5 Alternative Paths You Can Take With a Nursing Degree


5 Alternative Paths You Can Take With a Nursing Degree

By Whitney Hollingsworth, Contributor

Your nursing degree doesn’t lock you into traditional patient care career options. 

Often, we think of nurses as healthcare professionals who only work within the four walls of a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office. Though many nursing careers do take place in these settings, other nursing career options exist outside of standard clinical environments. Many nursing professionals decide to maximize the benefits of their nursing degree by pursuing alternative nursing careers.

Since the healthcare industry is constantly growing and evolving, more opportunities continue to emerge for nurses seeking to pursue non-traditional nursing careers. 

”There are too many career paths to list for registered nurses,” says Nancy Brook, RN, MSN, CFNP, and Nurse Practitioner at Stanford Healthcare. “The options are based on interest and motivation as well as experience and salary requirements.”


5 Nursing Career Options to Consider

1. Case management

Case managers are medical and public health social workers who specialize in the coordination of services to find appropriate care and resources for their clients. Case managers work with agencies, institutions and other health and human service providers to monitor a client's progress and coordinate treatment plans for successful outcomes. 

Case management is a nursing career option that allows RNs to provide care to a variety of people including children, seniors, recovering addicts, the homeless and individuals with physical or mental disabilities.

2. Nursing IT

Tech-minded nurses can move their nursing career into the direction of informatics. This growing field integrates nursing, computer and information sciences to develop, improve and maintain information technologies for the healthcare system. 

Nurses incorporate computerized systems into their daily routines and so are the most familiar with the components that best support clinical nurses. Nurse informaticists draw on their clinical experience to develop and improve evidence-based and user-friendly programs for providers across the healthcare spectrum.

3. Telemedicine

Nurses who want to explore nursing career options with set scheduling might consider telemedicine

Geographic location, provider availability, chronic illness and economic factors can greatly limit patient access to healthcare. Telemedicine empowers patients to take charge of their health — even when these limitations exist — by providing real-time consultation between patient and provider. Telemedicine nurses work in a variety of specializations, including home care, mental health urgent care and remote monitoring.

4. Nurse educator

Use your nursing degree to help people earn their nursing degree. Nurse educators are registered nurses who serve as faculty members in nursing schools and teaching hospitals. They share their knowledge, skills and experience to aspiring nurses and patient providers. 

Nurse educators can focus solely on teaching or offer instruction while continuing to work in direct patient care. Nurse educators must stay up-to-date on new nursing methods and technologies so they are always on the cutting edge of constantly evolving clinical practices.

5. Pharmaceutical sales

Nurses make excellent pharmaceutical reps because they are patient advocates first. Representatives inform pharmacists and physicians of new medications and of new uses for existing ones. Nurses bring unique knowledge and skills to a setting where they are respected as professionals, have opportunities for advancement and have the chance to work autonomously, setting their own hours and schedule. 

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