Will Nurses Take the Lead in National Health Care Improvement?

The pandemic has educated the public about the nursing profession and the state of our health care system by:

  1. Showing the dedicated, skilled, and committed men and women as front-line professional nurses working to make a difference in the life and death of their patients—at times with great personal risk.
  • Exposing the discrepancy in access to health care services between the haves and the have nots.

In response the findings above, The Future of Nursing 2020-2023: Charting the Path to Achieve Health Equity believes that because nurses “work in a wide array of settings and practice at a range of professional levels . . . (t)hey are often the first and most frequent line of contact with people of all backgrounds and experiences seeking care, and they represent the largest of the health care professions . . . that (N)urses can reduce health disparities and promote equity, while keeping costs at bay utilizing technology, and maintaining patient and family-focused care into 2030.” Nurses can achieve this by not only taking a prominent leadership role in the national health care system but at all levels of health services.

            The National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice (NACNEP) with the endorsement of The Future of Nursing Committee developed nine recommendations for accomplishing this goal. You can read about them here.

Listen to this 5-minute audio, The Future of Nursing, which gives an excellent overview of the project.

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The public is often unaware that nurses work in such a wide variety of settings. Nurses’ knowledge and competence in the broad area of health care services and the fact they are the largest group of health care workers, validates their ability to take on leadership roles from the state and federal to community levels. 

Here is a list that Nurse.Org has compiled of some settings outside of hospitals where nurses work:

Top 20 Non-Bedside Nursing Jobs from Nurse.Org

1. Nursing Informaticshttps://nurse.org

The need to analyze and control health care costs has driven a surge in informatics as a nursing specialty. Effective nursing informatics can help to rein in health care costs at hospitals and other medical facilities. Plus, informaticists can also help bedside nurses care for patients more efficiently by improving systems. 

2. Nurse Case Manager

“More and more reimbursement for healthcare delivery is linked to readmission rates,”  said Cheryl Bergman, professor at the school of nursing at Jacksonville (Fla.) University.“ A nurse case manager helps manage the holistic care of patients to decrease readmission thus, keeping patients out of hospitals.”

3. Cruise Ship Nurse

A beyond-the-bedside job search could land you in a position that resembles an ongoing vacation. In normal, non-pandemic times, cruise ships come and go from the nation’s Southern port cities every day. These ships have to bring healthcare providers like cruise ship nurses on board to care for their passengers.

4. Legal Nurse Consultant

“Some law firms hire expert nurses for particular cases (such as surgical nurses if the case involved a surgical claim),” Bergman, of Jacksonville University, says. “The pay per hour is often set by the nurse and could be very lucrative ($300 an hour) for reviewing the legal documents with additional fees if called for deposition.”

5. Nurse Educator

Nurse educators can shape the future of patient care, both at the bedside and throughout the nursing profession.

6. Healthcare Risk Manager

Risk managers work to ensure patient and staff safety, respond to claims of clinical malpractice, focus on patient complaints, and comply with federal and state regulations.

7. Certified Diabetes Educator

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 21 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes while another 8 million have this condition but don’t know it yet. That’s a lot of people who will need help controlling their blood sugar in the next few years.

8. Flight Nurse

Bedside nurses who enjoy critical/emergency care may enjoy the challenges of flight nursing. Flight nurses help transport critical patients via helicopter or airplane. 

9. Forensic Nurse

Forensic nurses help solve crimes and collect evidence. They can also help a coroner determine a cause of death. 

10. Nurse Health Coach

Are you the kind of bedside nurse who enjoys developing one-on-one relationships? Have you ever found yourself, weeks after a discharge, wondering how a patient is getting along? 

11. Nurse Administrator

If you want to get away from direct patient care at the bedside but think you would love the business side of healthcare, nursing administration may be the perfect new career for you.

12. Telehealth Nurse

Telehealth nursing uses mobile phones, tablets, and computers to provide remote healthcare and medical education. 

13. Nurse Writer

Nursing school requires excellent communication and writing dozens, if not hundreds, of papers about healthcare. This is why some nurses may want to turn their skills into a new writing career.

14. Correctional Nurse

Just because some patients are incarcerated doesn’t mean they don’t need medical care, mental health care, or emergency care.

15. School Nurse

If children have always been your favorite patient population or you just need a change of pace from working with adults, then becoming a school nurse may be an excellent fit for you!

16. Public Health Nurse

As opposed to bedside nurses who work one-on-one with patients, public health nurses promote the health of an entire population.

17. Infection Control Nurse

If you like working in the hospital setting and enjoy conducting research, you may want to consider becoming an infection control nurse

18. Nurse Recruiter

Nurse recruiters help healthcare, and medical companies fill staffing gaps. This allows hospitals and health facilities to provide safe and effective patient care and ensure that the business’s operations continue to run smoothly.

19. Medical Device or Pharmaceutical Sales 

If you want to use your clinical expertise to help patients live healthier lives working in the corporate world, medical or pharmaceutical sales might be an excellent opportunity for you!

20. Utilization Review Nurse

Utilization review nurses ensure that patients receive the care they need while also preventing unnecessary or duplicate services. They work with patients, families, and healthcare staff to make sure that everyone is on the same page regarding the care plan. They also work with insurance companies to ensure coverage for the services provided. 

Author: Marianna Crane

After a long career in nursing--I was one of the first certified gerontological nurse practitioners--I am now a writer. My writings center around patients I have had over the years that continue to haunt my memory unless I record their stories. In addition, showing what a nurse practitioner does in her job will educate the public about we nurses really do. So few nurses write about ourselves as compared to physicians. My memoir, "Stories from the Tenth Floor Clinic: A Nurse Practitioner Remembers" is available where ever books are sold

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