Four Alternative Career Options for Registered Nurses

Published on 03/02/2024 by admin

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Last modified 03/02/2024

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Pursuing a career as a nurse is rewarding. A registered nurse earns, on average, $99,816 per year in the United States. Meanwhile, a senior registered nurse makes about $1,22,107 per year. 

Besides a handsome monetary compensation, the joy of knowing that your touch and care can make a difference can be compared to none. However, frequent exposure to human suffering, seeing patients die and grieving families, and working long shifts– 12 hours or more– can lead to burnout. 

Recent findings from NIH disclose that 65.6% of nurses reported high levels of job burnout. Many have quit their jobs because they feel overworked. This is making many nurses rethink their careers. 

Luckily, there are plenty of alternate career options for registered nurses seeking a career change. We’ll dive into the most common ones here! 

#1 Health Writer 

Writing makes for a great alternative career for registered nurses. You can use your clinical experience to create content for general audiences on a multitude of healthcare topics. 

The vast majority of writers have no clinical education or experience. That means a large chunk of health-related blog posts on the internet lack in-depth knowledge. 

Your knowledge of pharmacology, physiology, anatomy, and various medical procedures, as well as firsthand experience in clinical settings, sets you apart from the majority. As you’re able to communicate complex medical concepts with clarity and accuracy to both the general public and healthcare professionals, you gain an edge over other writers. Healthcare organizations are likely to hire you because of the wealth of knowledge you bring to the table. 

Spherical Insights’ new research anticipates that the global medical writing market size will grow at a CAGR of 9.7% and reach $7.95 billion by 2032. In 2022, it was valued at $3.15 billion. That’s more than a two-fold increase. 

An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is required to become a health writer. However, you must also possess some experience as a registered nurse. 

#2 Nurse Health Coaches  

The growing emphasis on preventive healthcare in recent years has led to the emergence of nutrition and fitness coaches. 

A nurse who works as a wellness expert to guide clients on making lifestyle changes to meet their dietary or personal exercise goals is known as a nurse health coach. Registered nurses can explore careers as nutrition and fitness coaches and help patients achieve a specific health-related goal or a healthy lifestyle. 

Nurse health coaches create exercise and diet plans, as well as wellness strategies for people who are at risk of developing chronic diseases. 

Some nurse health coaches work in a health center to encourage healthy eating habits, whereas others work in a medical facility with patients dealing with illnesses or diseases. These nurses might also get employed in sports medicine clinics and rehabilitation centers. 

While a degree in nursing is a prerequisite to working as a nurse health coach, you must also be knowledgeable in nutrition science, medical nutrition therapy, and clinical dietetics. 

#3 Telemedicine Nurse

Choosing a career path in nursing can also allow nurses to work as telemedicine nurses. 

Registered nurses who use telecommunications technology to provide patient care are known as telemedicine nurses. These nurses, also known as telehealth nurses, use telecommunication methods such as video calls, messaging, email, or phone to assist patients with their health conditions. 

Just a few years ago, telemedicine was underused. But, it rose in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The roles and responsibilities of telemedicine nurses differ significantly from those providing in-person care. These nurses are responsible for educating patients, helping them with symptom management and medication management, as well as monitoring them remotely. 

Another significant benefit of telemedicine nursing is that nurses can monitor several patients simultaneously. 

A bachelor’s degree is needed to work as a telehealth nurse. However, you can engage in telenursing practices if you hold an associate degree in Nursing. You must also have a few years of experience under your belt as a registered nurse. 

#4 Forensic Nurse

Forensic nursing is a specialty that blends the principles of nursing and forensic science to deliver specialized treatment to the victims of violent crimes. That means a forensic nurse provides compassionate nursing care to victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, elderly and child abuse, sexual assault, and mass disaster situations.  

The duties of a forensic nurse aren’t limited to administering medicines and providing exceptional care. These nurses are responsible for collecting and preserving evidence for criminal investigation. These nurses gather clothing and body fluids and take photographs or other items that might be needed as evidence. 

A forensic nurse also assists with autopsies and provides testimony in court proceedings. All these responsibilities make this role stressful, which is why it’s not for the faint of heart. 

An ADN or a BSN will help you land a job as a forensic nurse. But, you will be at an advantage if you earn a master’s degree in forensic nursing. Some employers offer high salaries to these candidates. 

Putting it all together, a degree in nursing– ADN or BSN– offers a wealth of options for those seeking a change from the conventional bedside setting. These are just a few examples of alternative career options for registered nurses outside of the hospital setting. The unique skill set that nurses possess can also open doors to other career paths, such as public health nurse, insurance nurse, medical sales executive, and medical biller. 

Embracing these alternative career options will allow you to expand your horizons and contribute to the diversification of the healthcare industry.