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Six Alternate Career Paths for Nurses to Explore

  • April 27, 2022
  • 6 min read
Six Alternate Career Paths for Nurses to Explore

Sustainable and accessible healthcare is the key to a country’s economic stability and growth. The healthcare sector forms a crucial part of a government’s developmental strategy all across the globe. 

Nurses act as the backbone of the healthcare industry. As the skilled caretakers of patients, they maintain a direct link with the healthcare sector. Experienced and professional nurses are a massive boost to a state’s healthcare system. 

With changing patients’ demands and emerging health concerns, the role of nurses has never been more crucial. Nursing has become one of the most in-demand career paths in the patient care industry. 

Despite being a tough path, nursing is also a broad and rewarding experience. Over time, the healthcare sector has evolved into a more complex framework. It has also impacted the landscape of nursing careers. 

Nursing is no longer one single profession. It has evolved into an umbrella term that includes multiple career options for medical students. 

Nursing professionals can find fulfilling work in a variety of roles. 

Some jobs require the nurse to either work as a health administrator or as a nutritionist. Considering how diverse the profession has become, the following are alternate career paths for aspiring nursing students to explore. 

  • Healthcare Administration

Registered Nurses (RN) can transition from conventional roles to supervisory positions such as healthcare administration careers. There are many benefits for working nurses who want to make such the switch. 

For one, the work schedule is quite excellent, and there are many employee benefits. A career as a nurse administrator allows supervisory positions over other nurses. 

Healthcare administrators also work to make amends in medical policy if the need arises. 

To get a decent healthcare administration salary, nurses must earn a bachelor’s degree. In some cases, most healthcare institutions require up to five years of healthcare management experience to fulfill the role of a healthcare administrator. 

The only downside of this career is limited time with patients. Healthcare administrators can work on behalf of patients without providing direct bedside care. 

  • Health Coach/ Nutrition Coach

For nurses with a passion for fitness and nutrition, a career as a health coach or nutritionist is ideal. The professionals in this field often work closely with their clients. 

The roles include providing health assessments, nutritional counseling, and custom meal plans.

Health coaches and nutritionists often work in diverse environments. Some of them work independently, while others often work for other businesses. Some actively operate their own businesses. 

The industry of health coaching and nutrition is a booming sector. Due to increasing demands, it has become one of the most profitable fields. A nurse must be registered to work as a health coach or nutritionist.

Holding a nursing bachelor’s degree or relevant certification is the minimum requirement. Many states require that the professional have a health coaching or dietetics license.    

3.      Pharmaceutical/ Medical Sales Rep

Following the diverse career path of nursing, the pharmaceutical/medical sales rep is quite an interesting path. It is reserved for nurses with a flair for sales and product information. 

Nurses working as medical sales reps act as product experts. They deliver product information, sales, pre-sale support, and post-sale support to many companies. 

The field often facilitates sales representatives with necessary nursing experience. 

Professionals often communicate with doctors or healthcare specialists to introduce new pharmaceutical products to the market. 

Understanding the relevant medical terminologies and communication standards for hospital and clinical settings is one of the important requirements. 

Nurses have often reported that working as a medical sales rep has been a diverse and rewarding experience. It is a flexible field with potential for growth opportunities. 

4.      Health Educators 

Nurses who have a natural calling to teach and educate can serve as excellent health educators. Health educators play an essential role in teaching healthy lifestyles to communities, individuals, or campuses. 

Being a health educator can be a taxing nursing intervention. It requires proper planning and implementation of effective programs for teaching students. 

Due to the nature of the role, health educators include many school nurses. However, not all school nurses are effective health educators. 

Field professionals actively work in positions linked to the government, family services, or large hospitals. 

Providing health education is one of the most rewarding career paths for nurses who want to serve as teachers. 

Usually, an associate or bachelor level degree in nursing is required for fulfilling the role of a health educator. 

5.      Medical Researchers

The path of medical research requires extensive study. Therefore, nurses pursuing Ph.D. in the relevant fields become medical researchers. 

They are scientists researching medicines, treatments, diseases, and other health-related topics. Some of them even study manufacturing new medical devices along with drug potencies. 

Owing to the evolving landscape of the healthcare sector, medical researchers are in demand. Medical researchers typically work in research-oriented facilities. 

They work in universities, campuses, laboratories, hospitals, and clinics. 

Due to the diversity of research, it is common for medical researchers to collaborate with professionals from other fields actively. 

Nurses who want exposure to the other industrial sectors often take up medical research as a profession. 

6.      Physical Therapists

Transitioning from a conventional nursing role to a physical therapist is one of the most common trends for nurses. At the crux, the practice remains essentially the same. 

Physical therapists help patients afflicted with illness or impaired physical mobility. They provide care to the patients and help them manage their pain levels and improve movement. 

Nurses do well in the profession. The reason is that physical therapists work in similar environments such as clinics or hospitals. Therefore, it is easier for nurses to make a change 

Nurses willing to transition must earn a proper physical therapy degree and a relevant license.  

Final Thoughts 

The healthcare sector is one of the most evolving fields of the modern world. Nurses form a crucial part of healthcare due to their roles. 

For nurses to contribute more to the industry, they need to operate in diverse career paths and professions. 

Some of the alternate career paths for nurses include serving as physical therapists, medical researchers, health educators, medical sales reps, and healthcare administrators. 

Nurses willing to switch to another career should be ready to earn relevant certifications, licenses, or degrees in the field of choice. 

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