Are you looking for a career out of bedside nursing, but still wanted to use your expertise in patient care? There are plenty of job options for nurses who want to stir away from the traditional path of clinical medicine. The problem is where can you find a job that pays as well as what you are making now?
Things to consider before you look for new opportunities
To get started on a new path to non-clinical nursing, try to answer these three tough questions:
1. What is most important to you?
When looking for a job, you need to decide which is the most important for you to pursue – Is it income, job satisfaction, or flexibility? If you want flexibility and remote work, you might have to sacrifice a higher income. If you want job satisfaction, it might come at the cost of flexibility. It’s necessary to dig into what is driving you forward and then rate the elements that are essential to you in order of importance.
2. How much income are you aiming for?
There tends to be a cap on certain nursing income levels, so this is a great question to start with as you look for non-clinical jobs. Nursing corporate jobs such as study nurses, nurse reviewers, educators, and school nurses pay under $100k. Other jobs pay up to $150k and have great bonuses so you may also want to consider that.
If you want to earn more than that then you have to give up some flexibility because the competition for nonclinical jobs becomes increasingly difficult and you need to be more strategic.
For example, an executive position like Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) or Chief Nursing Executive (CNE) should expect to earn $175k or more. But most nurse executives work on much longer days and are responsible for the continued function of their service line.
Another way for nurses to earn extra money is to start a business. Evaluate yourself. What other things are you good at, and then start listing down ideas from that. A business means investing your money in yourself. However, starting a business is not easy, fast or for everyone. You’ll want to investigate if this is the path you want to go before leaping into that.
Although the money didn’t come in for me initially, the job satisfaction of owning my own business, coaching fellow nurses, and learning as much as I do really make me happy. A few months shortly, the money started to follow.
3. What do you want for yourself?
This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer and many people never bother to address it. To address this, you have to identify your focus. Learn how to package yourself up, and make it a point to stand for something meaningful, impactful, or lasting.
By choosing a career path, you are making that announcement to yourself and the world. This is what I want to be known for. And when you strive for your goal, it will happen.
Now, what are the non-clinical job options you can venture to?
Administrative Nursing Jobs
If you obsess about organizing, solving problems, or leading teams, then you are meant for these jobs. The salary for administrative roles spans from $60 to near $150k depending on a multitude of variables. You may need to start at a lower pay than you want to get the skill sets you need for the job you really want.
Jobs like nurse managers, directors, and nurse executives pay well, but no time of the day or night is off-limits. If you want to pursue an administrative career, consider the lifestyle you want so you won’t find it hard to maintain a work-life balance.
- Nurse Executives
- Program Nurses
- Nursing Outreach and Education
- Staff Development
Corporate Nursing Jobs
Working in the corporate world has its advantages and disadvantages. There is no end to the role nurses can play in corporate, whether it’s retail clinics, insurance companies, sales companies, the publishing companies. They often pay very well and give bonuses, but you also have to make ends meet.
Finding a corporation whose values coincide with yours is important as well. To find corporate jobs, go onto the mega job search engines and type in corporate nurse or any of the titles you see below.
- Management for any healthcare-related programs in corporate such as retail clinics, immunizations programs, non-profit organizations.
- Pharmaceuticals and related sales industry
- Forensic Nurse
- Insurance company supervisor, case managers, nurse navigators, wellness coordinators, etc.
Academic and Government Nursing Jobs
If flexibility is high on your priorities, then the academic and government career path is for you. This is not the best option for high income but there are tons of opportunities when it comes to job satisfaction.
You can work as an instructor, you can run the simulation lab, or direct research or projects. You can become an academic advisor or program director. You can focus on writing projects or even get involved in your university boards, politics, and committees.
When you get into government work, you can work at the Department of Health. You can develop relationships with key government officials, branch out into health policy, and work for national and international organizations. There are tons of opportunities to network and meet people across the various colleges and government offices.
- Nursing Faculty
- Medical/Academic Coaching
- Public Health Nursing
- Federal Government / Medicare Nurse
- National Institute of Health, World Health Organization, and other national organizations
Entrepreneurial Nursing Jobs
If you have products or services you want to market, then you may opt to start a business. You may start by taking side jobs to enhance your skills or enroll in available online courses or free webinars to gain more knowledge on the business idea you have in mind.
There is no way to list all the entrepreneurial ideas out there, so I picked out five types of businesses that I helped nurses to start.
- Coaching and Consulting
- Online Discussions (healthy lifestyle, weight loss, diabetes management)
- Specialty Nurse Services (legal, concierge, assessments)
- Public Speaking
There are always opportunities to learn, grow, and connect as a nurse, whether you are at the bedside, in management, or in your own company. The journey is about finding the right mix of flexibility, income, and job satisfaction.
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