You’ve spent years working as a registered nurse, and you wouldn’t trade it for anything. After all, being there to provide patient care and support in some of their most challenging moments has sparked a smile and made your nursing career more fruitful than you ever imagined. Although patient care is fulfilling, there comes a time in life where you’re ready for a change of pace.
Before you consider leaving nursing, the good news is that there’s a boatload of nonclinical nursing jobs that pave the way for you to make a difference in patients’ lives without interacting with them directly. It sounds like a dream come true, right?
In this guide, we’ll explore how you can leverage your years of direct patient care as a clinical nurse specialist in a nonclinical nursing job that matches your interests and skills, allowing you to bring positive change to the healthcare industry.
The difference between a clinical and nonclinical nursing job is relatively simple. Working in a hospital or clinic isn’t a no-brainer that your role is clinical. A clinical role usually entails one-on-one contact with patients for ongoing care, diagnosis, and treatment.
Some healthcare professionals work behind the scenes, for instance, a laboratory professional whose work supports treatment and diagnosis. Clinical roles usually require licensing or certification. Below are some examples of clinical jobs whereby healthcare professionals provide direct patient care.
Although a doctor usually treats patients, it may become less prominent depending on their administrative responsibilities, as seen with department chiefs.
As a physician who specializes in hospitalized patient care, the practice of a hospitalist isn’t in an office. Hospitalists are well-versed in the unique needs of hospitalized patients and board-certified in internal medicine.
Physician Assistants (PAs) deliver a plethora of healthcare services conventionally performed by physicians. They range from diagnosis and treatment, patient education, medical orders and prescriptions, physical examination, surgical assisting, and ordering tests to preventive health care.
A nurse practitioner (NP) refers to a registered nurse (RN) who has a nursing degree (a master’s) under their belt coupled with advanced practice certification. NPs deliver the same level of patient care as primary care physicians and can serve as a patient’s regular healthcare provider.
RNs manage patient care, assume primary responsibility for their patients, and delegate the type of care that other caregivers provide.
LPNs aid in the implementation and coordination of the plan of patient care as directed by the RNs. A licensed practical nurse is certified to administer certain medication, perform various treatment procedures, and take vital signs.
CRNAs are advanced practice nurses with specialized training and education in anesthesia. A nurse anesthetist works closely with an anesthesiologist to provide anesthetic care to patients.
A PCT assists with the care of patients under the delegation of the RN by collecting blood samples for testing, taking vital signs, and inserting urinary catheters. Additionally, PCTs deliver personal care to patients.
CSAs are certified professionals who work with surgeons in many surgical procedures ranging from general surgery and orthopedic to vascular.
CNAs deliver quality-of-life care to patients in clinics and nursing care facilities under an LPN or RN delegation.
They include medical laboratory technicians, speech-language pathologists, pharmacists, medical assistants, diagnostic medical sonographers, medical technologists, occupational therapists, radiographers, physical therapists, dietitians, and respiratory therapists.
Flight nurses are nursing professionals trained to deliver care to patients while they’re transported to a medical facility. It may include rescue flights or life flights, either in fixed-wing planes or helicopters.
A flight nurse and other medical personnel onboard must be trained to perform emergency medical care. Additionally, they must be able to think and act quickly and work in a high-stress healthcare environment.
Nonclinical jobs are those that involve a nonclinical nurse interacting with patients without providing any type of medical testing or treatment. A nonclinical role includes hospital executives, medical billers and coders, receptionists, transcriptionists, and people working behind the scenes, such as administrative assistants, biomedical technicians, human resources managers, and IT professionals.
Other examples of a nonclinical nursing job are medical device sales, biomedical engineering, a pharmaceutical representative, a medical recruiter, and a medical transcriptionist.
If you think your queasy stomach makes you a poor candidate for a nursing career, think again! You don’t need to be cleaning out a drain tube and drawing blood to get in on this lucrative opportunity.
Let’s explore a few reasons to become a nonclinical nurse.
You may not realize that it’s okay to be a nurse and be unable to tolerate the sight of blood. As long as you have a passion for providing for others, the world is your oyster! Due to the increasing demand in the healthcare industry, largely courtesy of the baby boomer generation, there’s a need for more nursing jobs. However, not all nurses end up working in a hospital.
Some nonclinical nursing jobs can include patient advocacy that entails representing a patient and assisting them in understanding treatment and diagnosis, navigating through insurance processes, as outlined by the Professional Patient Advocate Institute. Alternatively, you can spend your days in the classroom as a nurse educator, an opportunity that allows you to pass your passion for helping others onto future generations of nurses.
Alternatively, you can use your nursing knowledge to become a legal nurse consultant, allowing you to give insight into medical-related cases. Another example of a nonclinical role is working as a public health nurse, whereby you assist entire communities through promoting and educating people on adopting healthy lifestyles. Your unwillingness to get your hands dirty in your nursing career doesn’t mean the healthcare field isn’t right up your alley.
For instance, an organized individual with a nursing degree, for instance, an msn degree, makes for an incredible medical writer. As a medical writer, you can research and write anything from study findings and advertising copy to journal abstracts. The possibilities are endless! Potential employers for medical writers include educational institutions, government agencies, and pharmaceutical companies.
Granted, all the preparation and research required in medical writers call for topnotch organizational skills, which people who are juggling raising a family and having a career already possess. Aside from familiarity with the organization and medical processes, a medical writer must also be detail-oriented.
An organized individual with a nursing degree may find nursing informatics a great fit. It’s a nonclinical role; it is the perfect combination of computer science and health science to organize and coordinate medical data.
Although an informatics nurse works in a hospital, they don’t administer direct patient care such as drawing blood and other gory procedures. Instead, they train nurses to use data systems for utmost efficiency.
Perhaps you’re concerned about the odd, long hours that come with being a clinical nurse, or you’re fed up with working during the holidays, night shifts, and weekends. You may gravitate towards working individually at your preferred pace.
Some nonclinical jobs allow you to set your hours and work independently. For instance, telephonic case management involves working with insurance agencies on medical-based cases, right from the comfort of your home. The flexibility of this nonclinical role may particularly appeal to you if you’re juggling work with raising a family.
Becoming a nonclinical nurse is the ideal compromise for an introverted individual. After all, a hospital environment can be overwhelming and requires constant interaction with other patients, doctors, and nurses. With a plethora of healthcare professionals caring for patients in clinical environments, communication is crucial in ensuring things run smoothly.
The job of a clinical nurse can also be emotionally and mentally draining when faced with high-stress situations or difficult diagnoses. Given that the job of a traditional nurse is demanding, opting to become a nonclinical nurse may make for a more low-key and happier option if you’re shy. Becoming an informatics nurse or medical writer are two great options for a less stressful and more independent working environment.
Pursing a nonclinical job is an excellent idea if you have ambition. You can channel your nursing background and inspiration to become a pharmaceutical sales representative. The perfect blend of patience, tenacious work ethic, and organizational skills is regarded as desirable for this nonclinical role. The field offers an amazing opportunity for salary potential and growth, allowing you to take home earnings that will spark a smile.
A nurse who has completed the required training and no longer wants to pursue a clinical nursing career will find these nonclinical nursing specialties desirable.
With an average salary of $16.55 per hour, medical billers collect payments for insurance companies and patients. They also draft medical bills and send them to patients’ homes or use health codes to bill insurance companies for services received.
Other duties of a medical biller might include keeping detailed records of accounts receivable and payable. A nurse can use their background in medical services to efficiently and accurately submit codes for payment.
Earning an average of $71,613 annually, a health writer uses in-depth medical knowledge to churn out health-related publications and articles. They may work for a medical facility or health magazine drafting medical newsletters and articles for patients or informative pamphlets about certain ailments that medical providers use to educate patients.
The advanced medical knowledge and skills that a nurse develops in a BSN or MSN degree program can aid them in creating health-based content that is useful, accurate, and insightful to patients.
A nutritionist earns $45,675 per year on average to consult and advise patients on boosting their health through nutrition. They may assist patients in attaining specific health goals or elevating their overall health. Some nutritionists work in medical facilities to help patients with underlying conditions adopt healthy eating habits.
A nurse may require additional training in nutrition to qualify as a nutritionist. However, their background in medical care will give them clarity on how nutrition can affect health.
Taking home an average of $70,347 per year, a health service administrator manages health facilities. They might work in a medical office or hospital by elevating patient experience, managing the office’s day-to-day operations, hiring employees, and managing budgets. A nurse administrator works in a healthcare job that is closely similar to office managers.
However, the only difference is that they have a nursing degree which is ideal for any nursing professional. A health service administrator also uses their wide knowledge of the medical field to make suggestions on how a business can better its processes or policies.
Earning an average of $64,023 annually, a nurse researcher uses their background in medicine to increase their knowledge in the field, including how the human body interacts with various medications. Research is required to gain insight into elevating treatment and diagnostic procedures and human health. Nurses may work particularly for the nursing sector, conducting research to test, improve, and study the medical field.
Earning an average of $71,817 per year, medical sales executives collaborate with medical supply and product companies. They educate physician assistants and other nursing staff on how to use a wealth of medical items.
Typically, a medical sales executive will meet with other healthcare professionals to answer inquiries about a product and offer samples to boost sales. Due to the education and experience that nursing staff brings to the position, they also offer training on particular medical products.
Earning an hourly wage of $49.08, the primary duties of this nonclinical role involves working in a legal capacity, providing expert consultation and advice to legal teams working on cases that involve medical details. A legal nurse consultant may assist the legal team in evaluating medical charts, defining a lot of medical terms, and usually acting as a valuable witness on medical malpractice cases.
Additionally, they may work for a hospital, medical facility, or nursing home, providing recommendations and consultation on individual treatment plans. Experienced nurse consultants may also be tasked with the assessment of the current qualifications of nursing staff.
Earning an average of $77,429 annually, the primary responsibilities of a clinical nurse educator entail administering tests, overseeing residencies and internships, facilitating lessons, and acting as a professional mentor to nursing students in academic settings. Additionally, they can work in medical facilities, providing ongoing development and training opportunities to the current nursing staff.
Earning an average of $20.58 per hour, these professionals work one-on-one with clients, helping them adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles, curb potential medical conditions, and accomplish wellness goals.
By working in insurance companies, social service agencies, and healthcare facilities, a nurse health coach can formulate diet plans, establish safe exercise routines, and motivate and monitor their clients. Based on the type of employer, a nonclinical nurse can penetrate this field with an associate degree. However, the highest-paying positions require a BSN or MSN in nursing coupled with a certificate in nutrition.
According to the International Association of Forensic Nurses, a forensic nurse earns an average annual salary of $73,698 and provides specialized patient care for those suffering from long-term and chronic health issues associated with violence or victimization. As one of the nonclinical nursing specialties, forensic nurses connect the criminal justice system to bedside care. They provide clinical, therapeutic environments for victims of violence.
A forensic nurse practices in various environments such as crisis centers, outpatient hospitals, correctional facilities, acute care centers, and community clinics. Most forensic nurses kick off their careers with a mandatory 40-hour Sexual Assault Nursing Examination (SANE) training course and 40 hours of clinical experience.
The nonclinical skills of this alternative nursing career entail conducting health assessments on cardiac patients, performing stress-test evaluations, administering medication, monitoring electrocardiogram readings, vascular and cardiac monitoring, and post-operative care after pacemaker implants and other heart surgeries, removing and inserting IV drips.
A cardiac nurse earns an average hourly wage of $29.66 and works alongside surgeons and cardiologists to provide cardiac care. Keep in mind the pay fluctuates based on the experience level of a registered nurse, location, and place of employment.
In the nursing workforce, CHWs serve as liaisons between the healthcare administration programs and the social service systems, government systems, and the community. A community health worker is at the front line providing support, education, and advocacy to civilians to help them improve their lifestyle and connect them to the healthcare alternatives best suited for them. According to the BLS, they discuss health concerns with certain demographics and collect data.
With the advent of technology, you can find nonclinical nursing jobs on reputable online resources such as Indeed. To tell if a nonclinical nursing career is right for you, consider the following aspects that will help you narrow down your search.
Having flexibility, job satisfaction, and attractive compensation into one would be a dream come true, right? However, you need to decide on the one that’s most important to you. For instance, if you opt for the type of flexibility that allows you to work from home, you might have to compromise on a higher income.
On the other hand, if you cannot compromise on job satisfaction, you might have to sacrifice flexibility. It’s important to dig into your driving force and rate the most important elements to you.
With the cap on particular nursing income levels, it’s important to think about your desired income level as you journey into nonclinical jobs. For instance, nurse reviewers, quality control, study nurses, educators, and school nurses usually earn less than $100,000 per year. Although there isn’t much room for earning more than that, you can make a career leap from this position into higher-paying jobs such as Quality Control Directors.
If your goal is to take home more than $150,000 annually, you might have to start giving up some flexibility as the competition for nonclinical jobs becomes a challenge, and you need more strategy. An executive nurse position such as Chief Nursing Executive (CNE) or Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) can expect an average salary of at least $175,000. Nonetheless, a nurse executive typically works long days and is responsible for the seamless functioning of their service line.
The bandwidths range from $60,000 to $90,000, $90,000 to $110,000, $120,000 to $150,000 and less than $150,000. These salaries are estimates which means they might be lower or higher based on an array of variables. You might need to begin at lower pay than you want to get the skill sets that you require for the job of your dreams.
Keep your eyes on the prize and stay the course. Furthermore, consider the lifestyle you want. Although jobs such as a nurse director, nurse executive, and nurse manager are lucrative, no time of the day or night is out of bounds.
There’s no end to the role that a nurse can play in the corporate world, whether it’s startups that value nursing expertise, retain clinics, publishing companies, sales organizations, or insurance companies. A nurse can help these corporate institutions navigate the healthcare system and connect with healthcare providers, other nurses, and professional organizations.
Finding a corporation whose values coincide with yours is equally essential. To find corporate jobs, head onto the mega job search engines and key in ‘corporate nurse.’ While they usually pay handsomely and receive bonuses, you also have to make ends meet, a failure which you might see your job slash at quarterly meetings if the budgets are misaligned.
It’s a surprisingly difficult task that a plethora of people avoid. However, your nonclinical nursing dream job can only become a reality if you know what you want. If you’re foundering in your nursing career with no clear path, it’s a no-brainer that things won’t change for the better.
Reflecting on everything you’ve done that has contributed to nursing will give you clarity and help you find a nonclinical nursing job that’s an ideal fit for you.
You can change your nursing career and progress towards a nonclinical nursing job that still gives you immense satisfaction in using your nursing background by earning a BSN or MSN degree. Nursing jobs that don’t entail bedside care, such as a public health nurse or a school nurse, make up a large portion of the medical field.
Additionally, it’s easy to switch from a clinical to a nonclinical job, given that most roles require years of experience in a healthcare setting. There’s a multitude of nursing careers without patient contact altogether, which are mostly available to experienced MSN and BSN nurses. It includes roles in education institutions, government organizations, legal firms, and insurance companies.
It’s worth noting that leadership roles and advanced positions typically expect nurses to have some years of clinical experience under their belt before applying for an office job. As such, these roles are best suited for a BSN career change as opposed to graduate jobs.
After earning your MSN or BSN, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to the available nursing careers. Compared to a nurse who hasn’t pursued a graduate or undergraduate program, you can take on more responsibility (as outlined below) due to the advanced training you’ve received.
Let’s delve into some of the places to search for alternative non-bedside nursing jobs.
If your goal is to test new medicines, work closely with patients, scientists, and physicians, and test new medicines, then working in a research laboratory is right up your alley.
You can also work in clinics and hospitals in a managerial and administrative position.
You can work as a sales representative or patient educator.
A registered nurse can work in a nonclinical position, such as an administrative role with limited patient care responsibilities.
You can work as a nurse educator in these settings or a school nurse.
These are great options if you’re looking to assist in legal malpractice-based claims, employee compensation, accidents, and specialize in medical laws.
A registered nurse can delve into occupational nursing in these settings.