Non-Traditional Careers for Nurses

Web Content Writer

The healthcare industry does not revolve solely around clinical practice. While the goal is to deliver the best quality care to patients across the country, many health factors require attention in order for this to be achieved. There is a great demand for nurses willing to invest their expertise into non-traditional careers, and most nurses are faced with this choice at some point in their professional lives. There is an abundance of jobs available that do not include interaction with patients and many nurses opt for these opportunities for a variety of reasons.

Web Content WritingWeb Content WriterIf you desire to break away from clinical nursing then you are probably wondering what options are available to you. The good news is that almost all of the choices on offer pay much higher salaries than those earned by bedside nurses. From Registered Nurses (RN’s) to Doctorates (DNP’s and PhD’s), there are many career choices available. The entire medical system relies not only on advanced practice, but also on delivery of supplies, consultants, health advocates, pharmacological developments, research, health promotion, education and much more. So what non-clinical options are available to nurses?

Nursing Education

There is a dramatic shortage of qualified educators to teach the growing number of nursing students. Nurses are being encouraged to obtain their MSN, DNP or PhD degrees and join academic faculties. You must have specialized in an advanced nursing discipline with an emphasis on education. There is great personal satisfaction in preparing the next generation of nurses. There is also job stability and the field is continually adapting in a myriad of exciting directions.

Legal Consulting

This career involves working for government agencies, private businesses or insurance companies. Many open their own businesses and work from home. Certified Legal Nurse Consultants (CLNC’s) are Registered Nurses with additional specialized training. They consult widely on all lawsuits relating to medical cases and are involved with investigating, researching, care identification, medical record reviewing, witness recruitment and the preparation of summaries and reports. Attorneys seek out their nursing expertise and knowledge about the healthcare system.

Medical Writing

Scientific journals, magazine publications, web articles, white papers, advertisements and academic textbooks, these are only some of the many writing projects desperately needed. Medical writers often freelance or work for marketing and healthcare companies. While Registered Nurses without higher qualifications are able to make this their career, most health writers have advanced degrees. Their expertise includes scientific knowledge, medical terminology, stellar writing skills, accuracy and perfect grammar. If you are interested in pursuing a medical writing career then you will need to be adept at time management, self-discipline and be able to meet stringent deadlines.

Nurses may enjoy several different careers in their lifetime, developing healthcare along the way.

Patient Advocacy

Patient advocacy is becoming increasingly in demand. Healthcare systems are complex and patients need people to stand up for their rights. Advocates provide patients and their families with support, and they are skilled at clarifying patient’s rights by answering questions, describing procedures and eliminating other concerns. They must have excellent communication, diplomacy and social characteristics. Experience and advanced training are imperative for this career.

Case Management

Nursing Case Managers are involved with providing patients, hospitals, clinics and insurance companies with the most cost-effective solutions to health problems. While many work directly for insurance providers, there are those that monitor patient progress, suggest alternative health treatments and evaluate the quality of care that patients receive. A baccalaureate degree is the minimum requirement, but specializing in case management at the Master’s level and becoming certified will better your employment outcomes.

Quality Management

Every hospital and clinic in the country needs quality management and qualified nurses are hired to review data, process reports, investigate incidents, monitor trends and be responsible for the strategic planning of continual improvement campaigns. All patients have the right to receive the best quality of care available and this involves implementing in-depth initiatives that will achieve these goals.

Media Promotion

The promotion of healthcare involves liaising with the media. Any medical breakthroughs, announcements or new developments require spokespeople willing to do interviews and appear in media outlets. In addition to this, they are also responsible for widespread healthcare campaigns and are used as consultants for all aspects of health promotion. Many of them lecture to the public.

Non-clinical nurses greatly impact healthcare with the adaptations they bring to the nursing arena.

Medical Device Sales

A solid understanding of healthcare and a vast knowledge of technology are essential for a career as a medical device representative. The use of new surgical instruments must be demonstrated with complete accuracy. They are sold directly to surgeons, technicians, nurses and other staff from the operating room. This is a highly lucrative career with one of the biggest opportunities for financial gain and career advancement. You will need a Bachelor’s degree or higher qualification, as well as prior experience in a sales environment.

Pharmaceutical Sales

Pharmaceuticals are in constant demand and sales personnel are required to provide them to healthcare professionals. This is a competitive industry that involves a thorough understanding of pharmaceuticals and clinical experience. Previous employment as a sales representative will boost your career in this field and success relies on communication, diplomacy and social skills. Ambition is essential and you must enjoy the challenge of rigorous competition. This is a very lucrative discipline for nurses that are successful.

Life Care Planning

Nurse Life Care Planners are called upon when catastrophic medical disaster strikes in the workplace or elsewhere. They need to be strongly emphatic with excellent interpersonal and communication skills. They deal with traumatized patients who find themselves suddenly critically ill or injured and now require a lifetime of intense medical care. Their job is to determine how much that care will cost. They need to consider medical equipment, healthcare services and pharmaceuticals into their calculations. Extensive experience is required in both the medical and legal fields, as their projections are used to determine the final payout the patient will receive.


Private companies and non-profit health organizations are the main employers of researchers. This is one of the highest paid careers available to nursing scientists. They conduct thorough research into healthcare services, pharmaceuticals, diseases, education, health policy, advanced practices, nursing products and more. They are often found in laboratories initiating scientific experiments. The objective is the advancement of all medical outcomes and they are required to analyze and create reports on their research. While it is possible for RN’s or BSN graduates to acquire a research position, employment is usually reserved for those with Master’s or doctoral qualifications.

The entire nursing industry would collapse without the crucial services of non-traditional nurses.

Nursing Informatics Analysis

The technology for healthcare systems must provide nursing personnel with essential information, hold vast stores of data and they need to be user-friendly. The responsibility of this lies with informatics analysts. They ensure that healthcare data is accessible to patients, doctors, managers, nurses and all other healthcare workers, and they continually adapt entire systems and create new applications to improve this goal. Certified informatics analysts must have a minimum qualification of a bachelor’s degree, but you will get much further in this field if you obtain your Master’s or Doctorate in health informatics, quality management or health management.

Healthcare Recruiting

Recruiting companies, hospitals and healthcare firms require medical recruitment specialists. Their job is to find professional candidates for an employment vacancy, ensure they have the required qualifications and recommend them for the hiring process. Many hiring firms offer incentives for their recruiters based on performance, commission and bonuses, as well as a fixed salary. Both written and verbal communication is a key function of this job and these attributes are imperative. Motivation, ambition and good interpersonal abilities create successful healthcare recruiters.

Nursing Administration

Analytical thinking, decision-making and problem-solving skills are required of nursing administrators. They are hired by hospitals, nursing homes, medical centers, rehabilitation centers and a variety of healthcare facilities. They are leaders of administration teams and their job involves planning, budgeting, scheduling, policy making, staff management, staff training and personnel recruitment. This is a specialized field that requires specific courses in organizational behavior, leadership and business management. Most nurse administrators have pursued advanced degrees or graduated from doctoral programs.

Healthcare Insurance Agent

Healthcare insurance agents use their expertise to sell medical services and health insurance. These positions are often filled by nurses with experience related to dealing with patients. After years of persuading bedridden people to do what needs to be done, they have the right communication skills for the job. Insurance companies offer stability and advancement opportunities and they usually train their agents directly.

Nurses considering an alternative career path are able to branch into all aspects of healthcare and promote the advancement of medical outcomes. One of the biggest advantages in becoming a nurse is the ability to pursue a variety of pathways. Innovative thinking, business management, social skills and communication are helpful characteristics that will aid your career. Remember that expertise is always in demand. The more qualifications you have and the more specialized you are in your discipline, the more lucrative the opportunities that will become available to you.