Over 60 percent of all nurses work in some kind of clinical setting like a hospital, doctor’s office or clinic, but there are plenty of industries and jobs that sit outside those traditional realms, and they need well- trained nurses, too. For the nurse who has grown a little weary of the clinical setting, or if you're about to earn your BSN degree and are looking for some adventure, here are 10 nursing careers that are off the beaten path.
Telephone Triage Nurse
Whether you have your associate’s degree in nursing or you’re an RN working on your master’s degree, a day in the life of a telephone triage nurse has its perks. From any location with a telephone, a telephone triage nurse provides consultations to doctor’s offices, military facilities, colleges, urgent care treatment centers, emergency rooms and more. Besides assisting other nurses in care, telephone triage nurses can also provide information to patients who are trying to decide what type of care their symptoms require.
Medical transcriptionists record what health care professionals are saying in order to facilitate the creation of documents, reports, referral letters, test results and more. Because they are familiar with the jargon, culture, abbreviations and more that make up the world of medicine, a nurse is an ideal medical transcriptionist.
Legal Nurse Consultant
A highly specialized area of work, legal nurse consultants are licensed registered nurses with legal knowledge or experience. While a legal nurse consultant can work for herself, law firms, governments, hospital risk-management departments and consulting firms can all utilize her services. For most nurses who want to undertake this career path, a Legal Nurse Consultant Certified (LNCC) credential is required.
For the nurse who loves the smell of freshly- sharpened pencils, bubble gum and markers, a job as a school nurse might be ideal. School districts employ nurses to assist in the overall health of the student body. As more and more special needs children are mainstreamed, school nurses are increasingly important in ensuring that a child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) is being met. Because there are a small number of them, school nursing jobs tend to be highly competitive.
Personal Care Services Provider
Nurses who provide personal-care services often perform basic services like assisting with bathing, dressing and the like, but because they are trained medical personnel, their nursing skills may come in handy. Because Medicare and most insurance does not cover this kind of care, personal-care services providers tend to work for very wealthy and even famous people.
Oil and Gas Extraction
Nursing within the field of fossil fuel extraction is a unique situation that won’t work for every nurse. Many job sites are offshore on an oil rig that may see dangerous conditions. The jobs generally require a nurse to work 6-months on-site, 12 hours each day, including holidays — but you’ll earn 6-months off for the effort.
Medical writers do a surprisingly wide variety of work. From medical device manufacturers to government institutions, there are a lot of different industries that need a nurse to apply his or her knowledge and insight to the written word. The media in which one writes can be online or print. The topics can involve research, regulation, education and more.
Patient advocates are an essential part of the health care process, and they ensure patients are being treated ethically, fairly, safely and humanely. Because of their insider knowledge of the health care system and culture, combined with their clinical expertise, nurses make ideal patient advocates.
Nurses within the field of occupational health focus on fostering healthy work conditions and atmospheres. Occupational Health Nurses (OHNs) are registers nurses who are specially trained to identify health effects within a work environment that may be harmful to workers, especially in regards to the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA.
Medical Equipment Manufacturing
While they don’t employ many nurses, the companies that make medical devices, supplies and equipment still utilize the services of nurses to ensure that what they make is needed and is up to standard. Nurses within this field routinely consult, test and work on the development of medical supplies and devices that nurses across the United States will use.
You don’t have to spend your entire career in scrubs, and you don’t have to stay close to a big city either. Nursing is a field that can take you and your ambition just about anywhere. From writing to advocacy, whatever kind of nurse you want to be, the odds are good that you can find a job to fit.
Picture via Flickr by COD Newsroom
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