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8 unconventional nursing jobs and workplaces

Smiling female nurse esthetician with a patient

At a glance

  • Nursing is rewarding but can be stressful. Unconventional nursing careers may offer a pathway to a less stressful experience.
  • Some unconventional nursing jobs include forensic, on-set and yacht nurses.
  • Explore advanced online nursing degree programs at University of Phoenix.

8 nontraditional nursing pathways

Nursing is very rewarding and meaningful, but healthcare careers can also be stressful, inflexible or feel overly stagnant. So, how do you answer the calling of nursing while also gratifying your desire for less stress, more adventure or new opportunities? The answer may just be one of several unconventional nursing careers perched on the precipice of the future of nursing. Here are eight unique nursing jobs you can pursue as a registered nurse!

1. Travel nurse

Hospitals across the U.S. have been experiencing staffing shortages, which has led to a job boost for travel nurses. If you’re adventurous and enjoy exploring new places, travel nursing could be a compelling unconventional nursing specialty.

  • Job description: Travel nurses work short-term contracts at hospitals throughout the country. The contract lengths vary but, on average, run about 13 weeks.
  • Education requirements: It’s relatively common to see job opportunities for nurses who have an associate degree in nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), a registered nurse (RN) license or an advanced practitioner degree. Every hospital is different, which means every position is different. Some require a year or two of nursing experience.

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What is a travel nurse? What they do and how to get started

2. Legal nurse consultant

Working as a legal nurse consultant may be a good fit for those who want to work outside of patient care. This unique nursing job doesn’t require interaction with patients.

  • Job description: Legal nurse consultants help lawyers with their cases by analyzing medical records, explaining up-to-date medical research and carrying out related tasks.
  • Education requirements: Becoming a legal nurse consultant often requires extensive experience as a registered nurse in a specific specialty, possibly a special certification, and close knowledge of insurance companies. Your job prospects may be enhanced by becoming a Legal Nurse Consultant Certified (LNCC®).

3. Forensic nurse

Have you ever wondered how a medical provider could become an expert witness? Welcome to the world of forensic nursing. Forensic nurses are crucial in both the healthcare and criminal justice systems.

  • Job description: Forensic nurses work with victims of violent crimes, serve as consultants and provide expert witness testimony. You can often specialize in specific areas such as sexual assault, child abuse or elder neglect.
  • Education requirements: Earning your nursing license and completing a bachelor’s degree program in nursing will lay a strong foundation for a career as a forensic nurse. However, you will need years of experience in a specific specialty and possibly a specific certification in the specialty.

4. Nurse esthetician

A nurse esthetician uses noninvasive treatments to provide skin care treatments.

  • Job description: Nurse estheticians work in medical spas to provide advanced skin care procedures and cosmetic treatments such as Botox® injections. 
  • Education requirements: A nurse esthetician needs a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree with a licensed practical nurse (LPN) credential. Specialized training in noninvasive aesthetic procedures is imperative. However, many also become certified by the National Coalition of Estheticians Associations (NCEA)

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How to become a registered nurse

5. Nurse auditor

Nurse auditors are hired to manage medical records and audits of hospitals and healthcare systems.

  • Job description: Nurse auditors review a healthcare facility’s budget for unnecessary expenses, accurate patient billing and correctly processed insurance claims.
  • Education requirements: Nurse auditors must hold an RN license, and a degree in nursing may be required for some roles. Individuals may explore certification options as well through organizations like the American Academy of Professional Coders.

6. On-set nurse

An on-set nurse offers medical care to casts and crews on a television or movie set.

  • Job description: On-set nurses treat actors or crew members who become ill or injured during filming or who have chronic conditions that require medical care. Sometimes on-set nurses give feedback on medical scenes so they are more realistic.
  • Education requirements: Becoming a registered nurse requires an associate degree or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and the appropriate licensing for your state. Years of experience in a specialty along with a required special certification might be needed as well.

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7. Camp nurse

The unconventional job of a camp nurse can be especially appealing to fans of the outdoors.

  • Job description: Camp nurses are responsible for the healthcare of people representing a range of ages and needs, and they must be ready to address a variety of illnesses, injuries and conditions.
  • Education requirements: An RN license along with an associate degree in nursing or a BSN the minimum requirements to start a camp nurse career. A certification from the Alliance for Camp Health and experience working with camp populations could also improve your job prospects.

8. Yacht nurse

Cruising the open seas is a great way to see the world. It can also be a way to earn an income if you are a yacht nurse. In one of the more unusual nursing jobs, these healthcare professionals provide medical care for both the passengers and the crew.

  • Job description: Yacht nurses are expected to provide on-demand medical care. In their off hours, nurses choosing this career might help the crew in other ways, such as a steward or deckhand.
  • Education requirements: To become a registered nurse, you need a bachelor’s degree in nursing or an associate degree in nursing, and you must be licensed by your state. Experience is also needed in triage and treatment of medical emergencies.

Whether you’re looking to start a career in nursing or you’re already a nurse and need a change of scenery, the unusual jobs highlighted in this article may help you find your passion in the healthcare field.

Earn a degree in nursing at University of Phoenix

If you’re eager to grow your knowledge and skill set within the nursing field, University of Phoenix offers several degrees to consider, depending on your current occupational status. Here are just a few:

Learn more about nursing degrees through University of Phoenix. 

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