The Alternative Career Paths You Can Take as a Nurse

There are three million licensed and practicing nurses in the United States as of 2018, and the numbers will continue to increase in the coming years.  By 2030, America will need 3.8 million nurses, with California topping the states with the biggest nursing shortage.

America’s rapidly aging population, coupled with the onset of lifestyle diseases like heart problems and type 2 diabetes, is raising the demand for nurses. In 2018, the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) was approved and adopted by 29 states. The new licensure model allows nurses to migrate to locations where they are needed. It allows nurses to move from state to state without securing a license to practice in each one.

Besides hospital work, nurses are also sought after in various health-related occupations. These jobs do require hands-on nursing experience, so hospital practice is still necessary. Other higher positions require completing graduating school or additional coursework. Here are a few suggestions.

Clinical Instructor

Registered nurses (RNs) have advanced degrees in nursing, so they can teach at colleges and universities. They are also part of teaching hospitals, which means they can offer both theoretical and practical experience to their students. They can give valuable insights on best practices, tips, and tricks, as well as how to exhibit grace under pressure.

Home Health Nurse

Home health nursing practice is open to licensed vocational nurses, assistants, and RNs. These are caregivers who give nursing care in people’s homes if they are unable to travel to a hospital. They are also retained for their services when family members are unable to take care of their sick or elderly loved ones.

This could be a long-term or temporary arrangement depending on the patient’s health condition. For example, a mother has just given birth via C-section and will need post-natal care. Or, a member of the family may have had delicate surgery and needs expert care until full recovery. A home health nurse can be hired for this purpose.

Legal Consultant

nurse legal consultant works closely with lawyers and offers expertise and clinical knowledge in relation to malpractice suits, insurance fraud, personal injury, and worker’s compensation lawsuits.  They help attorneys have a firm understanding of the medical aspects of the case. They also help validate pieces of evidence and help build stronger and airtight cases.

Legal consultants may be asked to compare, analyze, and interpret medical records, findings, or explain other hospital-related documents. They may also be asked to interview witnesses regarding clinical-related matters.

Travel Nurse

Geratric nurse monitoring blood sugar of senior woman with diabetes

Travel nurses are the RNs who travel to different locations or hospitals to fill in staffing emergencies. They can work anywhere in and outside of the U.S. at much higher rates than their hospital-based counterparts.

Due to their skills and expertise, these seasoned nurses are also requested for special cases or high-profile clients. They can work for a week or a year at a hospital or clinic depending on the work arrangement. They are usually offered a generous relocation package, which includes an apartment or house, transportation, and generous bonuses.

Nursing requires dedication, skill, and a heart that goes out to every patient you meet. While it is a service-oriented job, there are opportunities to make a decent living and still be fulfilled at the same time.

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