If you’re tired of working in the same hospital day after day, you might be interested in taking your career in a new direction. Everyone needs healthcare, and nurses all over the country are starting to put their knowledge and expertise to good use outside of the traditional hospital environment. Some nurses may prefer the thrill of flying in a helicopter as they rush patients to the closest medical facility, while others may want to spend more time treating kids and teenagers. There are so many different nursing jobs out there to choose from. It’s all about exploring new opportunities and finding the right fit for your unique lifestyle. Take a look at some of the most unusual nursing jobs around the country.
Life Care Planner
Attending to dozens of patients per shift can be draining after a while. If you prefer the idea of sticking with one patient over a long period of time, you might be interested in becoming a life care planner. Patients with terminal illnesses need to plan out their care for the rest of their life, sometimes using one nurse until the end of their days. This is an opportunity to make a lasting difference in a person’s life as they cope with their health. You can forge a life-long bond with the patient and their loved ones as you help them navigate the maze of care providers, prescriptions, and insurance claims.
To get started, you’ll need to either work for a life care planning service or start your own business. If you have a knack for sorting through insurance claims and paperwork, this might be a job for you. Start positioning yourself as a leader in life care planning at your facility and slowly build up a roster of patients in your community.
If you love being around kids and teenagers, why not sign up to be a camp nurse? As kids learn how to play sports, go swimming, do archery, and make arts and crafts, you’ll be on hand to offer any medical assistance if one of the campers isn’t feeling well. You should have a penchant for working with and talking to kids. You’ll also get to spend your days at the camp facility, which could be a gym, secluded forest, or near a gorgeous lake. Some camp nursing jobs will only last for the summer, so you may need to find other employment options to supplement your income.
Reach out to local youth camps in your area and see if anyone is looking to hire a new camp nurse. Camps will usually only hire one RN, so finding new opportunities may prove difficult. You’ll need to spend some time getting to know the organizers of the camp and familiarizing yourself with the camp’s curriculum.
Medical Script Consultant
You can’t turn on the TV these days without seeing at least one nurse on the screen. Nursing shows are everywhere, from broadcast TV to new shows on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. But in order to film all those hospital scenes, producers will hire medical script consultants to make sure everything that’s depicted on the screen is accurate. You’ll find yourself going through pages of a TV or movie script looking for inconsistencies and gaps in logic. As shooting gets underway, some cast and crew members will consult with you in terms of how the actors should respond to a medical emergency in real-time.
This might be one of the most difficult fields to break into. Hollywood is all about the people you know. You’ll need to start making some connections with people that are in the industry. Moving to a major production hub like New York, LA, Atlanta, or Toronto might help as well. You should also have a deep understanding of a wide variety of medical procedures and practices.
Instead of treating patients, you’ll help patients plan out their care and make sense of the current healthcare landscape as a care navigator. You’ll help patients find services and treatment centers they can afford based on their existing medical coverage. You may also do some research on the latest treatment options, especially if one of your patients has a rare or terminal disease. Experience with paperwork and dealing with insurance companies will certainly come in handy.
Nurse and care navigators tend to work for themselves, so you’ll need to look into opening your own business and finding clients in the local community. Having a master’s degree in nursing will also help your cause.
Academic Nurse Writer
Just like a doctor or scientist publishing a new research paper on a new form of treatment, academic nurse writers spend years researching and exploring areas of interest in the field of nursing. You may work for or partner with local universities and non-profit research institutions as you conduct your work. You’ll need to have a penchant for writing and digesting large chunks of information. You’ll also need to apply for grants as you try to get funding for your projects and publish them in academic journals.
You should have a strong academic writing portfolio at your disposal before you try to make it as an academic nurse writer. Going back to school for a master’s or a doctorate in nursing gives you the chance to form lasting ties with a university.
Legal Nurse Consultant
Lawyers are always looking to consult with and interview nurses as they represent their clients in the courtroom. These lawyers will need your medical expertise as they prepare their arguments. Some duties might include commenting on and researching a client’s injuries, talking the lawyers through advanced medical procedures, or discussing basic anatomy.
You’ll need to reach out to local law firms that deal with cases involving physical injuries. Going back to school for a master’s degree will also add to your expertise in these matters. You may also want to read up on the law, so you have a better idea of what these firms are looking for.
Hyperbaric chambers have three times the air pressure than the air we traditionally breathe. Patients are put into these chambers, allowing nurses and doctors to study how their body reacts. They’re often used to treat divers experiencing compression sickness, patients with a chronic disease, or those that were exposed to an unusual environment. As a hyperbaric nurse, you’ll be responsible for assisting doctors and overseeing the procedure.
Reading up on hyperbaric chambers and the conditions they treat is a great start. These treatment centers can be hard to find, but once you found a local clinic that offers these services, start shaking hands and demonstrating your expertise.
With baby boomers retiring, there are a lot of elderly and chronically-ill patients that will need hospice care in the coming years. Typically, you’ll deliver care to these patients in their own home, helping them with medications, keeping an eye on their health and assisting with routine tasks like washing, eating, and dressing.
Hospice care is on the rise, so you should be able to find some care providers in your area that offer this service. Reach out to them and look for new job openings on a regular basis.
Occupational nurses use their skills to educate workers and their employers on safe practices in the workplace. If a worker gets injured on the job, the company may retain you as an occupational nurse as you treat the worker and get them back on the job as soon as possible. Field with high-risk jobs such as construction, engineering, and manufacturing tend to depend on occupational nurses the most.
Read up on occupational nursing and the kinds of jobs and companies that would be most interested in your services. The more you know about the job or industry you’ll be working for, the better off you’ll be in your new career.
National and State Park Nurse
If someone takes a nasty fall climbing a mountain in Yellowstone National Park, they’re going to need a nurse on-hand to help transport the patient to safety. As a national or state park nurse, you’ll get to spend your days working at the offices of the park, ready to respond to medical emergencies as they arise. You may also spend time educating groups and tourists on how to be safe in the park.
Reach out to local state and national parks to see if they have their own onsite nurse. You’ll need to study up on the kinds of injuries and accidents that tend to happen in these places. Some nurses may cling to these jobs for decades, so it might take years for you to break into the field.
Utilization Review Nurse
If you’d rather take on a more administrative role in a hospital, you can always become a utilization review nurse. They’re responsible for auditing medical services throughout the facility to make sure the hospital’s resources are being used responsibly. You’ll need to look out for instances of malpractice, misappropriation of resources, and other instances of wasteful spending.
A master’s degree in nursing is usually required. Talk to some of your colleagues and supervisors on the floor about your interest in becoming a utilization review nurse.
Amusement Park Nurse
Accidents happen – even at Disneyland. Some large theme or amusement parks will keep nurses onsite in case anything goes wrong. There’s bound to be plenty of children around, so you should feel comfortable treating and working with families.
Read up on the kinds of injuries and accidents that happen at amusement parks. Make valuable connections with the managers and owners of these kinds of attractions. You might have to move to sunny California or Florida if there are no major theme parks in your area.
Travel nurses are always – you guessed it – traveling. With a nationwide nursing shortage, these nurses will move all over the country, assisting understaffed hospitals until they hire a permanent replacement. You may only be in town for a few weeks or months, so you should feel comfortable living out of a temporary apartment or hotel room. You’ll get to see the country and make all kinds of new friends, but this can be a tough job if you’re prone to loneliness and homesickness.
Look for travel nursing opportunities all over the country. You might need to go to work for a major healthcare company with hospitals all over the country or a travel nursing agency. Having a master’s degree will help your chances.
As a forensic nurse, you’ll consult with law enforcement officials as they investigate crime scenes in your community. You should feel comfortable looking at dead bodies and the remnants of a violent crime. You may be on-call with the police department while working your day job at the hospital or you may work for a non-profit organization that treats victims of violent crimes. You’ll help these officials gather evidence as they put together their case for prosecutors.
It helps to have a master’s or doctorate degree in forensic nursing. You’ll also need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam and get certified with the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. You should have a firm understanding of the law and the forensic nursing profession. Reach out to local law enforcement officials to see if they’re hiring.
Cruise Ship Nurse
If you love being at sea, it might be time to enlist as a cruise ship nurse. You’ll treat patients aboard the ship as they deal with all kinds of accidents, injuries, and, of course, seasickness. You should feel comfortable being on the water and living out of a small room on the ship.
Getting a master’s degree will come in handy. Look for new job opportunities at some of the biggest cruise lines in the country like Carnival and Royal Caribbean.
In some of the most remote areas of the world, flight nurses assist paramedics as they airlift patients to the closest medical facility. Your primary responsibilities will be to care for these patients to the best of your abilities while riding in a helicopter.
Aside from being a RN, employers typically look for some experience in the emergency room or trauma center.
Insurance Claims Analyst
Insurance companies need to make sure their policyholders are receiving the right treatment, so the company doesn’t end up paying for unnecessary, costly medical services. As an insurance claims analyst, you’ll review insurance claims and use your expertise to decide whether the patient was justified in receiving these services.
Having a master’s degree will come in handy. You’ll need to research the insurance industry and the claims process to get a better understanding of how these companies monitor the services their customers receive.
LGBTQ Youth Nurse
LGBTQ youth tend to experience high rates of abuse, violence, and homelessness. Non-profit organizations all over the country are designed to protect some of the most vulnerable members of the community, offering them shelter and free access to medical services.
You can start by volunteering at one of these clinics or getting involved in the LGBTQ community.
Nursing Policy Advocate
Someone needs to represent the nursing industry on Capitol Hill. As lawmakers debate and draft new healthcare legislation, nursing policy advocates stand up for the issues nurses care about most. As a RN, you can put your experience to good use and stand up for the nurses in your field as new policy initiatives become law.
Getting involved in local healthcare politics is a great way to start. Look for non-profit institutions in your area that specialize in these matters and find ways to make a difference.
States all over the country are legalizing recreational and medicinal marijuana. As a cannabis nurse, you’ll spend your time advising patients on how to best use medicinal marijuana. You may work at a local doctor’s office or a medical marijuana clinic.
You’ll need to research medical marijuana extensively. This is still an emerging field, so you’ll need to look for the latest medical marijuana studies and reports. Make connections with dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is legal.
Sports Team Nurse
Athletes can sustain all kinds of injuries as they gear up for their next game or match. Some teams will hire a nurse to treat the players throughout the season to make sure they can perform to the best of their abilities.
Learn about your sport of choice, including how to best treat leg, wrist and knee injuries. Make connections with local sports teams and show off your expertise in the field.
There are so many unique opportunities for you to explore. Find your passion and take your career in a new direction.