Alternative Careers in Nursing Part 2: Administrative, Education, IT and Research

Career options available for those in the nursing field have never been better. In this four-part series, we are examining opportunities for nurses who are looking for careers outside that of the traditional hospital bedside nurse.

In part 2 of this series, we focus on administrative, educator, IT, and research positions.

Administrative Alternatives

While some may not associate nursing with administration, nurses serving in an administrative position are able to stay connected to the healthcare scene and even create positive change through healthcare reform.

Nurse administrators’ tasks are varied and may include:

  • Policy making
  • Creative scheduling
  • Budgeting
  • Managing, hiring, and training new nursing staff members

These hospital administrative positions often require a more advanced degree—with specialized class experience in business, organizational behavior, and leadership.

For those looking for a more administrative position—while still wanting to focus on patient care—case management provides a viable option. Case managers work to identify client needs, and then evaluate current treatments and resources to see what changes should be made to meet those needs. This can include serving as a patient advocate when coordinating with doctors, caregivers, and insurance providers. A Case Management Administrator Certification (CMAC) is available for those looking to continue to advance in the field of case management.

Pay it Forward: Education

Those who are tired of the fast-paced physical and emotional strain of bedside nursing may find teaching to be a desirable option that allows them to continue working in a people- and service-oriented position. In addition, there are a variety of venues available in the education field—from lecturing and professorship, to elementary, secondary, and clinical education. Those teachers who serve as clinical instructors also have the opportunity to keep their nursing skills up-to-date by continuing to get regular hands-on experience in the field.

Many nursing programs now offer online classes for their students, opening the door for virtual teaching jobs. Healthcare, anatomy, and nursing courses are available online through specialized teaching portals, and for the teachers, these virtual classes offer more scheduling freedom and the ability to work from home. And, what’s more, education is not the only nursing field where technology is booming.

The IT Factor: Nursing Opportunities in IT

As technology continues to develop and grow in the nursing industry, RNs with IT experience are becoming an increasingly sought-after commodity. Because of their familiarity with procedures, hospital systems, medical conditions, medications, and treatment programs, nurses offer valuable insight when it comes to working with and innovating technology for the medical field.

IT opportunities include:

  • Nursing informatics—a field of nursing that combines high-tech information systems with clinical consulting to better facilitate patient care
  • Medical imaging and record software
  • System training
  • Coding and billing

Depending on the position and the company, some employers may prefer that the candidate have previous IT experience in addition to his or her nursing credentials. However, for those analytical and technologically-minded RNs, nursing IT can be a great and flexible fit.

RN: Registered or Research Nurse?

Nurse researchers design and implement scientific studies geared toward improving health, healthcare services, and patient outcomes. And demand is growing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in research nursing have a projected 19% growth rate in the next 10 years. Many universities and teaching hospitals currently have laboratory research positions available, and more research opportunities are becoming available through government agencies and non-profit institutions.

Being a researcher requires extensive education. In addition to having a PhD, nurse researchers must have good writing skills for grant proposals and publications. They also need to possess an ability to work well with other disciplines of research to collaborate on projects.

No matter what the individual preferences and skill sets are, an RN has many options when it comes to finding the perfect career fit. While some may still prefer hands-on patient care, knowing that there are options that combine a nurse’s broad expertise with his or her unique strengths can help create a personalized, meaningful career choice for each and every nurse.

View the previous post on alternative careers for nursing here.

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