Careers for Nurses Outside of the Hospital
In the past, the vast majority of employment opportunities for nursing professionals have generally been found in hospitals. However, health care reform in the U.S. and the resulting shift toward primary and preventive care, among other factors, have opened a number of new options to nurses who are looking for a less traditional workplace.
If you are a nursing professional looking for a career outside of a hospital, consider one of these opportunities where you can put your skills to good use helping patients in a different setting.
Nurse health coach
As a nurse, your day to day routine likely already involves encouraging patients to take care of their health. However, that focus is intensified when you become a nurse health coach. These nursing professionals encourage and instruct patients in making healthy lifestyle changes, particularly with people who have chronic diseases such as diabetes.
Nurse health coaches generally work with a legal firm or other corporation, but can also be self-employed. And a benefit to this career choice is that there is no additional credentialing currently required to work as a nurse health coach, so you likely are already qualified for a position.
Ambulatory care nurse
Ambulatory care – sometimes referred to as outpatient care – is on the rise in the U.S., particularly as a result of health care reform’s focus on preventive and primary care. This rise is giving nursing professionals increased opportunities to work outside hospitals in a variety of settings. In fact, American Nursing Today reported that many schools of nurses are already altering their curriculum to shift the focus to ambulatory and primary care, as opposed to the hospital.
Examples of ambulatory care settings include clinics, physician offices, surgical centers, outpatient hospital departments, educational institutions, managed care organizations and patient homes.
Legal nurse consultant
If you are interested in law, but have a passion for patient care, a career as a legal nurse consultant may be right for you. According to the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants, professionals in this field apply their workplace knowledge and expertise to the evaluation of court cases and claims. However, nurse consultants can also work in fields other than law, such as in management or community issues.
As an extra incentive, nurse consultants are among the highest paid nursing professionals. Nurse Journal reported that the average annual salary for those working in these roles is $125,000.
Community health nurses
As health care as a whole makes a shift toward preventive care, the role of community and population health professionals is becoming increasingly important in the public health space. In this specialized field, nursing professionals work in schools, government-sponsored clinics or other community organizations to focus on the health of the population at large, as opposed to focusing on individual patients.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, positions for community health workers and health educators are expected to increase by 13 percent – a faster than average rate – between 2014 and 2024.
If you are in the practice of delivering babies and caring for new mothers, there are plenty of opportunities to work in the hospital setting. However, when you start a career as a certified nurse midwife (CNM) you also have the option to work in birth centers. To become a CNM, you will need to complete a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and pass your state’s certification.
In addition to helping families to experience what some see as a more natural form of child birth, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nurse midwifes – along with other advanced practice nurses such as nurse anesthetists and nurse practitioners – earn a median annual salary of $104,740.