While most nurses will spend the bulk of their careers in traditional healthcare settings, such as hospitals, there are plenty of opportunities in other venues. Here are three potential careers that any experienced nurse looking for new challenges should consider.
Home Health Worker
Home health care workers, as the name suggests, work with patients in their own homes to ensure that they have all the care that they need. There are a variety of different patients who require the services of a home health care worker. These include people with physical and emotional disabilities, as well as those who are elderly or infirm.
Many nurses find that home healthcare work appeals to them because it enables them to work directly one-on-one with individual patients. Within a hospital or similar healthcare setting, nurses will have to divide their time between numerous patients. This limits their ability to form a close bond with any individual.
What Does It Involve?
● One on one working: Working in such close proximity to individual patients does not appeal to everyone. However, many nurses find that it is the one-on-one nature of home healthcare work that makes it so rewarding. Nurses will not only need to bring the best medical skills to the table, but they will also need to have excellent interpersonal skills. While many nurses work directly with patients, working with individual patients within their own homes is a very different experience.
● Bringing clinical skills into the home: If a patient suffers a medical emergency in their own home, home care workers will have to work with whatever equipment and resources are available to them. While the highest dependency patients will have plenty of hospital hardware in their homes, nurses will not have access to the usual arsenal of medical devices that they would if they were working in a hospital. Nurses who want to work at home, therefore, need to be able to bring their A-game. It is also advisable to gain as much experience as possible working in a provisional clinical setting before taking patients in their own homes. Remember that when you are treating a patient in their own home, you will not have access to other doctors and nurses who you can consult with.
● Developing rapport with patients: Regardless of the specific setting that they are working in, nurses need to be able to build rapport with their patients. However, when you are treating a patient within their own home, it is even more important that you are able to make them feel at ease. Every patient is different, but many who require home care will take time to adjust to the new situation. Allowing a stranger into their home to help them take care of themselves can be a difficult adjustment to make.
Private nursing is a lot like home healthcare work, except that in general, your patients will not be people who require constant care, rather they will be people who want access to their own personal healthcare staff when they require it. As such, private nurses will usually have only a small roster of clients on their books, but can still expect to earn more than most other nurses. Naturally, the more experience you already have working as a nurse, the more valuable you will be as a private nurse.
Nurses who already have many years of experience and are now looking for a way to leverage that experience, or who just want to lighten their workload without having to sacrifice earnings, should consider private nursing as a potential career path.
What Does It Involve?
● Utilizing your experience: In most cases, people who are in a position to hire a private nurse for themselves will insist upon significant prior experience. While nurses can advance through the various ranks of nursing at their own pace, many nurses at the higher levels find themselves frustrated when they hit an apparent earnings wall. Transferring to working as a private nurse is one way of overcoming this barrier and continuing to increase your earnings. The more experience you have, the more you can earn as a private nurse.
● Working with individual clients: This is another nursing role that involves direct one-on-one work with patients. However, the difference here is that many of those who are hiring a private nurse will actually be in good health. Private nurses are not there to provide constant care, rather they are normally there to provide personalized nursing services to those that can afford them.
● Balancing patient wishes: One of the more challenging aspects of working as a private nurse is balancing the wishes of a patient who is paying your salary directly with your obligations as a nurse. If a patient asks you for something that you feel is unsuitable or unethical, it can present a difficult professional dilemma. If you want to work as a private nurse, then you need to be sure of yourself and confident in your abilities to make the right decisions for your patients.
Nurses who have a strong interest in science and want to play an active role in the progression of the industry at large should consider working as a research nurse. This is another nursing role that is best suited for those who already have significant experience. If you want to work as a research nurse, you will generally have to have both experience and at least a Master's in Science of Nursing. If you have not yet reached this level, you can study an MSN degree online in order to equip yourself with the necessary background knowledge.
What Does It Involve?
● Conducting research: Qualified nurses are needed in a variety of research contexts to provide assistance, as well as contribute their own knowledge and experience. Research nurses will sometimes be directly involved in conducting research or gathering data, or they might be on hand to provide nursing services to study participants, as in the case of drug trials.
● Analyzing data: Once the initial research has been completed and data gathered, it then needs to be analyzed. Analyzing data efficiently requires both experience and knowledge. Anyone involved in this part of the process will, therefore, need to have significant experience.
There are plenty of potential career opportunities out there for qualified nurses. Of course, you also have the option of starting your own business and recruiting other nurses to perform the roles outlined above. Nursing is a versatile degree, and what we have outlined above is just a small selection of the multitude of possibilities that are out there.