Career options available for those in the nursing field have never been better. In this four-part series, we examine opportunities for nurses who are looking for careers outside that of the traditional hospital bedside nurse.
In part 3 of this series, we focus on forensics, pharmaceutical sales, insurance consulting, and medical blogging.
The Forensics Frontier
The birth of American criminal investigation hits such as CSI, NCIS, and Law and Order brought about an increased interest in the formerly overlooked field of forensics. Forensic nursing can be a viable option when it comes to getting away from the long shifts and rigorous demands of bedside nursing.
Those who pursue forensic nursing can expect to work in an interdisciplinary environment—collaborating with medical officials, police, and lawyers—to turn medical knowledge into clues for justice. Common duties include:
- Injury assessment in relation to criminal behavior
- Treating victims after traumatic emotional and physical injuries
- Verifying cause of death, and witnessing in criminal cases
And while some forensic nurses can work in a hospital, many more choose to work as independent consultants—opening the door for a schedule and workload tailored to the needs, goals, and interests of the individual nurse.
Breaking into the field of forensic nursing requires additional education beyond the basic RN degree. Practical training, licensing, and additional education offer job-specific instruction otherwise absent in general nursing programs, and graduate Masters and PhD work teach the additional legal knowledge necessary to successfully work with the sensitive cases found in forensics.
Still, the time and effort can be worth it. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, forensics nursing is expected to see 26% growth within the next decade—17% more growth than projected for other areas of nursing.
Capitalizing on Credibility: The Perks of Pharmaceutical Sales
According to Frank Heasley—CEO of Medzilla (an Internet recruiting and staffing site for healthcare professionals)—of the 24,000 nurses who come looking to change careers each month, a quarter go into health and pharmaceutical sales. Not only does sales offer a starting income of $60,000-80,000 a year, bonuses, commissions, and a “set-your-own” schedule, but also many nurses find that they have a leg up when it comes to building credibility with those they do business with.
Nurses who transition to other fields carry with them a plethora of people skills, such as knowing how to connect with individuals and putting them at ease during stressful situations. Being able to build good one-on-one relationships with the medical professionals they service in the sale of pharmaceutical drugs, hospital equipment, and other healthcare products set them up for a successful sales career.
Independence through Insurance Consulting
Insurance and benefit fund companies are also actively seeking registered nurses to hire. Medical knowledge and expertise about healthcare systems make RNs a valuable asset in many aspects of the insurance business.
Those who have a strong sense of business and good people skills can do well as an insurance underwriter. Using their ability to think analytically, most do well at examining potential client risks and investigating health and injury claims on existing policies. This can also include the more administrative duties of contract and policy reviewing. And while these consultants can be given a physical office space, the nature of the work allows ample opportunities for telecommuting for those looking to work from home.
Other positions available in the insurance industry include disability management, group sales, and medical policy preapproval. Those who work as approval nurses also have the opportunity to set their own exam schedules—traveling from home to home to give basic physicals and test potential insurance customers for eligibility.
The Blogger: Careers in Medical Blogging
Pharmaceutical and healthcare companies are now looking to blogs to educate and promote products, policies, and current events to both patients and professionals. As such, opportunities for technical writers, content editors, and freelance contributors are opening up for those who excel in writing, editing and branding.
While it will take time and discipline to build up a blogging career, the flexibility of schedule, ability to work from home, and opportunity to turn knowledge into content to be shared with others can be rewarding and worth the effort.
View the previous post on alternative careers in nursing here.