Becoming a registered nurse opens up many career possibilities. While some nurses choose to work in a hospital, they also can pursue non-hospital nursing jobs such as nurse health coach, legal nurse consultant, corrections nurse, home health nurse, aesthetic nurse and others. While these career paths are open for RNs with either an associate or a bachelor’s degree, other non-hospital RN jobs, such as public health nurse or school nurse, require at least a bachelor’s degree.
The first step toward both traditional and non-traditional nursing jobs is to become a registered nurse and pass the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. To qualify for the most nursing career options, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is recommended. Through earning a bachelor’s degree, nurses develop the clinical judgment that makes them qualified for a wider variety of nursing positions, allowing them to pursue a career path that fulfills their ambitions. A BSN degree can be earned through a 4-year BSN program or by completing an RN to BSN degree program.
Why Consider Non-Traditional Nursing Jobs?
Contrary to what dozens of television shows have depicted through the years, not all nurses work in emergency rooms at hospitals. About 61 percent work in hospitals, with the rest working in many non-hospital nursing jobs.
For some nurses, it’s a matter of personal preference. Many feel more comfortable working outside the hospital environment. Others may want to pursue a nursing specialty that requires them to work at medical facilities other than hospitals. Some prefer a more traditional Monday-Friday schedule with no call or weekend shifts.
In some cases, a nurse may live in an area where the job market is flooded with nursing graduates, making it difficult to find a hospital position. In those cases, a nurse may look outside the healthcare industry to find a job they enjoy.
Examples of Non-Hospital Nursing Jobs
The following rank among the most popular job choices for nurses seeking a non-hospital career after earning a BSN.
Nurse Health Coach
Nurse health coaches focus on individual patients, working with them one-on-one to prevent future health conditions by achieving and maintaining wellness goals and healthy lifestyles. That includes developing diet and exercise plans specifically tailored to each person. Nurse health coaches can work as part of a healthcare operation or with insurance companies, social service agencies, and nonprofit organizations.
Legal Nurse Consultant
A legal nurse consultant provides a bridge between the legal and medical professions, helping lawyers who don’t understand medical jargon and doctors who don’t understand legal jargon. They provide an important service by clearing up any misunderstandings that could later cause legal complications. Legal nurse consultants typically work in legal firms or as consultants.
Public Health Nurse
A public health nurse focuses on issues that impact an entire community. They develop preventative health programs for communities and help those with high risk factors connect with the services they need. They often work for government agencies, nonprofits, and schools. Nurses in this specialty require a bachelor’s degree.
School nurses provide healthcare services to student populations at every level of education, from elementary schools to university campuses. They develop programs to teach students about healthy lifestyles and treat injuries and illnesses. Nurses in this specialty require a bachelor’s degree.
A birthing coach provides prenatal and postnatal support and may assist during birth. They help women maintain good health throughout their pregnancy. Support may include teaching childbirth classes, helping new parents navigate through the hospital system, or being present during the birthing process.
Mental Health Nurse
While there are jobs for RNs in hospital behavioral health units, there are also non-hospital opportunities. Mental health nurses may also work in psychiatric care facilities, addiction treatment centers, and other medical clinics helping people with psychiatric conditions. They typically work with psychiatrists and psychologists, assisting in diagnostics, tests, and patient cases. Nurses in this profession often must earn a bachelor’s degree.
Nurse educators teach other nurses and nursing students in a variety of settings. For example, some earn a master’s degree and teach in nursing programs at academic institutions. Others work in training programs, precepting incoming nurses at a medical facility or agency.
Insurance Claims Reviewer
Insurance companies hire nurses to review health insurance claims because of their healthcare expertise. Nurses determine if insurance covers the procedures in question. They may also investigate claims to ensure they are for valid medical expenses.
With the online options available that allow nurses to complete a BSN degree, working nurses now can fit their education around busy professional and personal schedules. With the many job opportunities available for those earning a BSN, including non-hospital nursing jobs, there’s never been a better time for nurses to achieve their academic goals.