When you are trying to decide what type of nurse you would like to become, there are a variety of factors that you should consider. One such factor that is important to bear in mind is the type of healthcare setting that you would like to work in. Indeed, many options go far beyond working as a registered nurse (RN) assisting a physician in a hospital.
While there is plenty of opportunity for RNs in the hospital setting and many important jobs in such a setting that need filling, many nurses feel called to take their talents and experience outside of the hospital setting for some reason or another. Through the acquisition of advanced degrees and certifications, you can become qualified to work in a setting that is different from that of a hospital.
If you are currently trying to decide what type of nurse you would like to be and the job setting is a factor that will play heavily in your decision, here are four nursing careers that do not involve working in a hospital that you can consider. Even if you would like to start your career off in a hospital and then make changes down the line, it is good to keep these career options in mind.
1. Nurse Educator
There is only so long that many nurses would want to work in a clinical or hospital setting before they feel the desire to pass along their experience and knowledge to the next generation of nurses. The role of a nurse educator is one that is crucial to the advancement and development of the field of nursing in general.
Nurses who have earned at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree can keep this career path in mind for themselves. There are many online ABSN programs to choose from that can help you get started on this path. You will naturally need to obtain a fair amount of experience in the field of nursing before you can think about becoming a nurse educator.
Furthermore, it will most likely be necessary for you to obtain an advanced degree of some kind if you wish to become a nurse educator. While there are institutions out there that will employ nurse educators who hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, others might only want to have nurses who hold a doctorate fill nurse educator positions.
While it might not be necessary because of the education and experience you have from specializing in a certain area of medicine, you might wish to obtain an advanced degree designed to prepare nurse educators for working with students.
2. Ambulatory Care Nurse
Aside from working in a hospital, there are many clinical settings in which a nurse might choose to work. One such setting that is becoming increasingly popular among both healthcare workers and patients alike is that of the ambulatory care center.
As might be indicated by the name, ambulatory centers are healthcare facilities that are not connected to a hospital, but that can still provide high-quality healthcare. These facilities, with which urgent care centers are grouped, are the type of facility that a patient might visit when they have a non-life-threatening condition that a physician needs to see.
Many patients prefer these centers to going to an emergency room at a hospital for many reasons. Aside from typically being more affordable, one doesn’t have to wait nearly as long to be seen by a physician in such a facility. Moreover, the nurses and physicians who run these centers can comprehensively administer to various conditions and injuries.
3. Home Health Nurse
Another place that many patients are choosing, either by choice or circumstances, to receive their necessary healthcare is in their own homes. Particularly among the elderly, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to get to a clinic or doctor’s office to receive the routine healthcare they need. A home health nurse can provide the care that such patients need right from the comfort of their own home.
As a home health nurse, you would be responsible for visiting your patients in their homes daily to ensure that they are taking their necessary medications and maintaining good health. If a patient is recovering from an injury or surgical procedure, you might be called upon to assist them with their physical rehabilitation as well.
One key part of being a home health nurse is to look out for the signs that a patient of yours might need to switch to a more involved method of healthcare. It can be hard for a person or even for their family and friends to recognize that the time has come for a change to an assisted living facility of some sort. As a medical professional who works with that patient every day, it is important that you weigh in when your instincts indicate that it might be time for such a change.
4. Public Health Nurses
There is no denying the fact that there will always be individuals within certain communities that don’t have access to proper healthcare. Public health nurses work to reach out directly to such people within their communities to help provide the healthcare that they need.
Another aspect of being a public health nurse involves educating the public on proper healthcare. By holding clinics and seminars and acting as a known resource within a community, you can do a great deal to improve the quality of life for individuals living there. While you might be called upon to work with individual patients, your greater role is to address the community as a whole to improve the quality of life there. Public health nurses are advocates for the people, resources for healthcare, and educators to those within underserved communities.
Hopefully these four points have given you some ideas about where to take your career if you do not want to work in a hospital – but do not discount that possibility, you might find that you enjoy it.