, lakes, forests, and so on. Therefore, if you have a passion for the outdoors, and you enjoy working with young kids and families, working as a camp nurse is a great option. These jobs do tend to be seasonal, so they work well coupled with a school or college nursing job where you get summers off.
6. Outpatient Primary Care Nurse
If you love treating patients, then working in a clinic is one of the more easygoing jobs for nurses outside the hospital. Physicians and family nurse practitioners need nurses around the office to assess patients, run diagnostics, and manage patient charts. You’ll get to know your patients on a whole different level than if you worked in a hospital. This is because you’ll see the same patients year after year, often getting to know whole families. Working in an outpatient clinic means you’ll get to work a typical daytime 40-hour week with holidays off.
7. Specialty Clinic Nurse
Specialty clinics need nurses just as much as a hospital, and they can offer lots of variety depending on the specialty. As with other clinic roles, nurses can expect predictable daytime hours. Depending on what patients you like working with, you could choose to work in one of many clinics. Examples include:
- Ophthalmology eye surgery clinics
- Allergy clinics
- Dialysis clinics
- Children’s specialty clinics
- Genetics clinics
- OBGYN clinics
- Orthopedic clinics
8. Urgent Care Clinic Nurse
If you like the clinical setting but want a bit more excitement and adrenaline in your workday, then an urgent care is worth exploring. These facilities operate like walk-in clinics, treating mild to moderate medical conditions that don’t require an emergency room visit. If you enjoy treating wounds, sprains, viral illnesses, UTIs, and so on, then urgent care is a good change of pace.
9. College Clinic Nurse
Do you enjoy treating students and young adults? Colleges and universities have on-campus health clinics where nurses are on staff during weekdays to administer immunizations, treat minor conditions, and assist doctors or other healthcare providers in the clinic. This can be an ideal working environment for a nurse who enjoys a clinic environment within a campus community.
10. Rehabilitation Nurse
Rehabilitation centers treat patients who need long-term therapy or treatment after strokes, car accidents, heart attacks, or other injuries. Nurses interested in working in a rehabilitation center will often get a specialized certification to become a Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN). These nurses work with patients over weeks or months and get the satisfaction of seeing patients improve to the point of returning home.
11. Community Health Nurse
Community or public health nurses advocate for health advancement within a city or town. These nurses work with local programs and initiatives to foster community health. They also help disadvantaged populations gain access to healthcare. Improving community wellness and preventative care are some of the main focuses of community health nurses. This career is ideal for nurses with a passion for public service.
12. Nurse Health Coach
Nurse health coaching is an enticing career opportunity for the budding nurse entrepreneur. If you are a health and fitness aficionado with a passion for striking out on your own, nurse health coaching allows you to create your own consulting company and help clients improve their wellness.
However, the entrepreneurial path isn’t the only one available to nurse health coaches. A nurse health coach might also find employment at wellness centers, fitness centers, natural food stores, universities, and similar settings.
13. Correctional Facility Nurse
If you enjoy treating patients and you’re emotionally resilient, then being a nurse in a prison or other correctional facility may appeal to you. These nurses care for minor injuries and chronic conditions and distribute medications. Correctional facilities can be a tough working environment without the amenities of a hospital. If you enjoy the challenge of this patient demographic, then it may be a good fit for you.
14. Nursing Home and Retirement Community Nurse
Nursing homes provide a calm, comfortable place for the aging and ailing to live out their days. Similarly, retirement communities intended for active seniors offer both community fellowship and wellness amenities. While maybe not as glamorous or fast-paced as working in a hospital or a clinic, you can still make a huge impact in the lives of others. Nursing homes and many retirement communities have staff 24 hours a day, so you may need to work nights or weekends. By caring for the elderly, you’ll form close relationships with your patients and earn eternal gratitude from their families.
15. Hospice Nurse
Hospice organizations provide services to patients who are at the end of life. Some of these patients are cared for in hospitals or long-term care facilities, but many of them prefer to live out their days in the comfort of home. Hospice nurses, who work for hospice organizations, travel to patients’ homes to provide care.
The goal of a hospice nurse is quite different compared to a traditional, in-hospital nursing job. Whereas most nurses focus on curing disease and healing injuries, a hospice nurse’s job is not curative in nature. Instead, they provide palliative care, which is intended to relieve symptoms, improve the comfort of the patient, and enhance the quality of life.
Patient and family caregiver education is an important component of this job. For example, hospice nurses may need to help family caregivers learn how to use durable medical equipment and various supplies. A compassionate ear and a knack for coordinating care with other providers are necessary for this job.
Jobs for Nurses Outside the Hospital That Don’t Involve Direct Patient Care
Not every non-hospital nursing job involves direct patient care. Here are some additional career paths for those interested in nursing roles in an office or classroom setting.
16. Healthcare Recruiter
Healthcare recruiting is one of the top jobs for nurses outside the hospital, especially for those who have a passion for the human resources side of healthcare. Nurse recruiters are hiring specialists who screen potential job candidates. They spend their day reviewing resumes, interviewing candidates, and negotiating salaries.
Nurse recruiters need excellent communication skills and engaging personalities that make candidates feel comfortable throughout the interview process. These non-hospital nursing jobs are essential for the healthcare industry, as healthcare recruiters play an important role in addressing the nurse shortage in the U.S. by connecting qualified nurses to open positions.
17. Nurse Educator
Would you rather work in a classroom than a hospital? Nurse educators are instructors or professors who teach nursing students at colleges and universities. These nurses need a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree to teach.
Nurse educators teach lectures, skills, and simulation labs, and provide guidance to aspiring nurses. Their hours are daytime weekday hours with summer and holiday breaks. A nurse educator career is perfect for those who enjoy interacting with students more than working in a clinic or hospital. Like the job of healthcare recruiters, these nursing jobs outside of hospital settings are essential for allowing the healthcare industry to meet the rising demand for qualified nurses.
18. Legal Nurse Consultant
Legal nurse consultants use their understanding of patient care and health to aid in legal matters. They work with insurance companies, law offices, and businesses, aiding with medical lawsuits and malpractice cases and going through medical records. If you have an analytical mind and would enjoy a business or legal nursing job, then being a legal nurse consultant is a great option.
19. Nurse Manager
Do you enjoy managing a team of people and making sure they work well together? Nurse managers run a group of nurses within an organization, and they work behind the scenes to create work schedules, manage the clinic or unit, and conduct performance reviews of the nursing staff. Nurse management is a great administrative leadership role for someone who enjoys managing nurses and uniting staff to achieve goals.
20. Nurse Case Manager
Nurse case managers have the role of planning and coordinating a patient’s healthcare needs. Case managers communicate with patients and families on a regular basis and determine what care the patient requires. They determine the best treatment for them while working alongside insurance companies to help patients receive affordable care. One great perk of nurse manager roles is that there are remote opportunities for these positions so you can work a daytime schedule from home.
21. Insurance Assessment Nurse
Insurance companies hire nurses to review and consult on health insurance claims. These nurses review an array of medical cases and write documentation to vouch for support or denial of various claims. These positions have the potential to be remote or in an office, so this is a great option for a nurse who wants to work in a business setting from home or the office.
22. Research Nurse
Pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare organizations hire nurses to work in their clinical trials and research studies. These nurses often work with patients enrolled in studies, assessing their condition and monitoring health measures. Getting a nursing job in research can be ideal for those who have a passion for research and managing patients as they progress through a clinical trial.
23. Informatics Nurse
Nurse informatics is a field where nurses can apply their knowledge in a technical way. If you have a passion for computers and optimizing the patient experience through advances in technology, then informatics is a great field. It does require extra certification to start working. Informatics nursing offers the added benefit of being able to work remotely because of the computer-based nature of the role.
24. Risk Management Nurse
For experienced nurses seeking a mixture of patient care, healthcare management, and communication, risk management is worth considering. In today’s world of healthcare, risks to patients, staff, and hospitals are common. Nurse risk managers aim to reduce that risk, and in doing so, they build trusting relationships with healthcare facilities, physicians, patients, and families.
25. Academic Nurse Writer
Are you passionate about education-oriented non-hospital nursing jobs, but you’re not quite sure you want to teach students or patients directly? If you have strong writing and organizational skills, you might consider pursuing a career as an academic nurse writer. Academic nurse writers combine their writing skills with clinical knowledge to produce textbooks and training modules (including video scripts) to educate healthcare professionals. They can also produce content for continuing education (CE) courses offered online.
Get Started with Nursing Today
As you can see, aside from the countless in-hospital nursing options, a BSN also opens the door to a wide variety of nursing jobs outside the hospital. As a nurse, you will be able to find a job that suits your unique skills and passions.
If you haven’t yet started on your nursing journey, you may be surprised that it’s possible to earn a BSN in as few as 16 months with prior non-nursing education. Marian University’s 16-month ABSN program is available for students with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. It will equip you with all the education you need to succeed in a nursing career. With program site locations in Indianapolis, Nashville, and Oklahoma City, we are passionate about our students and helping them find meaning in their future work.
If you have any questions about applying for Marian University’s ABSN program, contact one of our admission advisors to talk through how to get started.