While a nursing degree opens the door to a traditional nursing career, nurses can do far more than walk the wards. In fact, with further education or specialized training, you could move into whole new roles you didn’t even know existed. Here are six alternative healthcare careers you never thought about. We’ll also discuss the training, certifications or experience necessary to move into these alternative careers that nurses could pursue.
Medical and Health Services Management
If you earn a master’s of nursing and MBA, you can move into management at any healthcare facility. Note that you can complete MBA MSN dual degree programs online, an invaluable option when you’re trying to continue working while attending school. A dual degree like this is often necessary to become the Director of Nursing.
A number of accredited institutions allow you to get your MSN MBA from the comfort of your home, and teach you what you need to know to become a healthcare administrator or healthcare executive. You could then work in nursing homes, doctor’s offices, medical insurance companies, healthcare systems and doctor’s offices as an administrator at any level. You could work to improve their productivity, profitability or quality of care. You may ensure that they’re fully compliant with various regulations and laws they’re bound to obey.
Another great option to consider would be to work in healthcare recruiting. You’ll be able to help healthcare facilities identify and retain nurses and other medical staff. There are programs that allow you to specialize in healthcare administration, human resources development, general management, leadership and organizational consulting.
A related job title is the nurse administrator. A nurse administrator may work as a case manager in home nursing services or assisted living facilities. They may also work in Human Resources, recruiting and hiring nurses.
A clinical manager is given authority by physicians to manage the day to day treatments that have been authorized for patients. They may deliver medications, track medical instruments or ensure a physical therapy and pain management regimen is adhered to. They may also oversee all of the personnel in a medical office aside from the physicians. Clinical managers may work in doctor’s offices, hospitals or healthcare systems.
Another position that is related to clinical manager is administrative service manager. In this role, you’re coordinating and planning the support services for patients. This might include physical therapy and home health aide visits for someone who is discharged from the hospital. Or you will coordinate the delivery of public health services. For example, this could include the delivery of medical supplies to a community after a disaster or the rolling out of vaccines in an area with an outbreak.
A bachelor’s degree in nursing is a minimum for this job, so you should consider a master’s degree if you want to be the preferred candidate for the role.
Many people still can’t make the distinction between a registered nurse and a nurse practitioner, but they both differ significantly in terms of responsibilities and autonomy. A nurse practitioner is a nurse with an advanced degree, but with almost as much authority as a doctor. They can also handle the vast majority of cases that a physician can. Nurse practitioners are in demand by an aging and growing population, partly because of the slow and constrained pipeline for creating new medical doctors.
Nurse practitioners routinely earn more than a hundred thousand dollars a year, and they can often do so with only a master’s degree. Many nurse practitioners work in a complementary role with physicians, but a few are general primary care professionals, often serving in areas where there is a shortage of medical services. A few nurse practitioners earn MBAs so that they’re better able to handle the administrative side of the business.
If you are looking for a job outside of the ER, or just want a change of pace, then you should definitely consider becoming a nurse educator. However, note that you will need to earn a master’s degree to become one. This is typically a master’s degree in nursing. Some hold an MBA in addition to an MSN or in place of one. As a nurse educator, you may be asked to provide continuing education for nurses and caregivers for instance. Or they may teach the next generation of nurses. Others may evaluate nurses and caregivers and fill in gaps in their knowledge.
A Legal Nurse Consultant
A legal nurse consultant sits at the intersection of law and medicine. This job typically requires a bachelor’s degree in nursing plus an understanding of the laws they’re working under. They may provide an expert medical opinion to law offices handling personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. They may create timelines and summaries of medical records for insurance companies and law firms working with clients. For example, they can tell insurers and legal professionals whether a condition was pre-existing or due to the person’s injuries.
Quality Improvement Administrator
Healthcare facilities are supposed to deliver the right care on time and in as efficient a manner as possible. However, mistakes happen. These can be costly, life-threatening or both. This is why healthcare facilities and networks have a quality management system, or QMS. A quality improvement administrator may administer the mandatory reporting systems regarding medical mistakes. They may provide training and coaching on new processes to improve quality of care. Or they may provide input on new processes, procedures and techniques so that patient care is faster, cheaper, safer and more effective.
A related role is the risk management administrator. These professionals focus on risk reduction; they may work within quality improvement programs or they may work in clinical documentation. Their job is to identify potential risks, try to identify likely root causes, and mitigate or eliminate them. These issues may be legal or regulatory. Both roles require a least a bachelor’s degree in nursing, while a master’s degree in nursing and/or MBA makes you the ideal candidate.
All these positions have something different to offer, and are perfect whether you want to be close to the action or do some administrative work. Explore the options at your disposal, and consider furthering your education if you’re interested in switching paths.
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