Nursing has always been an excellent traditional career choice for those wanting to work in the medical field and care for patients with a range of illnesses and conditions. It is a noble profession dedicated to the support of doctors and patients alike. Today, however, nursing is a career with unlimited potential that extends far beyond the hospital setting.
While most nursing roles involve working in a hospital and delivering care to patients, a growing number of positions currently exist which offer alternative career paths for registered nurses. Now more than ever, a career in nursing is not limited to the bedside. A nurse’s role can exist in almost every setting, including businesses, clinics, aged care facilities and even from home.
Here are five top nursing careers outside the hospital to consider if you are thinking about entering this rewarding field.
1. Occupational health nurse
The role of an occupational health nurse is to help companies improve their workplace safety. These nurses focus on creating and maintaining safety programs and protocols for organisations to follow. Their role involves identifying any potential risks to workers and creating measures to improve safety. They work closely with employers and management to ensure that health and safety standards are met. Occupational health nurses act as advocates for the rights of employees by providing access to preventative health and safety measures.
Occupational nurses primarily work in hazard detection, risk reduction, case management and crisis intervention. But they can have a wide range of responsibilities that depend mainly on the business they are working in.
2. Forensic nurse
Forensic nursing is a lesser understood area of the nursing profession, but it is a growing field in Australia. Forensic nurses help victims of crime such as sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. They act as a liaison between medicine and the criminal justice system. Forensic nurses are specially trained to collect evidence in situations where a crime may have been committed. In Australia, forensic nursing predominantly exists in correctional facilities and psychiatrics, where nursing staff assist patients that are held in custody.
3. Clinical nurse consultant
Clinical nurse consultants have deep technical expertise in their speciality and are often hired to provide consulting services to medical personnel, policymakers, and practitioners. Clinical nurse specialists are leaders in the field of nursing—they can serve as advocates, mentors, and educators to the broader community.
4. Nurse educator and researcher
One of the most substantial areas of growth in the nursing field is education and research. In Australia, growth for nurse educators and researchers is predicted to be very strong, with over JobOutlook predicting 600 new job openings every year.
Nurse educators and researchers provide clinical and theoretical education and promote the professional development of nurses and midwives, and conduct research into nursing practice. Nurses in this area often have a high level of expertise. They are generally older, which makes this the perfect career progression for professionals who may be nearing retirement but wish to extend their time in the workforce.
5. Telehealth nurse
Telehealth is an emerging area of medicine which uses communication technologies to deliver health services to patients who may otherwise be unable to access these services in person. A telehealth nurse is a promising alternative for a non-hospital nursing job because it allows for greater convenience in treating patients who live in rural communities.
Is nursing the right career pathway for you?
As you can see, if you want to become a nurse, or use your nursing qualifications, but don’t want to work inside a hospital, there are still plenty of job prospects available to you. These opportunities will only grow as demand for nursing skills in other industries increases.
If you want to make a difference to the lives of others and are looking to start your career in nursing, start by researching accredited nursing courses, like those offered at Open Colleges. These will provide you with the qualifications you’ll need to start your career or progress into further study.