7 Non-Clinical Nursing Jobs for Nurses Needing a Change
You’ve spent years working as an RN, and you wouldn’t trade a minute of it. Being there to support and care for patients in some of their most difficult moments has made your career more rewarding than you ever imagined it could be.
But as much as you enjoy patient care, you’re ready for a change of pace. The good news is that there are several non-clinical nursing jobs that allow you to make a difference for patients even if you’re not working with them one-on-one.
Learn how you can leverage your years of direct patient care in a non-clinical nursing job that matches your skills and interests and lets you bring positive change to the healthcare industry.
7 Non-clinical nursing jobs for you to consider
Not every nursing job requires you to be at the beck and call (light) of a patient. The following are excellent options for nurses looking to branch out and grow in their careers while stepping out of the daily clinical nursing grind.
1. Legal nurse consultant
Legal nurse consultants bring their medical expertise to the legal world, often testifying in cases related to health issues like malpractice or abuse. They help attorneys understand medical vocabulary and interpret patient charts and health histories. They may work for insurance companies, healthcare facilities, government agencies or pharmaceutical companies, and many are self-employed consultants who work with a number of clients.
To work in this exciting career, you’ll first need to be a registered nurse who holds either an Associate’s degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN). An RN’s clinical experience is what makes them so valuable in the legal field, so five years of clinical work and two years of work in legal nursing are required before you’ll be eligible for certification through the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants.
2. Nursing informatics
This non-clinical nursing position combines technology and computer science with knowledge of the healthcare system. Nurse informaticists work in the information systems department to manage and interpret patient data from their healthcare facility—for example, the rates of infection in a particular department—to develop new care protocols. They may also conduct research based on the data they collect, train clinical nurses on new technology systems and implement new systems in their hospital or clinic.
If your love of the healthcare world has a bent toward technology, then a nursing informatics career might take advantage of your talents and interests. Licensed RNs with a BSN can get started in this career by becoming certified by the American Nursing Informatics Association.
3. Public health nurse
Public health nurses work within their community to improve overall health of the people in the area. They collaborate with community leaders to educate citizens about health risks and develop programs to combat problems specific to their community, such as obesity, STDs or preparing for natural disasters. Their work environments can vary from county or state governments to schools, correctional facilities or volunteer organizations.
If you like the sound of working to improve the health of an entire community, then you might be interested in a career as a public health nurse. Oftentimes, public health nurses must only be registered nurses with an ASN or BSN degree, but some positions may require an Advanced Public Health Nursing Certification, which requires a graduate degree such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).
4. Nursing administrator
Nursing administrators are leaders in the healthcare field, combining their clinical experience with management skills like budgeting and hiring to help nursing departments in hospitals and clinics run smoothly. They supervise the nurses in their department, make budgeting and hiring decisions, collaborate with other healthcare managers and search for ways for their department to provide higher-quality patient care.
Some nursing administrators still spend some time in direct patient care, so this position might be a good fit for RNs who aren’t ready to give up clinical work entirely. Many employers prefer to hire nurse administrators who have an MSN in addition to being licensed RNs.
5. Nurse educator
Nurse educators are RNs who pass their medical experience and knowledge on to the next wave of nurses by teaching nursing courses at the college level. These nurses have a passion for the healthcare field, and they put their organizational and leadership skills to good use as they develop curriculum and mentor aspiring nurses. Some nurse educators continue to work in clinical settings alongside their teaching responsibilities.
If a love of helping people is what drew you to nursing in the first place, becoming a nurse educator could be a natural next step. In addition to being licensed RNs with a few years of clinical experience under their belts, nurse educators need to earn their MSN and have the option of taking a certification exam through the National League of Nursing.
6. Nurse ethicist
This emerging nursing career allows RNs to act as ethical guides who help healthcare providers and patients navigate difficult medical situations. Nurse ethicists consult on patient cases related to end-of-life decisions, mediate between patients and their healthcare team when there’s a disagreement about treatment and lead conversations in the industry about issues like capital punishment and informed consent.
RNs who want to effect change across the industry and support patients and families who are facing tough decisions might want to consider this career. There isn’t a single, straightforward path to becoming a nurse ethicist, but most have years of clinical experience and an advanced degree, such as an MSN or courses in bioethics.
7. Clinical nurse researcher
These nurses bring their clinical experience to the behind-the-scenes task of research. Clinical nurse researchers are an important part of the medical community as they analyze data and statistics, apply for research grants and work to bring new innovations and advancements to the healthcare field.
Detail-oriented RNs who don’t mind plenty of documentation could find clinical research to be an enjoyable career. In addition to being a registered nurse, clinical nurse researchers will typically need a graduate-level education and an optional certification through the Society for Clinical Research Associates.
Take your clinical experience to the next level
Just because you need a change from patient care doesn’t mean you can’t advance your nursing career. You have plenty of options that match your skills and interests with these non-clinical nursing jobs.
You might be wondering if you need to further your education with a graduate nursing degree to achieve the non-clinical career you’re after. Find out if an MSN is the right choice for you in our article, “5 Signs You Should Consider Earning an MSN Degree.”