After earning your nursing degree, it can be devastating to learn that you don’t enjoy nursing nearly as much as you thought you would. Whether time changed your mind or you never really realized what nursing involved, it can be frustrating to walk away from a career as a nurse after spending so much time and money earning your degree.
You aren’t alone if you feel like you want to quit nursing, so there’s no need to be ashamed. A study done last year by ShiftMed shows that around one-third of nurses plan to quit working in healthcare altogether. Just under 40% say they want to move away from patient-focused roles while just under 49% say they plan on moving out of nursing within the next year or two.
If you’re one of the many nursing professionals who wish to change careers, don’t be afraid! There are many more things you can do with a nursing degree aside from nursing. Here are just a few.
1. Nursing Informatics
If you aren’t looking to escape the healthcare industry altogether, a career in nursing IT or informatics is a great way to escape the stress of a patient-centered role but stay within the healthcare system.
A career in nursing informatics involves improving hospital communication and technological tools used by hospital staff. You’ll analyze data and use this information to improve the systems already in place to improve patient care from behind the scenes. Essentially, you’ll work as a “technology liaison” between hospital care staff.
2. Nurse Educator
If you have a love of teaching or just really enjoyed the atmosphere of your university, working as a nurse educator is another possibility. In some cases, you may not even need to earn another degree before you can find work in a facility.
You may be specially sought out if you have clinical experience and have already spent time working in a medical facility. With your experience, you’ll be able to help prepare students for a healthcare career.
For those who enjoy the process of researching and problem solving, a career as a medical researcher may be particularly intriguing. With a BSN, you can become a medical researcher and help behind the scenes of the medical world.
Working as a medical researcher can be challenging and rewarding. You’ll need to stay up to date on changes that happen around you, but the repetition of lab work and data collection can be enjoyable for those who like to work toward a goal and understand what they’re studying.
4. Freelance Nurse Writer
In search of a career with complete flexibility and zero patient contact? A career as a freelance nurse writer may be right up your alley!
Freelance nurse writers provide professional and expert knowledge through writing. You may be asked to write blog posts, articles, educational pamphlets, or even short books for clients that need your expert medical knowledge.
Working as a freelance nurse writer can also be an easy side gig if you ever need something to fill your time. Unlike other nursing jobs, you are entirely in control of your schedule and how long you work as a freelance nurse writer.
5. Legal Nurse Consultant
If you’re intrigued by the law but don’t want to return to school, becoming a legal nurse consultant is a great option. You’ll act as an expert witness for medically-involved cases such as insurance fraud cases, toxic torts, medical malpractice cases, and worker’s compensation claims.
Legal nurse consultants help ensure that lawyers, judges, and juries understand the medical terminology mentioned during a court case.
6. Pharmaceutical Sales
You might not imagine nursing as a sales industry, but it can be. If you’re interested in sales, working for a pharmaceutical manufacturer may be a good choice. Your experience as a nurse will help give you the upper hand when it comes to sales.
With a career in pharmaceutical sales, you’ll still be working in healthcare and can continue making an impact without the stress of regular nursing careers.
7. Fitness or Health Coach
If you’re especially passionate about health and fitness, becoming a coach is something that you can do with your BSN. As a fitness coach, you’ll help guide clients to meeting their fitness goals through exercise and diet. As a health coach, you can provide specialized health advice to clients with unique medical conditions.
Working as a fitness or health coach allows you to assist patients outside of the setting of a medical facility. While you’re still working with your clients and patients toward becoming healthier, you can do so in a more informal manner and in a way that you’re more passionate about.
8. Correctional Care Nurse
Perhaps you want to stick with patient care, but you don’t want to continue in a hospital or traditional medical facility. As a correctional care nurse, you’ll care for inmates and detainees. Some may have existing medical needs before they’re admitted while others may get injured while in the facility and require your expertise to heal.
As a correctional care nurse, you’ll make prisons safer for inmates and improve the standard of living by providing routine healthcare that many inmates may otherwise not receive.
While you won’t need to earn another degree or certification to follow this career, it’s important to remember that you’ll be treating all inmates, even those that have committed brutal crimes. Working in a correctional facility isn’t for everyone but if you’re willing and able to, it can be very rewarding.
Nursing isn’t for everyone and, unfortunately, you may not realize this until after you’ve earned your degree. Luckily, many career opportunities exist for those who hold a nursing degree so you are not out of luck. Whether you’re hoping to move away from healthcare or you want to switch to a less traditional or stressful work facility, there is almost always another opportunity available.