Where do registered nurses (RNs) work? The obvious answer is a clinic or a hospital. But the reality is that RNs work in a variety of different settings, specialties and environments—some of which may really surprise and intrigue you!
If you’re considering becoming an RN, there are several fascinating work environments from which to choose. That’s good news for those who are freaked out by hospitals or don’t like the clinic setting. It’s time to get educated on where RNs can actually work. We connected with one RN who’s held a range of positions in the industry to help give you a sneak peek into some of your options.
11 surprising places where RNs work
After perusing this list, you’ll understand that RNs have a wide array of options—both when it comes to the work environment and the daily duties you will perform. The key is finding a good fit that aligns with your skills and interests.
Amidst the cabins, canoes and canteens there are medical professionals helping to make sure summer camps are a safe place for kids. As a camp nurse you will perform a variety of duties, all while enjoying the very unique and serene camp setting.
Jennifer Schmid is an RN and natural wellness educator and recalls her experience as a camp nurse as being fun and rewarding. She loved working with children in such a picturesque environment. She says her wide range of duties included pulling out splinters, administering medications, wound care, liaising with parents and providing lots of hugs.
“Camp nursing is a great opportunity for new grad RNs who enjoy nature and want to improve their skills fast,” Schmid says.
2. Correctional Facilities
As the number of detainees in America continues to rise, so does the need for medical care in our correctional facilities. Correctional facilities nurses care for detainees dealing with a wide range of medical problems, from diabetes to seizure disorders to HIV. Obviously, working with incarcerated individuals will have its risks and requires an individual with thick skin and an interest in caring for potentially dangerous patients.
It’s probably not surprising that nurses work in schools, but it is often overlooked. Whether you’re at the elementary or college level, school nurses are needed to take vitals, give basic care and facilitate the need for urgent care from a physician.
Schmid was assigned to work at a high school that had two students with Type 1 diabetes. On top of her normal duties, she was responsible for helping them measure their blood sugar before meals and administer insulin when necessary. “I loved working with these students and their faculty,” Schmid says. “They were so appreciative of my help as well as what I taught them about nutrition and how certain foods affect blood sugar.”
4. Patients' homes
It may surprise you to learn that there are still a large number of medical professionals working out of patients’ homes. Whether you are caring for elderly individuals or those with developmental disabilities, you may help with with basic living skills, bodily functions and of course administering medical care. This is a really rewarding option if you enjoy getting to know your patients on a very personal level.
5. Places of worship
Some churches, synagogues and other religious institutions employ faith community nurses. These nurses often follow the same practices as holistic nurses, taking into consideration the religious practices of their particular faith. As a faith community nurse, you may be asked to provide education on health topics, spiritual and physical wellness counsel and holistic methods of care.
As a flight or transport nurse, you stick to the skies, performing care for those en route. You may work for a hospital system, strictly caring for patients being airlifted in helicopters, or as part of an airline specialized staff, providing care to specific airline passengers in need of constant medical attention.
7. Publication companies
Some experienced RNs looking for a change of pace may move on to become nursing writers, consultants or historians. These nurses may be involved in writing, editing and proofreading technical material for an educational textbook or a biomedical research project. They may even work as a script consultant for television shows and movies featuring nurses.
8. Missionary clinics
Missionary nurses work all over the world in clinics or hospitals that are often owned and operated by missional organizations. As a missionary nurse, you will get to share your faith while giving vital care and medical education to people of another culture.
9. Courts of law
Nurses working in courts of law are most likely forensic nurses, meaning they are trained in medical evidence collection and the criminal justice system. As a forensic nurse, your duties will likely include taking blood and tissue samples, collecting other vital bodily evidence and providing support and comfort for victims.
10. War zones and military bases
Military nurses care for patients within our armed forces at bases and in war zones all across the globe. As a military nurse, you will have the unique opportunity to care for others while serving our country and experiencing other places and cultures.
11. Your own office!
Whether you branch off to become a private nurse educator, a holistic consultant or a nursing blogger, you could find yourself working for yourself someday. If you have the entrepreneurial spirit, think about the work-from-home nursing jobs you could land by becoming an RN first.
“Having my own office space means I can be flexible and work when it is most convenient for my clients, my children and myself,” says Schmid. She loves being a work-from-home holistic nurse because she’s able to foster one-on-one relationships with clients, helping her identify the most effective way to facilitate their healing—all on her own time!
So where do RNs work? The answer is everywhere! Now you’re aware that RNs work in a variety of settings and perform a whole slew of special duties. But the question remains: is becoming an RN going to get you where you want to be? You should be able to confidently answer that question before you commit to a nursing credential.
Finding out what a registered nurse actually does will help you make your decision. Once you’re sure you understand what the RN credential means for your future, then the next step is obvious—find the nursing degree that will help get you there!