Stepping Away From the Bedside: Alternative Nursing Career Options

While nursing is often associated with working at the bedside, there is actually a wide range of non-bedside jobs available for nurses that offer fulfilling and rewarding careers. These roles allow nurses to use their skills and knowledge to provide care and support in a variety of opportunities outside of traditional settings.

For those who feel burnt out in a hospital or acute setting, opting for a non-clinical role could be refreshing and help take your careers to the next level. From managing overall care to working one-on-one with patients in their homes, there are many non-bedside options to consider. So, whether you are looking for a change of pace, career advancement, or more flexibility, nurses can benefit from expanding their horizons and making a difference in patients’ lives beyond the bedside.

What is Non-Bedside Nursing?

Non-bedside and non-clinical nursing jobs are often used interchangeably, but they can sometimes differ in job responsibilities and proximity to patient care. Overall, these nursing roles offer diverse and fulfilling career paths for nurses who want to contribute to the healthcare industry in a unique capacity.

Non-bedside nursing can be found across various settings, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, government agencies, research institutions, and education. Nurses in non-bedside roles play a crucial role in supporting healthcare delivery by utilizing their skills and knowledge in areas that do not involve direct patient interaction.

Sometimes nurses in these roles manage nursing staff who do provide direct care, so they are usually still found within a hospital or healthcare system, like administration or leadership. However, some roles work more directly in patient care, just in nontraditional settings like schools or corrections.

Why Consider Other Nursing Roles?

Burnout is a serious problem among nurses, and the reality is that those who are burnt out at the bedside could end up leaving their role or the nursing field altogether. Choosing a different type of role could help relieve stress, avoid burnout, and move your career forward at the same time. Nurses may find that they enjoy a role outside the hospital, working with children in schools, or within an educational setting instead, for example. 

10 Non-Bedside Roles for Nurses

If you want to try a new nursing career, why not consider one of these non-bedside positions that allow you to take charge, educate others, or make the most of your skills in unique ways? Here are 10 alternative roles for nurses that you may want to consider. 

  1. Nurse Manager: A role working as a nurse manager is a critical position where you’re responsible for making sure your nursing department runs smoothly. Rather than working directly at the bedside, you’ll work with unit staff to oversee nurse staffing, scheduling, and other managerial tasks relating to the nursing team. Nurse managers require great leadership and project management skills. 
  2. Nurse Educator: Nurse educators are just that: professionals educating nurses. As leaders who are educating the next generation of nurses, they usually teach nursing professionals clinical skills. They can also focus on staff development, preceptorship, and mentorship. As a nurse educator, you may go as far as helping present or develop curricula for higher educational institutions, as well. 
  3. Case Manager: A case manager still works with patients, but not necessarily at the bedside. Instead, they look at information about the patient, their care needs, and other considerations overall. They then work to develop care plans by coordinating with physicians and other providers, talking to the family, and keeping open lines of communication.
  4. Healthcare Administrator: Healthcare administrators work in the background — the perfect place for someone hoping to step away from the bedside. While working in a healthcare administrator role, you’ll make decisions about the facility or institution you work with — you will deal with budgets, policies, and regulations in this role.
  5. Nurse Recruiter: A nurse recruiter is an individual who identifies and hires qualified nursing candidates for local and travel roles around the country. With a nursing background, nurses are uniquely qualified to recruit nursing candidates for work. If you are great at networking and enjoy helping healthcare facilities fill nursing jobs they have open so they can provide excellent patient care, this may be the right position for you. 
  6. School Nurse: Do you love working with children and young adults? You may enjoy becoming a school nurse. A school nurse works within elementary and secondary schools, or they can also work on college campuses. Their role is very important, as they work with preventative services, help identify health problems among the student population, offer referrals, and advocate for students.
  7. Correctional Nurse: Correctional nursing can take place within juvenile detention centers, jails, and prisons. Nurses working in corrections are often the first point of contact for inmates with health concerns. These nurses work closely with correctional officers and may need to be present for anything from the cold and flu season to emergencies within the facility. 
  8. Home Health Nurse: If you want to step away from the hospital, another option could be working as a home health nurse. A home health nurse works with patients outside typical healthcare settings and inside their homes. Home health nurses may take care of patients who were recently discharged from hospitals, have ongoing health issues, or are seniors looking to age at home. 
  9. Medical Writer: As a medical writer, you can use your nursing knowledge to produce content like articles, blogs, publications, and much more. There are all kinds of options within this field that range from nurse journalists (news writers) to freelancers and bloggers. You can work in-house (within a company) or as a freelancing medical writer. For more information, you can visit the American Medical Writers Association.
  10. Telehealth Nurse: A telehealth nurse works with patients remotely over a video or phone call. During a telehealth appointment, nurses conduct patient assessments, triage patients, and discuss patient’s concerns and care. Their expertise and ability to deliver high-quality care in a virtual setting make them an integral part of healthcare delivery.

Find Your Next Career with Supplemental Health Care

Nurses in non-bedside roles play a crucial role in supporting healthcare delivery by utilizing their skills and knowledge in unique areas. If you’re interested in non-bedside roles, explore your options, identify areas of interest, and pursue professional development opportunities to gain the necessary skills and qualifications to advance your career.

Supplemental Health Care and our expert recruiting team are here to help. We support our nurses in their careers and offer a range of nursing jobs across the country in various settings and specialties. Whether you want to pursue a management role or work with a local school district, our team at SHC is here to help you find your dream nursing role beyond the bedside.

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