If you’re an aspiring nursing student, looking for nursing careers outside the hospital, there are a variety of pathways you can take.
That’s the beauty of nursing as a career– it prepares you to transition to a mixture of engaging and challenging jobs outside of the hospital setting. And thanks to the booming health care industry the nontraditional or non-hospital nursing sector is advancing at a rapid pace.
But achieving a nontraditional nursing position doesn’t happen overnight; it requires experience of all kinds. So, at what point in your nursing career can you take on a nontraditional position? Better yet, what jobs are even out there?
We teamed up with Rhea Bohall, Marian University ABSN Clinical Recruiter, who traded in her nursing scrubs for a business suit. Here is her sage advice along with three nontraditional nursing careers that could potentially take your nursing career to the next level.
First, you must gain experience inside the hospital. Gain experience in a hospital setting, it matters.
As a new nurse, the experience you gain in a hospital setting is invaluable. That’s because you are learning how to become a nurse. From caring for patients at the bedside to communicating with fellow nurses on your floor, each skill you master helps prepare you to apply for jobs outside of the hospital.
For Rhea Bohall, an RN of 39 years, the experience she gained caring for the pediatric population in the newborn ICU, PICU and ER, is what prepared her to become the successful health care recruiter she is, today.
Nontraditional roles require at least 1-2 years of experience. There’s nothing that prepares you more than taking care of people at all health levels. You take those characteristics with you, which makes you a better employee. You have an understanding of patients and you don’t get that anywhere else besides the bedside, she says.
As a student in our ABSN program, you will have the chance to gain experience in a hospital setting in your first semester. This is a huge differentiator that sets Marian University’s ABSN program apart from most nursing school programs. This will allow you to get over any first-day clinical fears that you may have, enhance your communication skills and grant you opportunities to network with top health care professionals on the floor.
Once you feel like you have gained enough traditional nursing experience, it is then time to weigh out your options before taking your nursing career elsewhere.
Match Your Career Path to Your Passion.
Leaving the hospital to take a nontraditional nursing position is a big decision. Not only will you be challenged with a new set of rules and responsibilities, but in most cases, you will lose direct patient care. It’s important to ask yourself these nursing career questions:
- What are my greatest strengths?
- What gives me the most joy in my work?
- What does work-life balance look like to me?
- What aspects of nursing are less enjoyable for me?
- What are my short-term, mid-term and long-term career goals?
“Before shifting your nursing career outside of the hospital, it’s important to think about what you really want to do and know where your passion lies. Know yourself and have a good understanding of what it is you are looking for. It can’t just be an escape from nursing burnout,” says Rhea.
A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that there were 2.9 million active nursing positions in the U.S. in May of 2016, and 1.6 million of those jobs were in the general medical and surgical hospitals industry.
This means, 1.3 million nurses work outside of the hospital, which goes to show that there are many nursing positions available outside of the hospital setting. But which jobs are out there?
Explore your options.
Once you’ve made the decision to pursue a nontraditional nursing position, it’s time to explore your options. It’s important to know that a number of jobs are found through relationships and networking. Enhance your resume for the type of position you are seeking and don’t be afraid to ask your mentors for career advice. Here are three popular nursing positions that take place outside of a hospital setting:
1. Health care Recruiting
Shifting from direct patient care to health care recruiting can be an impressive career for nurses who have a passion for the human resources side of health care. Nurse recruiters are hiring specialists and are responsible for screening potential job candidates. They spend their day reviewing resumes, interviewing individuals for possible job placement and negotiating salaries.
I enjoy health care recruiting because, I’m passionate about making sure we’re educating smart, quality nurses,” says Rhea. “It’s great to be able to work with programs that are really intent on quality, and to be able to find those academic instructors. I, myself, had an incredible nursing instructor in school; she made me the nurse I am today. It’s really cool to think that I can help find those people today.
Nurse recruiters, like Rhea, have excellent written and oral communication skills, they provide career guidance to candidates and stay educated on the latest job search trends. Not to mention, their down to earth personalities make candidates feel comfortable and at ease throughout their interview process.
2. Risk Management
For experienced nurses seeking a mixture of patient care, health care management and communication, risk management may be the perfect fit.
In today’s world of health care, risks to patients, staff and hospital organizations are very common. To prevent that risk, nurse risk managers build trusting relationships with a handful of people, including physicians, health care facilities and patients and their families.
Nurse risk managers are educated on handling various issues in multiple settings. They keep patients and their families up-to-date about any complicated outcomes and take possible courses of action, without threatening the medical team or hospital. Most employers favor nurse risk managers to have earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing, though some may want a master’s degree.
3. Nurse Case Manager
According to Johnson & Johnson, case management nurses coordinate long-term care for their patients. Their goal is to treat their patients at optimal times to keep them healthy and out of the hospital. Like nurse risk managers, nurse case managers communicate with patients and families on a daily basis. They determine the best treatment for them and research the latest trends in health care, while working alongside insurance companies to help their patients receive the best possible care in the most effective way.
Landing a job in case management requires at least three years of nursing experience – the more you have, the better,” Rhea says. “You will also have to answer medical questions and investigate to keep patients in or out of the hospital.
Take action and pursue a career in nursing.
As you can see, a career in nursing offers a lifetime of opportunity. But just like anything in life, success doesn’t happen overnight. As an aspiring nursing student, it’s important to trust the process of your nursing school journey while gaining as much experience as you can.
The experience you take away from our ABSN program will only help you to achieve a successful and rewarding nursing career, down the road. If you’re ready to take that first step toward a nursing career, please contact an admissions advisor to find out how you can get started.