Inspiring Non-Traditional Jobs in Nursing: From Changing the World to Leading the Way: What Can I Do with a Nursing Degree? Find out here!
Nursing specialties inspired by a passion for social change
A common answer to the question, “So, why did you go into nursing?” is, “To make a difference in my patient’s lives.” But, what if you had a drive to affect widespread change? Public health nursing, public health research, or epidemics research might be your dream field. Public health nurses are charged with caring for entire communities. They help determine which factors directly impact their community’s health and work to create interventions to help as many people as possible. Advocacy and health education are the mainstays of public health nursing. Public health research nurse. If research fuels your passion, public health nurse researcher is a profession to consider.
Hospitals are over-crowded and understaffed. Nurses who provide care in the community allow for vulnerable populations to remain in their homes and out of the hospital and nursing facilities. Home health nurses visit the homes of their patients to perform skilled nursing tasks such as assessments, wound care, medication management, and care planning. Similarly, hospice nurses enter the homes of patients at the end of their life to make sure their needs are met. They focus on pain control, helping the families through the grieving process, and ensure the patient’s dignity is maintained. Community nurses may focus on one special population, such as patients with HIV, homeless patients, or immigrants. They work to ensure care is available that is specific to the population. Legal nurse consultants analyze and give opinions about delivery of care and outcomes related to medical malpractice, personal injury, or life care plan cases. A law degree is not necessary; most LNCs learn on the job¹. They may be employed by law firms, hospitals, insurance companies, government agencies, or themselves.
Specializing in fields of medicine
Pediatric nursing can be extremely challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. You could find yourself caring for primarily asthma patients on a respiratory care floor, trauma patients in the pediatric ICU, or babies weighing less than a pound fighting for their lives in the newborn ICU. Oncology nurses are specially trained in caring for patients with cancer. These often medically fragile individuals require chemotherapy, which the nurses have to be certified to administer, and their care is often exceedingly complex. If you’re ready to step away from the bedside, however, perhaps informatics is a possibility for you. As a health informatics nurse, you could work on a specific unit to help tease data from the patient charts to help the medical teams recognize patterns in care and outcomes. This is an excellent way to be a part of the healthcare team while forgoing direct patient care.
Adrenaline boosters: Exciting fields for nurses!
Do you spend your days off rock climbing, whitewater rafting, or skydiving? Perhaps you need a nursing job that gets your adrenaline flowing. Critical care nurses care for the sickest of the sick in intensive care units. They’re highly-trained individuals who drag patient's back from the brink of death on a daily basis. Critical care nurses are often required to respond to codes in the rest of the hospital. Emergency department nurses in trauma centers assess and stabilize patients who may come in after a car crash, gunshot wound, or home improvement accidents. Their patient loads vary from dehydration from the flu, accidental dismemberment, to mass casualty incidents, and much more.
Case management nurses help to coordinate the care of patients with complex medical needs who receive multiple services. They often work with medical teams in the hospital to ensure the patient’s needs will be met upon discharge.
Clinical nurse leaders are masters-prepared nurses who work in a specific hospital unit. They assess the needs of their patient population and determine which health issues are specific to them. Pressure ulcers, central line-associated bloodstream infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia all fall within the purview of the clinical nurse leader. These are but a fraction of the non-traditional nursing opportunities available!
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