If you’re about to complete your nursing studies, you’re looking for your first role, or you’re considering the next step in your healthcare career, you may have spent some time thinking about what you can do with your valuable nursing certifications. This is a great profession to get into because, not only is it always in demand, but you also get to give something back to your community by caring for patients.
Being a nurse doesn’t mean that you have to work in a hospital tending to people on the wards, there are many more places where your skills can be used. Think about when you’ve been cared for by a nurse during your life, and you’ll be surprised – maybe it’s been at school, at work, or even at a holiday resort. If you like the idea of being a nurse in a hospital, though, there are many different areas you could specialize in as well. The possibilities are just endless!
So, with your nursing certifications, you have a great variety of career paths from which to choose when considering what your next steps will be. Here is just a small selection of different nursing roles that you could think about pursuing:
A nurse can work in a variety of healthcare clinics. This will give you the chance to have a positive effect on the patients that you care for within these clinics, as well as let you connect with them in any number of ways. You could also work more traditional working hours, plus have holidays off.
As a clinic nurse, your main responsibilities may include assessing patients as well as educating them about health-related subjects so they can lead a healthier life. You may also need to speak to patients on the phone, so you can advise them on whether they can come to your clinic for treatment or whether they should go to a hospital for care.
This is a good option if you’re looking to work with children – plus you get all the benefits for working in an education setting. You’ll be ensuring that students will be healthy and safe when at the site, and provide basic care to them. This could include, for example, administering daily medication or providing first aid to those who have picked up any minor injuries.
Summer camp nurse
With your nursing certifications, this could be another great opportunity for you if you want to work with children. You will need to take care of any minor injuries or illnesses when working at a summer camp. So if you’ve recently retired and you still want to make a positive impact on your community during these months, for instance, then this could be a fantastic option to look into.
Nurses in this role can be a beneficial contribution to a healthcare team within the hospital, or perform their duties in the family home and offer the opportunity to help mothers to follow their own birthing plans. Nurse midwives allow registered nurses to be a part of the birthing process and help the family and the new baby. There are also options where the focus is on newborn care, such as providing overnight care for babies so their parents can rest.
If you decide to work in informatics after gaining your nursing certifications, then you’ll be looking at the technological part of the nursing profession. Nurses in this role – rather than have bedside duties – will help in web education, check telemonitoring is running as it should, work with health-related software, plus teach nursing colleagues how to correctly use medical technology. You will also have to troubleshoot any issues that may occur with any documentation software or medical technology.
Public health nurse
Nurses in these roles will usually be employed by governments at state, county or local levels. You will take a focus on improving the health of particular communities, working to prevent diseases and disability and promoting health schemes. You may also have the chance to have an influence on health-related policies, all while being able to work with individuals in a community.
Working with certain communities
As well as caring for students at schools, for instance, you could work as a refugee nurse. Here, you could work anywhere in the world with organizations such as Doctors Without Borders or the United Nations. You will be there to offer both psychological and medical treatment for immigrant groups plus refugee families.
A military nurse will also work at different places around the globe, supporting current and former service members at military clinics. Those commissioned military nurses may also treat active service members within war zones.
If you decide to become a prison nurse, then you’ll be giving medical care to inmates. This can range from managing chronic illness to tending injuries or offering prenatal care.
If you’re not sure that a difficult and hectic work schedule will be for you, but you still want to help people, then you may want to consider getting a role within a research field. Being a clinical analyst means that you can gather information, look at data and research technology so you can enhance healthcare in a range of sectors.
The title may make you think that you’ll be in an office job where you’ll be bored, but you won’t be. Instead, you’ll be there to improve patient care by supporting corporations so they can put in place new strategies and changes for health. Such a position means that you’ll be doing a lot of broad work with your nursing certifications.
You may want to consider a role in healthcare education if you’re looking for some variation in your nursing career. You can still practice and teach other healthcare professionals at night, for instance. Your nursing skills will remain up to date too because you will need to be aware of the latest research, technology and trends.
You will need to have certain nursing certifications to do this, and your specialized knowledge will affect the future of healthcare. You can choose an educational path – or a clinical one – with further education, meaning that you can expand your career as well as meeting the growing need for highly-skilled leaders in nursing.
Medical or pharmaceutical sales
Although having a career in sales may not be at the forefront of your mind during your nursing studies, it might be worth considering. Being a representative in medical and pharmaceutical sales means you’ll be promoting products (which will be used by medical professionals or prescribed to their patients) and answering questions. Your clinical and medical knowledge will be a huge selling point, while relationships and sales will also be a main focus.
This could be a great option for you after nursing if you’re interested in food. As a nutritionist, you will be using food as an instrument to boost the health of your clients – which will include the correct amounts and types, and will be based on their physical condition and activity levels. You can carry out your role in a number of settings, including clinics, schools and nursing homes.
You will act as a liaison between a patient and the healthcare system when you become a patient coordinator. You will make sure that patients will get the proper care they need, plus ensure they understand what conditions they have and their prescribed medications. You might also help patients to appreciate their treatment plans and make decisions about them, or help them to prepare for treatment.
Here, you’ll be working with other infection professionals (such as biologists and epidemiologists, for example) to help control the spread of infectious diseases. You’ll do this by looking at separate cases, as well as outbreaks. You will also be part of the training required by staff, and will develop and apply infection control policies. You will also track any outbreak sources and arrange reports to reduce any effects on communities.
Clinical research associate
Your role will include writing procedures for drug trials, as well as finding appropriate clinicians for carrying out such studies. You will be giving these clinicians the instructions they need for conducting trials, as well as designing trial materials. On top of that, you’ll be authenticating and getting data for reporting plus monitoring progress. Some employers may expect you to have additional experience or education in life sciences (for example, biochemistry or toxicology), or medical sciences (for example, immunology or pharmacy) – so you may need further nursing certifications to get into such a position.
You will need to identify talented professionals and guide hiring managers, carry out tasks to find high-profile employees, plus attend hiring events. Healthcare recruiters include people from a nursing background, as well as others. You will usually be a full-time employee yet, since this is a role that involves a lot of computer and phone use, this can be done remotely – although you may need to travel for events, for example.
Medical call center agent
Those nurses who become medical call center agents will need to give medical advice, check up on a patient’s health routine and well-being, or carry out telephone triage. Nurses in these positions can be hired either as independent contractors or employees, working with medical business outsourcers or insurance companies. The role of medical call center agent is available to those who want to consider at-home working.
Legal nurse consultant
You will work with paralegals, lawyers and others in the legal profession and offer expertise in medical issues, such as malpractice and personal injury, for example. This type of knowledge will be used in-house, rather than having to testify as a medical expert. Your responsibilities can vary as a legal nurse consultant, and can range from scheduling client medical examinations to interpreting medical records. You may be employed by an insurance company or law firm, or work as an independent contractor. You will need to have certain levels of nursing certifications for these types of roles, as well as having legal experience or completing legal coursework.
You can make a difference in the work environment and the quality of care that’s provided if you go into nurse leadership. This will be great for someone who wants to motivate colleagues and who aspires to lead, although it will mean that you will have to get management education or supervisor training while you’re working. Leadership roles you could consider include nurse management or nurse administrator.
These are only a small selection of the great variety of roles available to you as a nurse – whether you’re about to start out, are looking for a change in your career, or even if you’re looking to retire but still want to give something back to your community. You may not need many years of experience to carry out some of these positions, while others will mean that you need to acquire certain nursing certifications to qualify.
There are many roles you can carry out in medical settings, and you can decide to specialize in particular areas. You can also work with certain groups, such as children, from birth and in schools, or with those who are refugees, are in the services, or in the prison system.
You can still use your nursing skills and knowledge away from bedside care. It may be that you help implement employee health initiatives at companies, look at the technological side of nursing, or be a part of research studies and medical trials. You could even forge a career in sales for the medical and pharmaceutical fields, go into the legal profession as a consultant, or help to hire the next generation of healthcare workers.
Therefore, consider what areas are the most interesting to you, and complement what you have already learned and experienced as a nurse. There are plenty of possibilities for you to explore – so see what your nursing certifications and experience can offer you as you look to those next steps in your exciting and fulfilling healthcare career.