Almost 3 million people now work as nurses. Contrary to the most common image of a nurse, not all of them work in hospitals.

The expansion and specialization of the nursing profession over the years has led to a number of important jobs that do not require working in a hospital.

Some require higher levels of education, such as a nurse practitioner. Other can be taken on by registered nurses who find their calling is outside of the hospital setting.

In either case, these jobs allow those who want to have a nursing career but don’t want to work in a hospital a chance to do so. In many cases, such jobs can offer a lower level of stress. In some cases, they offer better pay. Nurse

For those nurses thinking of working outside of a hospital, here are some careers to consider.

School Nurse

This important job requires dealing with whatever illnesses and conditions students bring to school each day. That’s challenging enough, which is why school nurses are needed in every school. There are jobs available in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and even college campuses. School nurses oversee dispensing medication and also treating minor injuries. Another important aspect of the job is providing information on wellness and healthy living to students.

Nurse Educator

With millions of nurses and new innovations in healthcare happening continuously, the need for someone to educate nurses on an ongoing basis is higher than ever. Nurse educators can work at the university level, teaching in classrooms or overseeing clinical experiences. But they also can work in a number of other settings. These include community clinics, medical instrument and device manufacturers, research facilities and in government agencies.

Mental Health Nurse

Nurses who work in mental health typically practice in private psychiatric clinics or community centers. They focus on providing care for those with diagnosed mental health issues. Some may become psychiatric nurse practitioners, a job that requires earning a master’s degree and specializing in psychiatry. Some states will allow psychiatric nurse practitioners to set up their own office to see patients.

Forensic Nurse

This occupation typically requires years of experience working in a hospital. However, for longer-tenured nurses wanting to make a change, it offers a great opportunity. Forensic nurses work with defense attorneys, prosecuting attorneys and law enforcement agencies to help with criminal and civil cases, particularly those that involve injuries due to abuse or violent behavior. This relatively new career requires certification from the International Association of Forensic Nurses.

Home Health Nurse

Much like a school nurse, a home health nurse works in a very “hands on” job within the nursing profession. Home health nurses provide care for a wide variety of patients. They include those who have had a medical procedure or surgery and have returned home, but still need assistance. It can also include elderly patients, the disabled and the mentally ill. They can work in both short-term and long-term care situations, giving home health nurses a variety of job types to consider.

Nursing Informatics

Those in this emerging field work with securely managing and maintaining patient records, as well as sharing that information with healthcare professionals when needed. It typically requires a four-year nursing degree, clinical experience and knowledge in technology. While a person working in health informatics can work at a hospital, they also work for private clinics, community centers and government agencies.

Nurse Life Care Planner

This is another emerging field. Nurses in this profession work with patients who have terminal diseases or chronic medical conditions to develop a life-long plan for their healthcare. This job requires both a degree in nursing, clinical experience and certification from agencies such as the Nurse Life Care Planner Certification Board or American Association of Nurse Life Care Planners.

These represent just some of the many different career paths a nurse can follow that will take them outside of the hospital. As healthcare delivery becomes more sophisticated and improvements are made on the best way to treat patients, the opportunities should only continue to grow.


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