Every nurse reaches a point in their career where they question their purpose and reasons for being there. There are many ways to overcome this nursing burnout. Unfortunately, many endure such demanding experiences that they leave nursing completely in search for fulfillment in another field that may not be as demanding. Luckily, the majority of burned out nurses understand the value of their medical expertise and the importance of their contribution to society. These nurses choose to find another job or specialty where their nursing expertise may be found valuable. If you are one of these nurses, this article will help by offering a few non-clinical career options where you may put your medical expertise to work.
Legal Nurse Consulting: Legal Nurse Consulting is a popular option amongst burned out nurses because they have the option to find a job or start their own independent practice. As a Legal Nurse you can work with law firms, insurance companies, and managed care organizations to review and interpret medical records in legal cases. This work can be very rewarding when you help people who have been injured receive the compensation they deserve. Certification is recommended to begin practicing as a Legal Nurse so you can become oriented to the legal system and understand how to utilize your medical expertise in this new field. Several organizations and universities offer certification and certificate options. When researching certification organizations, be sure to compare the success rate of their graduates. The success of their graduates is a direct indication of the quality of the training. A Legal Nurse's salary and income will vary. A Legal Nurse who finds a job can expect to earn $20-$60 per hour. An independently practicing Legal Nurse can expect to earn $125-$300 per hour.
Pharmaceutical/Medical Devices: Pharmaceutical and medical device companies are always looking for individuals with medical expertise. With your nursing expertise, you can do jobs like pharmaceutical/device sales, clinical research, laboratory, records analyst, patient education, product safety, adverse event reporting, and more. Many of these jobs are limited to specific cities where each organization may be located.
Case Manager: Many organizations employ Case Managers to help families with their specific health needs. They advise people who are in difficult medical situations and help them find the services they need to fulfill their medical needs. They can create treatment or recovery plans and continue to assist patients throughout their treatment. Case Managers can work in health care, workers' compensation, behavioral health, insurance, and managed care organizations. Like Legal Nurse Consulting, this field can be very rewarding because it is helping people in their greatest time of need.
Life Care Planner: A Life Care Planner utilizes their medical expertise to help patients who have suffered catastrophic injuries and illnesses. They can determine the future needs and costs of care for the patient over their lifetime. Life Care Planners can create comprehensive analyses which can be useful for disability management and in lawsuits where the patient has been injured or damaged. Life Care Planning requires some extensive training in addition to your medical expertise.
Nursing Informatics: The job of Nursing Informatics is relatively new since the transition to paperless medical records. With these new records management systems, comes the need for people to ensure that they are implemented and managed properly. The responsibility of an informatics nurse is to keep information technology systems as up-to-date as possible, and to ensure that all information is accessible to medical professionals and patients. They can also train and educate the staff on how to use new systems and technology. This field may be a good fit for nurses with an interest or inclination in technology.
Insurance: Whether it's health, medical, life, or auto insurance, the insurance industry always has a need for your medical expertise. The most common role for nurses in the insurance industry is in claims. Many claims that an insurance company may face include medical records that require analysis and scrutiny to determine if the claim is legitimate. Insurance companies also use nurses in Utilization Review where they help prevent unnecessary and inappropriate medical care.
Healthcare Recruiting: Healthcare Recruiting has been an important field for a very long time. Now that the healthcare industry is going through a bit of a nursing shortage, Healthcare Recruiting has become even more necessary. In this field, you will work closely with healthcare professionals and hospitals to assess their needs and applicable skills. Your expertise can help place healthcare professionals in job positions that benefit most from their expertise. There are many small and large organizations that hire recruiters. With the right connections and drive, you can even start your own recruiting company.
Teaching: Teaching becomes a good option anytime someone reaches the level of expertise such as that of a Registered Nurse. The nursing education you received probably came from a nurse who was ready for something new in their career and decided to share their expertise with other aspiring nurses. The medical expertise you have gained is very valuable because it is most likely a combination of the education you received and the experience you gained on the job. One reason for the recent nursing shortage is that so many seasoned nurses are retiring and not enough new nurses are entering the field. You can make a great contribution to the nursing field by passing on your expertise to the next generation of nurses.
Administration: As a Nurse Administrator, you can seek managerial positions for specific departments in hospitals and other organizations. Your role would be to ensure that your department runs smoothly and offers the best possible care. Nurse Administrators allocate proper resources and regularly assess their nursing staff for quality assurance. If you have great managerial skills to go with your medical expertise, Administration may be a good direction for your career.
Risk Manager: Healthcare facilities hire Risk Managers to advise on any potential risks to the profitability or welfare of the organization. They can work to ensure patient and staff safety, address patient complaints, manage malpractice claims, and ensure that the facility meets all regulations. Risk Management is an essential role for every medical facility.
Patient Educator: Patient Educators develop and implement educational programs for groups or individuals. They educate and inform patients about treatments and lifestyle. Some common areas of patient education include Diabetes, Nutrition, Pre and Post Surgery, Disease Prevention, and Home Health Care. Many nurses take on this role in conjunction with other positions in a facility.
Medical Writer: If you have the ability to write critically, with proper grammar, and with proper spelling, medical writing may be a good way to utilize your medical expertise. A medical writer works with other experts to create documents that effectively and clearly describe medical information such as product use and research results. Pharmaceutical and medical device companies employ Medical Writers to ensure that their products are documented and explained properly.
If you are interested in any of these career options, the first thing you need to do is determine if any additional training or certification is required. While training or certification may not be required, it is usually recommended if you are serious about transitioning into a specific specialty. Once you have met all the requirements of your desired field, begin searching online for job openings and opportunities. If you are interested in working independently or starting your own practice in a particular specialty like Legal Nurse Consulting, Healthcare Recruiting, or Life Care Planning, additional training is vital to making the transition from staff member mentality to business owner mentality. Subsequently, if you are interested in several of these career options at the same time, such as Case Manager, Risk Manager, Medical Writer, Insurance, Pharmaceuticals or Medical Devices, earning your Legal Nurse Consultant certification will provide you with an excellent foundation for when you want to make the transition.
Even though many facilities forget that nurses are human, burnout is common in the nursing community. If you are ready to try something different, don't forget the value of your medical expertise and be sure to use it to your advantage.