3 Great Nonclinical Career Options in Nursing

If you’re one of the many nurses who want to move beyond direct patient care, these nursing career options may be just what you need

By Greg Scott Neuman
Posted 2012

Career Options in Nursing
Career Options in Nursing

Bedside care is one of the most difficult – if not the most difficult – aspect of being a nurse. The physical, mental and emotional stress that come with that part of the job are the main reason so many professionals in this field experience burnout. Fortunately, there are careers in nursing that can allow you to help patients in a different way.

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Here are three interesting, rewarding nursing career options that don’t involve direct patient care:

1. Case Manager. These professionals direct the many different aspects of treatment, with an eye toward reducing the length of each patient’s hospital stay while ensuring they have the best possible health outcome. They coordinate activity between doctors, nurses, therapists and other specialists to achieve this.

In addition to being a registered nurse (RN), entering this profession also usually requires certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center or Commission for Case Manager Certification. It also helps if you are patient with other people and can communicate well, as case managers often find themselves coordinating healthcare professionals with different priorities and goals.

2. Clinical nurse educator. These professionals work to educate both patients and staff on a variety of important topics.

On the patient side, clinical nurse educators help them understand their condition and prepare them for further recovery at home. They may also do the same for the patient’s family, especially if they are going to be involved in the recovery process. Outpatient specialties like childbirth preparation and diabetes education are common areas of expertise for clinical nurse educators.

On the staff side, these professionals orient and supervise newly hired nurses. This involves making sure they are doing their jobs correctly and ensuring they understand the rules, regulations and practices unique to their particular healthcare facility. They may also run training programs for more experienced nurses.

Clinical nurse educators must generally hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and RN certification. Many also have teaching credentials, advanced training in a particular nursing specialty, or both.

3. Risk manager. A sharp increase in the number of malpractice suits has led to a greater need for risk managers, who help identify and correct the root causes of medical mistakes. These professionals are not only employed in hospitals, but also by home healthcare firms, insurance companies and long-term care facilities.

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Nurses who enter the field of risk management usually hold a BSN, as well as certification from the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians or the American Hospital Association Certification Center. Good communication and conflict-resolution skills are also a must for risk managers.

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