5 Alternative Careers for Registered Nurses

the challenges facing nurses

When you make a list of the most rewarding professions possible, nursing has to go near or even at the top. However, just because the job is rewarding and many people are satisfied with what they are doing, that doesn’t mean that nurses don’t face any challenges. The truth is, as much as nursing might be rewarding, it is also very hard, and for some, even if they love the job itself, those difficulties are too hard to cope with.

This is not something to be ashamed of if you find you are a nurse who has this difficulty; we are all human, and not everyone is suited to nursing in the traditional sense. However, the good news is that there are a number of alternative career choices for nurses who want to try something different but still help people as much as possible. Read on to find out what those alternative careers are.

Nurse Practitioner

You might love what you are doing as a nurse, and the challenges that come your way may not faze you at all. If that is the case, changing from an RN to doing the work of a nurse practitioner might be an option. Nurse practitioners do the work of a nurse, but they are also leaders, ensuring that the entire team is working well and that everything is running smoothly.

Sometimes nurses can feel as though they are stuck in a rut, and rather than the challenges of their job getting on top of them and causing them problems, it’s the opposite – the challenges are just not challenging enough. In this case, progressing to another level of nursing, such as a nurse practitioner, nurse manager, or nurse administrator, could be exactly what you need to give you a more interesting and satisfying day-to-day working life.

Telemedicine Nurse

You will no doubt have heard about how many people are now working from home. It’s been a big but necessary shift, and for a large percentage, it works very well – especially when coupled with flexible working.

Of course, nurses could never work remotely; they need to be with their patients, and it’s a very hands-on kind of job. Or is it? Although you would need to be with your patients in most cases and most nursing roles, this is not the case if you are a telemedicine nurse. Instead, you will care for people in their own homes through a remote connection. This is ideal for patients who cannot get to a healthcare facility, either because they live in a remote rural area or because they are too sick to move.

To do this work, you’ll need to have a lot of experience. It is, of course, much harder to treat someone if you aren’t in the same room with them, so it’s crucial you’ve spent time with patients face to face to get an idea of the kinds of ailments they might have and how to deal with them in the best way.

Nurse Researcher

When you think of a nurse, you’ll probably think of someone who is caring and compassionate and likes to be around people – someone who is perhaps outgoing and certainly not introverted. However, not all nurses are like this. Some love the idea of helping people, but they are very shy, and they aren’t fond of being around a lot of other people in a busy environment.

Although this seems like a contradiction, it’s certainly possible for a nurse with these personality traits to enjoy an alternative career that stills helps people, is still within the field of nursing, but that is a little more removed from patients than the work a general nurse would be. This career could be as a nurse researcher.

Nurse researchers work for hospitals, universities, labs, and other similar institutions. They study diseases and how to treat them – and prevent them – and offer some extremely valuable research to the medical world and the world at large. A nurse researcher is a qualified nurse who enjoys scientific research and is happy to work alone or as part of a small team to find solutions to healthcare problems.

Nurse Life-Care Planner

Nurse life-care planners, also called nurse care managers, will take charge of patients who need ongoing care, perhaps for many years or even throughout the rest of their lives. It’s good for a patient to see just one or two nurses and to have a continuity of care when it comes to medical personnel, so having a specific nurse life-care planner is crucial; this will help the patient feel more at ease, and it will ensure that the medical care is ongoing and nothing is missed in the potentially many handovers that would occur if lots of nurses were helping the same patient.

Not only will nurse life-care planners carry out the medical treatments required, but they will also create the care plan, taking into account the patient themselves as well as the medical needs that have to be addressed. This is a challenging job, of course, and it’s one that will be filled with emotion – a nurse in a hospital will see hundreds of patients, whereas a nurse life-care planner will see only one or two, so a connection will be more easily formed. However, it is also potentially one of the most fulfilling careers anyone with interest in nursing can have.

Forensic Nurse

A forensic nurse might be something to think about if you’re looking for something very different when it comes to alternative nursing careers. A forensic nurse will work hand in hand with the legal system, helping those who have been the victims of violent crime and collecting important legal evidence to be used in court at the same time.

To be good at this job, the nurse must stand up and speak confidently in public, as they will need to be in court and give evidence on many occasions. However, along with this more serious side, the nurse should also be able to speak compassionately to patients who will be highly traumatized by what has happened to them.

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