Every degree opens up possibilities. Those in the humanities open up more types of job roles than you can imagine, but that doesn’t mean that your options are limited to a select few options if you go into STEM. Nursing, in particular, has the stigma that you can only work as a nurse. This isn’t true.
More than that, you can do so much more than simply work in a hospital or a clinic. There are many, many possible futures ahead of you when you have a nursing degree (or several) as well as a nursing license.
There are many more options than are included in our list, but if you are looking for inspiration, these top five opportunities are great options to consider:
Open Your Own Clinic as an NP
If you are a nurse practitioner, particularly a family nurse practitioner, then there is a chance that you can start and manage your own practice. You will need to have a license in a state that offers full NP practice authority. The good news is that, as of publication, 23 states and the District of Columbia all offer practice authority.
Don’t just be a nurse practitioner – be a business owner. Your home needs it, your community needs it, and you deserve it.
Travel as a Nurse
There are many ways that you can work and travel as a nurse. You can do this with any degree and any role. It is something available to RNs and APRNs alike, and the premise is simple. Rather than work consistently in one hospital or clinic, you pick up shifts as you go.
Most hospitals operate on a nursing shortage. What this means is that if someone calls in sick or even goes on maternity/paternity leave, their absence will be sorely felt. Rather than bring in a full-time nurse for these part-time situations, they put up job offers for short periods.
This allows you to travel around the country. More states than not are within the NLC today, meaning you don’t need to obtain a new license and can move and practice as a travel nurse while traveling from one end of the continent to the other.
Work in Entertainment
Ever think about the stunts that go on in movies or television shows? It doesn’t matter if the actors themselves are not always the stunt people involved – someone is. Movie and television, alongside many other broadcast productions, will need a nurse on-site for immediate care.
This is both due to insurance requirements and also for safety. It can be difficult to get started with this job option, but it is not impossible. The job sites you will look on will be different than you are used to, and it may take time before you are finally brought on, but the good news is that once you are in, you are in.
Most roles, particularly behind-the-scenes roles, go to those who are in the inner circle. If you worked with someone before, know that it is very likely that you will be brought on for future projects as well.
Work as an Educator and Researcher
One of the bottleneck issues of the nursing shortage is that there is actually a nurse educator shortage. What this means is that there are more prospective nurses than there are spaces available for them. This issue has been reduced in recent years, thanks to new online degree options, but that doesn’t mean that it is fixed entirely.
One of the best things that you can do with your nursing degree for the betterment of your state and country is to become a nurse educator. The route isn’t direct, however. You will need to earn an Ed.D., which is a doctorate degree, in order to be hired by universities.
Working as a nurse educator is absolutely worth the extra effort. The work/life balance of faculty members is notoriously great, making it an ideal choice for those who have done their time in the hospital setting and are looking for a new, more laid-back position that continues to help the community at large.
Work in Policy or Politics
Though you don’t need to have a nursing degree to work or influence either of these options, having a nursing degree will make you qualified to advocate for nurses everywhere. Nursing as a job role is only a few hundred years old. Nurses, as they are today, with university educations and even master’s degrees, are incredibly new. There are those still alive today who would have been around before nursing was considered to be a role that needed university education.
What this means is that nursing as we know it today is very, very new. Advocating for better pay, better working conditions, and more privileges is still important for the sake of nurses today and also the patients they care for.
APRNs, for example, still do not have full practice authority across the country. The role was created to help offset the shortage of junior doctors in the 80s, and in many cases, they are still used to help provide the care that junior doctors and primary care physicians today cannot because there aren’t enough of them.
Advocating for nurses and working in politics with a nursing degree is an exciting new way forward for those who were nurses and is the final exciting way to use your nursing degree in our list. On top of these great alternatives, you can also recertify if you need a new direction for your nursing career but are happy to continue to work as a nurse on the ground.