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The Top Non-Clinical Career Options for Nurses

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Last Updated: Nov 10, 2021

The US is currently dealing with a nursing shortage that has only been highlighted further by the COVID19 crisis over the past two years.

According to the American Association of Nursing Colleges, nurses have become some of the most in-demand and sought-after workers today. People who decide to work as a nurse often do this because they want to care for others and make a difference in the world, but you do not have to work in a traditional hospital or clinic setting to do that.

Some nurses prefer the idea of making a difference in a non-clinical role. The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities that allow nurses to step away from the bedside.

Is It Time to Think About a Different Direction?

If you are currently a registered nurse and thinking about taking on a new challenge, you might be considering whether or not changing direction to work in a non-clinical role is going to be worth it.

After all, many of the non-clinical roles for nurses are quite advanced, and it’s important to be sure that you are going to get a good return on your investment if you need to work towards an advanced degree such as the Wilkes University DNP to get there.

The good news is that while demand for clinical nurses is rising, the demand for nurses in non-clinical positions is also high. Nurses can find a wide variety of different roles in non-clinical settings including administration, management, research, and education.

Why Do Nurses Choose a Non-Clinical Position?

There are many reasons why as a nurse, you might decide that working in a non-clinical setting is the best option for you. Some common reasons that nurses give include:

    • Want to Work Away From Other People:

You can continue helping others without having to be around people on a daily basis, and several non-clinical nursing positions allow you to do just this. While some nurses enjoy the bedside care side of the job and working directly with patients, others would rather avoid it. Working in management or research, for example, gives you the chance to put your nursing skills to use to improve conditions and care for patients, without having to be directly with them.

    • Need a Change in Hours:

Clinical nursing might offer more flexible working options since nurses are needed at all hours of the day and night, but it can also leave you working long, unsociable hours such as early mornings, nights, and weekends. After all, patients need help and care 24/7. If you want a nursing job where you can work business hours and have your weekends off every week, a non-clinical role might be a better option for you.

    • Don’t Like Blood and Bodily Fluids:

While most nurses get used to it, some people never become desensitized to the amount of blood and bodily fluids that you see on the job, and that’s OK since there are several nursing positions where you don’t have to get up close and personal with these things. Working in management or research, for example, doesn’t often require you to come into contact with bodily fluids. If you do, it will usually be in a more controlled environment.

Non-Clinical Nursing Role Options:

Whether you’re looking for a change of pace or want a more non-traditional nursing role, there are several great non-clinical roles to consider as a nurse. Some of the most popular options include:

    • Nurse Educator:

The US is currently crying out for nurse educators, with a shortage of these professionals named as one of the biggest reasons why we are dealing with a huge shortage of nurses right now. The issue is not that people do not want to train as nurses as there are hundreds of BSN applicants each year that are turned away simply because there is nobody to teach them. Working as a nurse educator will involve some time working in clinical settings with your students and some time working in the classroom.

    • Nurse Case Manager:

A nurse case manager is a professional who is responsible for managing and organizing all aspects of a patient’s care plan throughout their hospital stay. When working in this role, you will be ensuring that your patients experience the highest quality of care by using all of the resources available to you. You’ll spend your time collaborating with other healthcare professionals including fellow nurses, doctors, specialists, and social workers along with working closely with the patient and their family.

    • Nurse Consultant:

If you have an advanced degree such as a doctorate in nursing, you may want to consider working as a nurse consultant. This role is especially ideal for nurses who want to move into a non-clinical setting and become self-employed. Nurse consultants are typically hired on a contract basis by healthcare organizations in order to help them with addressing a range of issues including finances, marketing, quality assessment, and more. Nurse consultants will conduct research and thoroughly analyze the company to find strengths and weaknesses, before proposing their strategies and solutions for improvement in the future.

    • Research Analyst:

If you want to work in a role where you are still able to help others as a nurse but are no longer at the bedside or working long and unsociable hours, a role in nursing research might be the best choice for you. As a healthcare research analyst, you will be able to put your nursing knowledge and skills to work when gathering information, evaluating data, and conducting research that can be used in the future to improve many different areas of healthcare and patient outcomes.

Nursing isn’t always about working in the hospital and being in direct contact with patients. If you’re interested in putting your nursing skills to use in a non-clinical role, these are just some of the most popular options available.

Whether you decide to work in education, research, consultancy, or something else, these roles allow you to continue helping others from behind the scenes.

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