What can I do with a BSN degree besides patient care?
Life as a registered nurse (RN) isn’t always easy. While working with patients can be rewarding, it’s not without its challenges. Some nurses find they are more suited for roles outside of patient care, and there are many that still allow them to make a difference.
If you’re an RN with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, there are many non-clinical nursing jobs you can pursue. Here are some ideas to help you find a nursing career you can thrive in.
1. Become a nurse educator
Teaching is one of the best jobs for nurses who love helping people, but want to move away from full-time patient care. A good nurse educator has:
- An advanced degree and strong academic background
- Deep clinical experience
- Excellent communication skills
- A desire to make a difference
- Eagerness to share their expertise with others
If this sounds like you, a career as a nurse educator could be a great fit. You can work as a staff development educator in a clinical environment, or as a professor or faculty member at a university or college. In most cases, you will need a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) to qualify for a position as a nurse educator.
Herzing University offers an online MSN in Nursing Education for nurses looking to take the next step in their career. In order to qualify for the program, you must have a BSN degree. You can complete the online program in as few as 16 months when you attend full-time, but many students choose to attend part-time for added flexibility and the ability to work at a more comfortable pace.
2. Pursue a leadership role
If you have a bachelor’s degree and several years of experience, you can position yourself for roles in nursing leadership, management or administration. Potential jobs include:
- Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)
- Direct of Nursing
- Nurse Manager
- Nurse Administrator
- Healthcare Manager
You won’t necessarily have to leave your place of employment to advance to one of these roles. As healthcare organizations deal with a growing patient population and a shortage of skilled healthcare professionals, nurses with advanced knowledge and skills are in high demand.
An MSN program focused on leadership and administration will not only help you bring your career to the next level, but it will also provide you with the management and organizational knowledge you need to succeed in a leadership role.
Herzing offers an online MSN in Leadership and Administration program that can be completed in as little as 16 months.
3. Explore careers in Information Technology (IT)
Information technology is an excellent path if you are looking to get away from high-stress jobs in patient care, but still want to have a measurable impact on the delivery of healthcare. Nursing IT careers are increasingly important as technology continues to redefine the healthcare industry.
For example, nurse informatics specialists function as a “technology liaison” for hospital staff, while still performing select nursing duties. They might be involved in designing and testing new information solutions, or implementing new processes to improve patient care.
A career in nursing informatics also offers diverse career pathways with many opportunities for career advancement. Often, informatics specialists will pursue more advanced roles, such as nurse manager or Chief Nursing Informatics Officer
4. Consider work-from-home nursing jobs
A traditional job as a registered nurse requires you to practice in a clinical environment. However, there are positions that may allow you to provide nursing care and instruction remotely, such as:
- Telemedicine nurse
- Nurse case manager
- Legal nurse consultant
- Nurse informatics specialist
For self-motivated individuals with excellent communication skills and a strong background in a specialty area of nursing, a work-from-home job may be a possibility for you.
5. Work for an insurance company
Nurses can be an excellent resource for insurance companies. Insurance companies look for maximum transparency about healthcare processes and costs so that they can evaluate risk and set rates as accurately as possible. Nurses are valuable in collecting that data, interpreting it correctly and understanding how to act on it.
A nurse working for an insurance company may perform clinical research, audits or medical coding. Possible job titles include Health Coach Consultant or Quality Management Nurse Consultant. This is an excellent choice for nurses who are looking for a non-clinical job, since many positions will be in a typical office setting and some may allow for remote work.
6. Consider a career in pharmaceuticals
Nurses with extensive experience in a certain specialty are a great asset for companies who manufacture pharmaceuticals. For example, a nurse who specializes in pediatrics can play a crucial role in the development of medicine for children as a consultant, researcher or educator.
Working as a pharmaceutical sales representative can also be a smooth career transition for a nurse, given their medical expertise and their exceptional communication skills.
7. Explore your other patient care options
If none of these options sound appealing, you may want to re-evaluate what’s really giving you doubts about life as an RN. There are many types of registered nurses with unique roles in patient care, and you may find less stress in an alternative.
For example, if working as a trauma nurse proves to be too taxing, becoming a school nurse or clinic nurse might be the change of pace that you need.
As you evaluate your options, keep these nursing specialties in mind:
- Travel nurse. Love to travel? As a travel nurse, you’ll work in many different environments all over the country—or world! It’s an unconventional nursing setting, but very rewarding.
- Flight nurse. Flight nurses assist in the care of patients being transported to the hospital via air travel. It can be a high-stress job and patient care is vitally important, but it’s a unique type of nursing that may interest you.
- School nurse. You’ll work with students and parents to coordinate medical care in a school. It’s a rewarding career and a great choice for nurses who love working with kids.
- Forensic nurse. As a forensic nurse, you will care for victims of crime and play a crucial role in gathering medical evidence and providing expert testimony that can be used in court.
- Case management nurse. Nurse case managers are registered nurses who design health care plans for individual patients. It is their job to coordinate effective and efficient care, while managing the costs of treatment. Case management can be a great career move for an experienced RN seeking responsibilities outside of direct patient care.
We want to help you find a career you love
At Herzing University we empower you to reach your career goals and support you in every way possible to help make it happen. If you are looking for feedback on how to best utilize your BSN and pivot to a new career, we’ll help you find your way.