In-demand jobs for nurses outside the hospital
Many professionals who earn a nursing degree expect to work in a clinical setting, such as a hospital or doctor’s office. But there are lots of other places where nurses can apply their skills in nontraditional jobs, says Karen Jamison, PhD, an instructor in the nurse practitioner program at the University of Phoenix Main Campus.
Here, Jamison describes six nursing opportunities outside the hospital:
Home health care provider
Clients who need help dressing, bathing and performing other daily tasks often hire home health care nurses.
These professionals primarily care for the elderly, but sometimes clients are young children or incapacitated adults. The rewards of this job, Jamison says, include the opportunity to work with people on a long-term basis, which many nurses enjoy. “There’s also something to be said for helping patients regain their physical independence,” she notes.
Registered home health care nurses can educate patients and assess, evaluate and participate in plans for patients’ care, and typically manage patients’ medication — helping to refill prescriptions and administering pills. They must pass a nursing certification exam to work in a certified health care setting. Requirements can vary, so check the rules in your state if you’re interested in this job.
Nurse practitioner (NP)
These highly skilled, advanced-practice nurses work as clinicians and have expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions, as well as disease prevention and health management. In many states, they don’t have to work under a supervising physician and may prescribe medications.
NPs can work in a variety of places, including clinics and on college campuses. Some also provide care in community and on-site employee health centers and managed care facilities. More job options include working for pharmaceutical companies, researching health care and teaching at the college level.
“It’s [also] an advantageous job for a nurse who’s planning to continue his or her medical schooling,” Jamison points out, noting that NP positions can provide on-the-job learning opportunities that augment ongoing medical studies.
Certified registered nurse anesthetists combine nursing skills with a working knowledge of anesthetics and their administration, and have specialized schooling in anesthesiology, Jamison says.
They can practice in many different health care settings where controlled anesthesia is required, including surgeons’ offices, dental practices and outpatient surgery centers. They also can work in government and public health facilities, and in palliative care facilities providing end-of-life patients with pain medications.
Critical care ambulance teams employ a transport nurse, who provides care such as inserting IV drips, administering oxygen and monitoring a patient’s vital signs during rides to and from medical facilities.
This is a job for those who prefer to work with insurance companies and families of patients rather than directly with patients. “It’s quite different from regular nursing because it’s a management position that expands your knowledge of the day-to-day operations of health care in facilities other than a hospital,” Jamison notes.
Although case managers are found in hospitals, they also work in a variety of public, nonprofit and for-profit jobs, including mental health care facilities, long-term care homes and rehabilitation centers.
Mobile simulation lab worker
A mobile medical simulator is essentially a traveling classroom that exposes nurses and other health care workers to medical scenarios in a controlled environment.
Nurses in this field go to hospitals and rehabilitation facilities where they provide medical staff with specialized training in areas such as CPR or new methods of catheterization, and often use life-size mannequins to demonstrate these skills.