If you’re considering a move towards a non-traditional and non-bedside nursing career, then this guide to alternative nursing jobs is for you!
In this article, we discuss everything from why nurses are leaving their bedside careers to where the happiest nurses tend to work.
Best of all, we included a list of the 31 best alternative nursing jobs you may want to consider.
Whether you’re interested in non-clinical or clinical nursing specialities beyond the bedside, we’ve got you covered!
Table of contents
What Are Alternative Nursing Jobs?
Alternative nursing jobs are careers nurses can pursue outside of traditional bedside care. While some nurses are content to stay in those traditional roles, others want to explore different ways to utilize their degree, knowledge, and skills.
Since nurses require specialized education and critical thinking skills, there’s no shortage of other jobs they can look into.
These non-traditional nursing jobs can involve a move away from direct patient care, or they can simply involve a change in work setting. We’ll explore both types of alternative nursing careers later in this article.
Remember, just because these roles are considered “alternative” doesn’t mean they’re any less important. The nurses that occupy the roles we discuss in this post play a critical part in making sure the healthcare system is able to care for all kinds of patients.
Why Consider Alternative Nursing Jobs?
Nurses explore alternative nursing jobs for a multitude of reasons, from personal fulfillment to higher salary potential.
Below, we discuss some of the most common reasons for considering a move away from traditional nursing roles.
1. Personal Fulfillment
One of the best reasons to consider alternative nursing careers is to focus on an area you’re really passionate about.
For example, if you’re passionate about patient advocacy, you might want to look at the role of nurse navigator. Meanwhile, if you’re interested in how technology can improve healthcare systems, you may want to consider becoming a nurse informaticist.
Another great example is those passionate about addressing systemic needs in nursing. If this sounds like you, you may want to look into public policy nursing or becoming a nurse lobbyist.
Additionally, passion isn’t the only thing that can produce personal fulfillment. If you have unique talents that other nurses don’t have, this can be equally fulfilling.
For example, if you’re an amazing writer, then you may feel more fulfilled by becoming a nurse writer or journalist. Meanwhile, if you’re great at explaining how things work, you may find it fulfilling to explore a career as a nurse educator.
2. Professional Growth
Exploring alternative nursing jobs is also a great way to expand your technical and leadership skills.
If you’re looking to advance your career or take on more leadership-oriented goals, it’s a great idea to learn how non-bedside areas of nursing work. This helps you understand the broader picture when you step into high-level roles.
For example, if you want to better understand how patients are charged, you may consider a stint a medical biller and coder. On the other hand, if you want to learn about safety and infection procedures, you may want to pursue the infection control nurse path.
Ultimately, the more experience you can gain in diverse areas of nursing will better prepare you to lead teams in the future.
Additionally, gaining experience in non-traditional nursing roles allows you to develop new connections and grow your network.
For example, if you pursue travel nursing, you could forge new connections at different hospitals across the country. This can open you up to a host of new employment opportunities in multiple locations.
3. Work-Life Balance
It’s no secret that nurses are feeling more burnt out than ever in the last few years. In fact, a recent survey found that 81% of nurses said they felt burnt out at some point in 2022. Worse yet, 81% said their mental health has suffered as a result.
Fortunately, there are alternative nursing jobs offering more predictable schedules, remote work opportunities, and less physically-demanding tasks.
For example, working as a school nurse provides you with a pretty predictable schedule, since you only need to be there during the school day. Additionally, having the summer off is a nice perk.
Meanwhile, there are remote work opportunities for those pursuing careers such as a legal nurse consultant, health coach, and many others.
Finally, there are plenty of less physically-demanding non-traditional nurse jobs, like nurse administrators or nurse researchers.
4. Higher Pay
One more reason to consider alternative nursing jobs is the potential for higher pay. While you can still earn a good salary by climbing your way up the traditional nursing pyramid, focusing on other pathways is also a good option.
Since many alternate career paths for nurses require specialized knowledge and experience, the salary potential can be greater.
For example, with their technology expertise, nurse informaticists can earn well over six figures on average, while the average RN salary typically hovers around $82,000.
Similarly, working your way up to the administrative ladder to a position like Chief Nursing Officer can be super lucrative.
Finally, travel nurses can expect to earn a lot more than their resident RN counterparts.
31 Alternative Nursing Jobs
Whatever your reason for seeking an alternative nursing job, there’s no shortage of both clinical and non-clinical roles beyond traditional bedside care.
Now, there is some gray area between clinical and non-clinical roles. In fact, some positions include a mix of both.
However, in this article, we’ll consider non-clinical positions as those that require no or very little direct care for patients. By “direct care”, we mean medical care. For example, a health coach works directly with clients, but provides no direct medical interventions.
Meanwhile, alternative clinical nursing jobs allow you to provide direct care, albeit in non-traditional healthcare settings.
We’ve broken our list of non-bedside nursing careers into these two categories.
Non-Clinical Alternative Nursing Jobs
As we mentioned above, we’re considering non-clinical nursing jobs as those requiring no or very little direct medical interventions for patients.
However, these nurses still make a huge impact on the lives of patients and the sustainability of any healthcare system.
Read on to discover some best ways to use your nursing degree without needing to provide direct care to patients.
1. Nurse Informaticist
A nurse informaticist operates at the intersection of nursing, technology, and data.
Essentially, they improve patient outcomes by implementing and managing technological systems to store, process, and analyze data. By using various types of data, these nurses help the healthcare system function as efficiently as possible.
As technology and data collection become more ubiquitous in all industries, nursing informatics has never been more important than it is today.
Better yet, many of these nurses can work remotely at least some of the time, making this a great alternative nursing job for those looking for more flexibility.
The average nurse informaticist salary is around $127,051 a year, though some can earn up to $160,263.
2. Nurse Educator
Nurse educators have the incredibly important responsibility of teaching the next generation of nurses. Their duties consist of designing and implementing educational programs, as well as assessing students and providing continuing education opportunities.
While nurse educators often work in colleges and universities, they can also take up positions in teaching hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
Ultimately, those undertaking this non-bedside nursing job ensure that students have the skills and knowledge they need to thrive as a nurse.
On average, nurse educators can expect to make a salary of $82,040 per, with some making upwards of $125,930 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
3. Nurse Writer
A nurse writer combines their nursing experience and knowledge with their writing skills to create various types of content. Examples of this content include:
- Patient education materials
- Medical journal articles
- Policy documents
- Blog posts
- News reports
There are tons of different types of healthcare writing that writers need to produce. While those with writing degrees also take up these positions, having someone with first-hand experience in nursing is invaluable.
Whether working for publishers, healthcare organizations, or even freelancing, nurse writers are able to explain often-complicated medical concepts in a clear and concise way.
Since there are so many different types of nurse journalists and writers, the salary range can vary a lot.
4. Legal Nurse Consultant
A legal nurse consultant has the responsibility of consulting on medical-related legal cases. Essentially, they act as the bridge between the world of healthcare and law.
Their main function is to help attorneys understand the nuances of medical issues, terminology, and patient care standards. Their specific duties often include:
- Reviewing medical records
- Identifying instances when healthcare providers broke from appropriate standards of care
- Providing expert testimony
- Turning complex medical terminology into legal insights for attorneys
Ultimately, legal nurse consultants ensure that medical facts and standards are accurately represented in court cases. It’s a great alternative nursing job for anyone with an interest in law, who can also clearly explain complicated information.
The average salary for an LNC is $118,669 per year, with some making upwards of $182,000 per year.
5. Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
A pharmaceutical sales representative promotes and sells pharmaceutical products to healthcare professionals. Examples of these products include:
- Prescription medications (e.g., antibiotics, antivirals, antipsychotics, etc.)
- Over-the-counter (OTC) medications (e.g., pain relievers, digestive aids, etc.)
- Medical devices
- Nutritional supplements
Essentially, their goal is to educate doctors, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers on the benefits, use cases, and side effects of their company’s pharmaceutical products. Nurses can thrive in these positions since they can leverage their existing medical knowledge.
By building relationships with healthcare providers and organizing product demonstrations, they act as the intermediary between healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies. Of course, they also have to adhere to strict regulatory rules and guidelines.
The salary expectations for this role are quite impressive. In fact, the average salary for a pharmaceutical sales representative is $129,646 per year, with top earners making over $220,000 per year.
6. Nurse Administrator
A nurse administrator is responsible for overseeing the administrative and managerial aspects of nursing departments. Rather than focus on direct bedside care, they focus more on tasks like:
- Shaping department policies
- Managing budgets
- Supervising staff
- Ensuring adherence to regulatory standards
The best nurse administrators typically have a lot of clinical experience, as they understand the needs and challenges their staff face every day. Additionally, they often hold an advanced degree, like a Master’s in Healthcare Administration.
It’s also worth mentioning a similar role to nurse administrator, nurse manager. While the jobs are similar, nurse managers typically oversee a specific department or unit. Meanwhile, nurse administrators usually have a broader, facility-wide focus.
The average annual salary for nurse administrators is $101,340 per year.
7. Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)
The chief nursing officer is one of the highest-ranking nursing positions you can achieve. Typically part of the healthcare facility’s executive team, their responsibilities include:
- Overseeing all nursing operations
- Shaping strategic direction
- Ensuring the best possible patient outcomes
By collaborating with other healthcare executives, they ensure the procedures and guidelines of the nursing department align with the rest of the facilities’ departments. Essentially, CNOs act as the bridge between nursing practice and organizational strategy.
To get to this high-level position, you’ll need an advanced degree. While some only have their MSN, others have a terminal degree, like a DNP.
Additionally, you’ll need lots of leadership experience. In fact, it may make sense to take on a nurse administrator role and work your way up to this alternative nursing job.
As one of the highest-level nursing positions, chief nursing officer is also one of the highest-paying non-clinical nursing jobs. The average annual salary for a CNO is $253,960, with some making well over $300,000!
8. Health Policy Nurse
A health policy nurse has the responsibility of influencing health policy in areas from local communities to nationally. Keep in mind that this is different from another alternative nursing job, public health nurse, which we’ll discuss in our clinical section.
The health policy nurse typically has the following focuses:
- Policy analysis
They collaborate with legislators and policymakers to ensure the perspective of nurses is represented in the public arena. This ensures nurses have some representation when it comes to the development of health-related laws and regulations.
The typical salary for a health policy nurse is between $70,000 and $90,000.
9. Nurse Recruiter
A nurse recruiter is responsible for identifying, recruiting, and placing qualified nursing professionals. Given their experience and knowledge, former bedside nurses can thrive in this alternative nursing job.
This is a great career path if you’re tired of delivering direct care to patients but want to use your interpersonal skills.
As more and more nurses continue to leave the workforce, this role is becoming increasingly important. Attracting top talent can be a challenge, so this role is vital to the success of any healthcare institution.
The average salary for a nurse recruiter is $105,168 per year. However, since recruiters often earn commissions, this can vary quite a lot.
If we break down the number above, we find that only $64,753 of it is base pay. Meanwhile, $40,415 actually comes from additional pay like commissions.
10. Nurse Consultant
A nurse consultant provides healthcare facilities with specialized insights and guidance on topics like best clinical practices and policy guidelines.
Typically, the consultant has extensive nursing experiences and uses that knowledge to advise on:
- Patient care standards
- Operational efficiency
- Regulatory compliance
They can work in a multitude of settings, from hospitals to legal firms to insurance companies. Ultimately, nurse consulting can take a number of different forms depending on the nurse’s expertise.
Consultants tend to be experts in their speciality, allowing them to answer any questions that may arise. This means you’ll likely need a lot of clinical experience, and maybe even an advanced degree, to pursue this alternative nursing job.
The average annual salary for a nurse consultant is $91,542 per year, with some making upwards of $109,000.
11. Medical Biller and Coder
A medical biller and coder is responsible for coding medical procedures and diagnoses into billable items. This ensures that patients or insurance companies pay the healthcare facility the proper amount of money.
Essentially, these billers and coders are the financial backbone of any healthcare institution. Without them, facilities wouldn’t know how much to charge patients and their insurance companies. They also ensure billing errors are kept to a minimum so there are less financial disputes later.
While we’ve put them together in this list of alternative nursing jobs, they are technically two separate jobs.
Coders review medical data and assign the appropriate billing codes to the data. Meanwhile, billers compile those codes and send the bills to patients and insurance companies. For both roles, however, no post-secondary degree is required.
Overall, these are two great non-bedside nursing jobs for new grads. The average annual salary for medical billers and coders is $46,660 per year.
12. Infection Control Nurse
Infection control nurses are responsible for preventing and managing infectious disease outbreaks in healthcare facilities.
They have the important task of developing, implementing, and monitoring infection prevention safeguards. More specifically, they:
- Teach healthcare staff about best practices in preventing infectious disease
- Develop infection prevention policy
- Track and report infection prevention data
Ultimately, these nurses play a huge role in keeping everyone from healthcare professionals to patients safe while inside the facility.
The average annual salary for an infection control nurse is $75,171, with the top earners making about $110,000.
13. Nurse Entrepreneur
A nurse entrepreneur uses their nursing experience and expertise to start a medical-related business. There’s no shortage of different business ideas, including:
- Healthcare products and software
- Consulting services
- Training programs
- Private practices
While no advanced degree is technically required, it may be worth looking into getting a Master’s of Business Administration should you want to pursue this pathway. This can help you gain the business skills you need to be successful.
Additionally, you may want to look into nurse business resources, like Nursepreneurs.
If there’s a gap in the healthcare market or you’ve found an innovative solution to a problem, this could be a good option for you.
Since the amount of money businesses can make can vary a lot, we won’t list an average salary for this alternative nursing career.
14. Nurse Lobbyist
Nurse lobbyists advocate for medical and nursing-related issues by influencing legislation and regulations.
Essentially, their role is to meet with lawmakers, government officials, and other stakeholders to ensure nurses’ perspectives are represented.
Some of their more specific responsibilities include:
- Researching and analyzing proposed legislation and regulations
- Educating lawmakers on the implications of passing or not passing legislation
- Building coalitions of healthcare professionals and patient advocacy groups
- Initiating campaigns to raise awareness or advocate for particular legislation
Extensive clinical experience is typically recommended, and so is an additional degree in a field like public policy or political science.
The average annual salary for lobbyists is $86,273 per year. However, this isn’t specific to nurse lobbyists, so take this number with a grain of salt.
15. Health Coach
A health coach guides their clients in how to achieve their personal health and wellness goals.
Unlike traditional nurses, they don’t provide any medical interventions. Instead, they provide advice and tools for managing health and preventing medical problems.
For example, a health coach may help someone lose weight by developing a personalized diet plan and fitness regimen. For another client, they may aid in stress reduction by providing guidance on mindfulness techniques or sleep hygiene.
Other examples could include:
- Chronic disease management
- Improving physical fitness
- Dietary changes (e.g., client wants to pursue a vegan diet)
- Smoking cessation
This alternative nursing job is a great way to continue working one-on-one with people, but without the additional stresses of traditional nursing.
The average annual salary for a health coach is $69,115 per year, but this can vary a lot depending on your services and client base.
16. Quality Improvement Nurse
Quality improvement nurses are tasked with improving clinical outcomes and standards of care in a healthcare facility.
By collecting and analyzing performance data, they develop plans and policies that:
- Improve patient experiences and outcomes
- Enhance the efficiency of operations
- Adhere to regulatory rules and standards
This role is critical in an ever changing healthcare landscape, where there is always room for improvement.
If you’re a systematic and analytical thinker who’s passionate about improving outcomes for patients, this is a great alternative nursing job to look into.
The average annual salary for a Quality Improvement Nurse is $98,142 per year.
Clinical Alternative Nursing Jobs
Now that we’ve covered some great non-clinical options, let’s take a look at some of the best clinical alternative nursing jobs.
While these careers do involve providing direct medical care to patients, they are all non-hospital nursing jobs in non-traditional, non-bedside settings.
17. Nurse Researcher
Nurse researchers conduct scientific studies related to the field of nursing. Their research typically has at least of one of the three following goals:
- Advancing nursing practice
- Improving patient outcomes
- Developing solutions to common issues in healthcare
They are responsible for designing and implementing studies, analyzing data, and publishing those findings for the good of the medical community.
One example of nurse research might include a study on patient safety. For instance, an investigation into the frequency and causes of medication errors.
Another example might include a study on how nurse-to-patient ratios affect both patient outcomes and employee retention.
The opportunities for research are really limitless, and it’s a great way to make an impact on the field as a whole. However, it’s worth noting that you’ll need to go for an advanced degree, likely a PhD in Nursing, to pursue this alternative nursing job.
The average annual salary for a nurse researcher is $90,771, with top earners making upwards of $109,000.
18. Occupational Health Nurse
Occupational health nurses are responsible for promoting and maintaining the health and well-being of employees in workplace settings.
Their main duties include:
- Preventing work-related injuries and illnesses
- Conducting health assessments
- Treating minor workplace injuries
- Developing health and safety programs
- Identifying potential workplace hazards
- Ensuring adherence to health regulations
Ultimately, occupational health nurses have the important task of creating safer work environments.
The average annual occupational health nurse salary is $94,084 per year, with some making up to $140,000 per year.
19. Forensic Nurse
Forensic nurses focus on providing specialized care to victims of violence, abuse, or trauma. To do so, these nurses:
- Gather medical evidence
- Document injuries
- Provide testimony in court
Essentially, forensic nurses are at the intersection of healthcare and law. They have the difficult, but important, task of aiding legal investigations while providing direct, trauma-informed care.
If you’re passionate about helping trauma victims, you should consider this alternative nursing job.
While they can work in hospitals, you may also find them in coroner’s offices and advocacy centers.
The average annual forensic nurse salary is $73,786 per year, though some can make up to $168,500 per year.
20. Public Health Nurse
Public health nurses focus on improving the health of populations, as opposed to individuals. Unlike public policy nurses, public health nurse jobs are more hands-on and less focused on shaping broader systemic changes.
Their specific duties often include:
- Designing and implementing health education campaigns
- Conducting community health assessments
- Collaborating with local agencies
Typically, they work in settings like schools, community centers, and health departments, addressing immediate health concerns and long-term public strategies.
Public health nurses make an average annual salary of $65,660 per year, with some making up to $75,740 per year.
21. Community Health Nurse
Like public health nurses, a community health nurse focuses on the well-being of populations rather than individuals. However, community health nurses tend to work with specific communities, as opposed to the larger public.
Their duties typically include providing:
- Health education
- Preventative care
- Early intervention services
Since they work with specific communities, they ensure care is accessible for often-marginalized groups of people.
The average annual salary for a community health nurse is $67,244 per year, with top earners making over $85,000 a year.
22. Telehealth Nurse
A telehealth nurse provides care and guidance to patients remotely. They typically make use of technology such as:
- Video calls
- Phone calls
- Text-based chat apps
This allows them to guide patients on self-care, monitor chronic illnesses, or assist in emergency situations until the proper help can arrive.
Ultimately, telehealth allows patients to access care even when in-person care is unavailable, such as when patients live in underserved areas.
The average annual salary for a telehealth RN is $126,110 per year, with some making as much as $186,000 a year.
23. Travel Nurse
Travel nurses work on temporary assignments to fill critical gaps in healthcare facilities away from their primary residence or tax home.
Since these nurses take high-demand positions, they’re typically paid a higher amount than resident nurses. In fact, they often even receive housing stipends and other benefits.
Their assignments usually last from a few weeks to a few months, and there are opportunities for just about every kind of nurse specialty.
To find gigs, they usually collaborate with a travel nursing agency who places them in facilities across the country, from urban to rural areas.
The average annual salary for a travel nurse is $106,030 per year. However, depending on the type and location of assignments, this amount can go as high as $179,500.
Overall, travel nurse positions tend to be the highest-paying BSN jobs.
24. Aesthetic/Cosmetic Nurse
An aesthetic nurse, or cosmetic nurse, provides cosmetic treatments to improve patients’ appearances. These procedures typically include:
- Botox injections
- Dermal fillers
- Laser treatments
This type of nurse usually works in settings like dermatology clinics, cosmetic surgery centers, and med-spas.
The average annual salary for a cosmetic nurse is $85,265 per year, while some make up to $100,000 per year.
If you advance your education and become an aesthetic nurse practitioner, you can make even more. In fact, the average annual salary for an aesthetic NP is $94,372, with some earning over $110,000 per year.
25. Nurse Midwife
A nurse midwife is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) specializing in women’s reproductive health and childbirth. Their duties often include:
- Prenatal care
- Labor and delivery support
- Postpartum care
- Gynecological exams
This alternative nursing job is similar to an OB/GYN, but with a heavier focus on natural childbirth and reproductive care. Oftentimes, they even offer alternative birth settings, like home births and birthing centers.
Finally, this type of nurse goes beyond childbirth care, offering family planning guidance and general women’s health services throughout the lifetime.
The average annual salary for a nurse midwife is $120,880 per year, with the top ten percent of earners making $171,230 per year.
26. Home Health Nurse
Home health nurses provide care within patients’ homes. These patients are often recovering from surgery or illnesses, while others are elderly or chronically-ill patients requiring consistent care.
Their duties typically include:
- Monitoring vital signs
- Administering medication
- Wound care
- Patient education
- Assisting with hygiene
Ultimately, this non-bedside nursing job allows patients to receive medical care in the comfort of their own homes, a huge advantage for those who struggle to travel to traditional healthcare facilities.
For home health LPNs, the average annual salary is $54,183 per year. Meanwhile for home health RNs, the average annual salary is $82,200 per year.
27. Hospice/Palliative Care Nurse
Hospice and palliative care nurses provide care to patients in the final stages of terminal illness or those with debilitating chronic conditions. While hospice care refers to patients with a life expectancy of six months or less, palliative care can be provided at any stage of serious illness.
However, for both alternative nursing jobs, the duties are relatively the same:
- Providing comfort
- Managing pain and symptoms
- Improving quality of life for both patients and their families
Not only do these nurses work closely with healthcare teams to deliver medical care, but they also provide spiritual and emotional support. While some do work in hospitals, others work in settings like hospice centers, nursing homes, patients’ homes, and more.
The average annual salary for a hospice nurse is $80,519 per year. However, some can make as much as $111,000.
28. Flight Nurse
A flight nurse is a type of critical care nurse that provides care to patients during aeromedical evacuations or rescue operations. They treat patients while carrying them via helicopters, propeller aircrafts, or jet aircrafts.
Their specific duties typically include:
- Assessing and stabilizing patients as quickly as possible
- Providing in-flight emergency care
- Ensuring safe transport to healthcare facilities
Given the extreme circumstances of this non-bedside nursing job, like limited space and aircraft noise, flight nurses require specialized training and certification.
The average annual flight nurse salary is $91,910 per year. However, some can make as much as $103,220 or more per year.
29. School Nurse
A school nurse provides care to students in educational settings, like K-12 schools, colleges, or universities. Additionally, they act as an intermediary between students, families, school administrators, and traditional healthcare providers.
Their duties typically include:
- Routine health screenings
- Administering medication
- Providing first aid
- Managing chronic illnesses
- Promoting health education
In addition to the duties above, they also play a role in creating a safe and supportive learning environment. This means that, in addition to physical health, they need to be adept at addressing students’ emotional, mental, and behavioral health.
The average annual salary for a school nurse is $54,767 per year, with the top ten percent making about $82,250 per year.
30. Correctional Facility Nurse
A correctional facility nurse provides care to inside jails, prisons, and juvenile detention centers. They may be tasked with treating all kinds of conditions, from acute injuries to chronic illnesses.
More specifically, their duties often include:
- Conducting health assessments on incoming inmates
- Administering medications
- Providing emergency care
- Communicating with other healthcare facilities when advanced care is required
Because of the unique work setting, this alternative nursing job requires a high degree of autonomy. Additionally, they need to operate under strict security guidelines. However, they do play a key role in ensuring inmates are cared for safely and humanely.
The average annual salary for a correctional facility nurse is $62,489 per year, while the top ten percent of earners make around $79,580 per year.
31. Nurse Navigator
Finally on our list of alternative nursing jobs is nurse navigator. This type of non-bedside nurse acts as the intermediary between patients and the healthcare system. Essentially, they act as patients’ guides, performing a number of key tasks:
- Coordinating care
- Scheduling appointments
- Explaining medical procedures
- Providing emotional support
Given their job title, it’s no surprise that these nurses help patients navigate the healthcare system, making care more accessible and less complex.
The average annual nurse navigator salary is $$96,178 per year, though top earners can make as much as $117,671 per year.
What Career Can You Transition To From Nursing?
If you don’t want to be a nurse anymore and want to transition to a different career, there are plenty of other ways to utilize your degree.
For example, some of the non-clinical positions we discussed in this article require no patient interaction or direct care. You might consider a career as a:
- Health coach
- Pharmaceutical sales representative
- Nurse entrepreneur
While we’ve discussed the most common career changes for nurses above, there are other pathways you can consider. However, they do require a bigger transition away from nursing.
For example, becoming a child care provider is an excellent option. While you don’t technically need a nursing degree for this career, many of the skills are transferable.
Other career options, like a genetic counselor, can also make a great option for former nurses. While this job has its own unique educational and certification requirements, your nursing degree does give you a head start over those starting from zero.
So, while there are many non-nursing jobs you can pursue, some of them may require going back to school.
Where Do The Happiest Nurses Work?
The happiest nursing jobs will depend on your own personal preferences and skillset.
For example, if you don’t like providing direct care to patients, you should probably avoid any of the alternative clinical nursing jobs we listed in this article.
On the other hand, if you enjoy delivering direct care but are tired of traditional bedside nursing jobs, you’d probably be happier looking into alternative nursing jobs like aesthetic nursing or home health nursing.
According to Beckers Hospital Review, some of the happiest nurses work in the following roles:
- Informatics nurse
- Legal nurse consultant
- Nurse writer
- Occupational health nurse
- Research nurse
Is An Alternative Nursing Job Right For You?
Whatever your reason for considering an alternative nursing job, there’s no shortage of options to choose from.
Whether you want to flex your writing skills as a nurse writer, or take a more hands-on approach in a new setting, like home health nursing, you’re bound to find a career you enjoy.
While many of these non-bedside nursing jobs require no additional training, some do. For example, if you’re intrigued by nursing administration or working your way up to chief nursing officer, you may need an MSN.
Some positions, like nurse researcher or nurse educator, may even require a terminal degree, like a DNP or PhD in Nursing.
If you’re considering advancing your education, check out our guides to nursing schools where you can find both local and online degree programs.