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Learning Center Experience
You’re on your way to becoming a nurse. Are you aware that nursing careers are
becoming more versatile than ever before? While you might be interested in
pursuing a traditional route, you may want to consider your options and “think
outside the box” about other avenues within the profession.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, currently 87% of registered nurses work in
traditional environments such as hospitals, care facilities, doctor offices,
home health, and government settings. However, for those seeking nontraditional
nursing careers, other opportunities could be available in environments such as
legal, travel, technology, wellness, and business.
No matter what your
interests, a nursing degree could help you
explore the beaten path to places you may not have thought of before.
The nursing profession is consistently and
rapidly evolving. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics
projects employment growth of 19% for registered nurses from 2012 to 2022, and
this is categorized as “faster than average” growth over other professions. They attribute this to an aging
population, Affordable Healthcare Act regulations.
According to Jo Ann Webb, senior director of
federal relations and policy at the American Organization of Nurse Executives, a nonprofit representing 8,600 members and promoting
nursing issues, "There aren't enough nurses, but there is a huge demand
for health care.” She also notes that the Affordable Care Act is expanding
health insurance coverage and overhauling other regulations, which is expected
to impact the need for more nurses.
Following are some different avenues for
nurses that one might not normally at first associate with the field:
As you determine a nursing career that is the
right fit for you, consider your passions, skills, and your schedule
flexibility. For instance, if you enjoy
travel and your schedule allows for you to be gone for weeks at a time, you may
want to consider a career as a cruise ship nurse. These nurse
positions require advanced medical experience, training, certifications, and a desire to see the world.
Another avenue for the adventurous is a career
as a travel nurse.
Many nurses pursue these opportunities through agencies that specialize in
providing temporary work contracts to fill staffing gaps at hospitals and other
medical facilities. Some travel nurses work as independent contractors.
If you excel at helping others while working
under extreme pressure and high time sensitivity, you might consider becoming a
While transporting patients in a helicopter, flight nurses must combine the
skills of both a paramedic and a nurse.
Those interested in staying closer to home could
pursue opportunities in wellness environments, including spas and fitness
centers. As obesity continues to rise in the U.S., nurses can play a role in
helping Americans get fit and live longer.
If you have a mind for business and enjoy a
more traditional “9 to 5” environment, you could consider a role in the
corporate business world. Pharmaceutical
and biotech companies depend on strong research departments to stay
competitive. One could also pursue management opportunities within skilled
nursing care centers, home health care, and food manufacturing corporations.
Or, if you have a passion for social justice
and want to provide care for underserved, low-income patients, you might
consider working in a community health care clinic.
Lastly, do you have an entrepreneurial spirit
and don’t mind taking on some risk? You could leverage your nursing skills as
an independent nursing services provider. Organizations such as the National Nurses in Business
Association can offer you additional resources.
While nontraditional nursing careers can
provide more schedule flexibility, what often drives many nurses to these
alternative environments is a desire to serve a particular patient population.
These unique nursing jobs satisfy the skills and interests of the people who
fill them. A nursing degree could help you take
those first steps off the beaten path to a fulfilling nontraditional nursing
How a Career In Nursing Can Grow and Adapt to Fit Your Changing Life
Nursing Informatics: What Is It?
Did you find this article interesting? If so, share it!
And if you are considering pursuing a nursing degree, we invite you to find out more about Kaplan University’s School of Nursing and explore our undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.
* Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.
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