15 Nursing Jobs Can Work Instead of Bedside

Gayle Morris, MSN
Updated May 22, 2024
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    Nurses who don't want to work at a patient's bedside have alternatives. If this describes you, consider these 15 possible choices that may meet your needs.
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    Registered nurses (RNs) have capabilities and education that can be applied to various healthcare roles. Skills and competencies that can transfer to other positions include strong communication, critical thinking, and decision-making skills.

    There are several reasons nurses may want to explore jobs away from the bedside, including the job’s physical, mental, and emotional stress. Long hours and mental pressure can contribute to burnout and low levels of job satisfaction. You might also be interested in less direct patient care roles or desire more regular hours. Explore these 15 alternative nursing jobs to get an idea of what might fit your needs.

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    15 Non-Bedside Jobs Worth Exploring

    Alternative nursing jobs offer the opportunity to explore career possibilities where you can utilize your skills and learn new ones. The following includes a summary of roles, responsibilities, and requirements needed to fulfill job specifications.

    Nurse Health Coach

    A nurse coach is an RN who focuses on holistic patient care and emphasizes wellness and lifestyle management. Nurse coaches help people achieve their health goals by developing customized plans and providing education on disease management and prevention while integrating complementary therapies.

    To become a nurse coach, you must be a licensed RN with clinical experience before getting board-certified by the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation, which requires specialized training. Nurse coaches can work in private practices, hospitals, and wellness centers.

    • Average Salary:$62,960
    • Salary Range: $39,600-$107,900

    Academic Nurse Writer

    Academic nurse writers specialize in creating scholarly articles, research papers, and educational materials focused on nursing and healthcare. They can pursue job opportunities in various healthcare-related industries, including insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Their responsibilities include researching topics, ensuring accuracy, and collaborating with healthcare professionals to stay current with nursing practice and innovation.

    Academic nurse writers typically hold an advanced nursing degree, either a master of science in nursing or a doctorate of nursing practice (DNP). They must also possess strong writing and analytical skills to complement clinical experience.

    • Average Salary:$80,400
    • Salary Range: $29,500-$120,500

    Legal Nurse Consultant

    Legal nurse consultants bridge the gap between medicine and the judicial system. They provide expertise on healthcare matters within a legal context. The responsibilities include reviewing medical records, interpreting and translating medical jargon for legal teams, and preparing reports on clinical and administrative healthcare issues. A legal nurse consultant often testifies as an expert witness in trials to explain clinical information and provide an informed opinion.

    Legal nurse consultant candidates must be an RN with substantial clinical experience. Certification through the American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board enhances credibility. Legal nurse consultants typically work with law firms, insurance companies, and government agencies.

    • Average Salary:$88,100
    • Salary Range: $66,000-$132,000

    Hospice Nurse

    Hospice nurses provide compassionate care to terminally ill patients. They focus on enhancing comfort and quality of life during a patient’s final days. The responsibilities of a hospice nurse include pain management, administering medications, and providing emotional support to patients and their families. They coordinate care with physicians to implement end-of-life care plans.

    To become a hospice nurse, you must first be an RN with a valid license and have supervised clinical experience in hospice care. Certification from the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association demonstrates specialized knowledge and skills to employers, including in-home patient care, hospice centers, and hospitals.

    • Average Salary:$73,300
    • Salary Range: $61,000-$88,000

    Public Health Nurse

    Public health nurses focus on improving community health by implementing educational strategies, preventive care, and wellness programs. Their responsibilities include conducting health assessments, developing and executing disease prevention strategies, vaccine administration and education, disease surveillance, and collaborating with community organizations to address public health issues.

    Public health nurses need at least a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and RN licensure with experience in clinical and community settings. Having an additional certification can be an advantage. Public health nurses work in schools, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. Those with advanced degrees play a crucial role in shaping health policies and promoting community well-being.

    • Average Salary:$72,100
    • Salary Range: $52,000-$101,000

    Occupational Nurse

    Occupational nurses specialize in promoting health and safety within the workplace. They focus on injury prevention, employee health, and regulatory compliance. Their responsibilities include conducting health assessments, developing disease prevention programs, and implementing health and safety protocols. Occupational nurses also provide emergency care and facilitate health education sessions.

    Occupational nurses must be an RN with a valid license and experience in a related field. Additional certification by the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses enhances your qualifications with employers. Occupational nurses are employed across various industries to ensure a healthy workplace environment.

    • Average Salary:$72,100
    • Salary Range: $52,000-$101,000

    Nurse Case Manager

    Nurse case managers coordinate all aspects of patient care. They help optimize outcomes by ensuring patients receive timely and effective healthcare services. Their responsibilities include assessing, planning, and implementing care strategies, coordinating with healthcare providers, and facilitating communication across healthcare teams.

    To work as a nurse case manager, you must be an RN with a valid license and comprehensive experience in a clinical setting that provides a multidisciplinary care model. The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers a nursing case management certification that enhances employment. Nurse case managers typically work within hospital settings, but may also work with insurance companies and outpatient clinics. They play a pivotal role in integrating and improving patient care.

    • Average Salary:$79,000
    • Salary Range: $63,000-$98,000

    Dialysis Nurse

    A dialysis nurse specializes in caring for patients in kidney failure. They provide dialysis treatment to remove waste and excess fluid from the blood. The responsibilities include monitoring patient reactions to dialysis, managing the equipment, administering the medications, and providing patient education.

    Dialysis nurses must be RNs with a valid license and experience in nephrology, intensive care, or medical-surgical nursing. Specialized training is typically provided on the job. Certification from the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission recognizes your expertise and advanced knowledge and can enhance your career prospects. Dialysis nurses typically work in hospitals, dialysis centers, or outpatient clinics.

    • Average Salary:$81,200
    • Salary Range: $60,000-$107,000

    Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

    A nurse pharmaceutical representative has the advantage of combining nursing experience with sales skills to promote medications and healthcare products within the healthcare industry. Their responsibilities include educating healthcare professionals on drug benefits, side effects, and proper usage. They facilitate communication between pharmaceutical companies and medical staff, utilizing strong communication skills.

    To become a nurse pharmaceutical representative, you must be an RN with a valid license and strong clinical experience. You must also have a deep understanding of pharmacology. Receiving additional training in business or marketing can be beneficial.

    • Average Salary:$94,800
    • Salary Range: $59,000-$133,000

    Nurse Educator

    Nurse educators play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the nursing profession by mentoring and instructing nursing students in academic and clinical settings. Responsibilities include developing curricula, teaching, evaluating educational outcomes, and providing clinical instruction and supervision.

    A nurse educator must hold at least a master of science in nursing (MSN), but a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) is preferred for many positions. Comprehensive clinical experience is essential and certification as a certified nurse educator (CNE) validates your expertise and expands your career opportunities. Nurse educators work at colleges, universities, and healthcare facilities to bridge the gap between practice and education.

    • Average Salary:$84,000
    • Salary Range: $63,000-$113,000

    Nursing Informatics Specialist

    A nursing informatics specialist integrates nursing science with information management and analytical sciences. This helps improve information processing in healthcare. Responsibilities of a nursing informatics specialist can include designing and implementing electronic health record systems, training staff on new technology, analyzing clinical data, and ensuring compliance with healthcare regulations regarding healthcare data.

    To become a nursing informatics specialist, you must have a BSN and a valid RN license. Most employers prefer an MSN and American Nurses Credentialing Center Informatics Nursing certification. Informatics specialists work in hospitals, healthcare systems, and consulting roles to optimize healthcare delivery using technology.

    • Average Salary:$83,100
    • Salary Range: $62,000-$113,000

    Certified Diabetes Educator

    A certified diabetes educator (CDE) specializes in teaching and supporting patients with diabetes to manage their condition. They are responsible for assessing patient needs, developing a customized management plan, and educating patients on nutrition, exercise, and medication management.

    Candidates for certified diabetes educator jobs must be a healthcare professional with a significant amount of professional practice experience in diabetes care. Passing the Certification Board for Diabetes Care and Education (CBDCE) examination is required. Certified diabetes educators can work at hospitals, private practices, and community health organizations.

    • Average Salary:$74,500
    • Salary Range: $57,000-$93,000

    Telehealth Nurse

    Telehealth nurses provide healthcare services remotely using telecommunications technology. They virtually conduct patient assessments, monitor health statuses using digital tools, provide health education, and manage chronic conditions. Telehealth nurses also provide support and counseling using video or phone consultations.

    To become a telehealth nurse, you must be an RN with a valid license and be proficient in medical software and telecommunication systems. You need clinical experience in primary care, emergency nursing, or chronic disease management. Telehealth nurses work in healthcare environments, including hospitals, clinics, and telehealth companies to facilitate accessible and effective patient care.

    • Average Salary:$82,800
    • Salary Range: $65,000-$96,000

    Flight Nurse

    Flight nurses provide critical care aboard helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft while transporting patients. Their responsibilities include rapid assessment, administering emergency care, and using advanced life support equipment under high-stress conditions.

    To work as a flight nurse, you must be an RN with a valid license and several years of experience in critical care or emergency nursing. You must hold additional certifications in advanced cardiac life support, pediatric advanced life support, and trauma nursing core courses. Many flight nurses also obtain certified flight registered nurse certification. Flight nurses work for hospitals, the military, and independent medical evacuation firms to provide vital care in flight.

    • Average Salary:$83,800
    • Salary Range: $48,000-$109,000

    Nurse Administrator

    Nurse administrators hold a key leadership role within healthcare settings. They oversee nursing staff and integrate nursing operations with the facility management. Their responsibilities include strategic planning, budgeting, staff management, policy formulation, and ensuring compliance with healthcare regulations.

    To become a nurse administrator, you typically must hold a master’s in nursing administration and have leadership experience in nursing or healthcare management. Nurse executive certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center enhances your job opportunities. Nurse administrators work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities to improve service delivery and patient care outcomes.

    • Average Salary:$96,400
    • Salary Range: $65,000-$144,000

    Alternative Nursing Jobs Frequently Asked Questions

    Many alternative nursing jobs can satisfy your desire to leave the bedside, including a legal nurse consultant, academic nurse writer, telehealth nurse, and certified diabetes educator. These positions utilize your skill set while providing job options with fewer physical demands and better working hours.

    Page last reviewed on April 29, 2024

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