Nursing is a fast-growing, potentially high-paying career that offers a unique chance to do work that matters in a constantly changing environment. However, the very factors that make nursing a vibrant career choice can also make it challenging.
In a survey published in the American Medical Association’s JAMA Network, 31.5% of registered nurses (RNs) left their jobs because of burnout. Other research has shown that a third of RNs leave nursing during the first two years of their career. In other words, if you’re a nurse who’s looking for non-nursing jobs, you have plenty of company.
Getting a nursing degree, though, isn't cheap. Whether you’re going to school for an associate, a bachelor’s, or a graduate degree, you’ll likely pay tens of thousands of dollars for your education.
If you’d like to change jobs, you probably want to make sure that your investment pays off.
The good news is that you have plenty of options. Whether you want to work remotely or on-site, there are several non-nursing jobs that allow you to use your skills and experience in new and exciting ways.
Remote Jobs for Nurses
You may not have to leave nursing to make a career change. Depending on your interests and professional goals, a switch to remote work might give you the new direction you seek.
According to a recent report from freelancing platform provider Upwork, well over half of U.S. employees continue to work from home at least some of the time. If you’re currently working at the bedside, you might think that your career would be a tough fit for a remote work lifestyle. However, there are remote nursing jobs out there, if you know where to look. Consider the following options:
1. Telehealth Nurse
Telehealth nurses provide patient care via phone and video chat. These nurses may work for doctor’s offices, health insurance companies, or nonprofit organizations. Some telehealth nurses function as a hotline for patient questions, while others provide more comprehensive patient education and support. Most job listings specify nurses who are RNs, but some are open to licensed practical nurses (LPNs) as well.
Salary: Glassdoor reports that telehealth nurses earn an average annual salary of $65,870.
2. Case Manager
Experienced RN case managers can often find work-from-home jobs. Many case manager roles are focused on finding cost savings while providing excellent patient care. Nurse case managers might work for hospitals, medical centers, or insurance companies. Depending on the role, these jobs may involve utilization review, patient advocacy, and care coordination.
Salary: According to PayScale, nurse case managers earn an average annual salary of $73,208.
3. Online Nursing Instructor
Online nursing instructors teach patient care and nursing practice to students and professionals. They may also be responsible for developing and updating nursing curriculum. Typically, nursing instructors must have active nursing licenses and complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing, although some programs may prefer a master’s degree or doctorate.
Salary: ZipRecruiter reports that online nursing instructors earn an average annual salary of $65,353.
4. Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners perform many of the same functions as physicians. They assess, diagnose, and treat patients, along with ordering tests and prescribing medications. State laws vary, but most nurse practitioners work with physicians. Technological advancements have made it possible for some nurse practitioners to work remotely.
Salary: According to Salary.com, nurse practitioners make a median annual salary of $111,281.
5. Remote Diabetes Educator
While nursing instructors focus on teaching students how to be nurses, remote educators help patients manage their health. A remote diabetes educator helps diabetic patients develop healthier lifestyles and manage medications.
Salary: Per ZipRecruiter, remote diabetes educators earn an average annual salary of $75,832.
Non-Bedside Nursing Jobs
Want to leave the bedside but use your skills and training in a different way? One of these jobs might be a good fit for you. Some require additional education or training, but all make good use of your work experience.
1. Nurse Researcher
Want to continue making the world a better, healthier place? A career as a nurse researcher might be what you’re looking for. Nurse researchers are advanced-practice RNs, like nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists. They design and conduct studies, which involves collecting and analyzing data on diseases, treatments, and medication.
Salary: PayScale reports that nurse researchers earn an average annual salary of $81,500.
2. Legal Nurse Consultant
Legal nurse consultants (LNCs) work for law firms and insurance companies, offering insight and analysis of the medical aspect of legal cases. They may also act as expert witnesses in legal proceedings. LNCs typically have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and are certified through the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC).
Salary: According to PayScale, legal nurse consultants earn an average hourly pay of $49.22.
3. Nursing Informatics Analyst
Most hospitals in the U.S. use an electronic health records (EHR) system. Nursing informatics analysts help analyze and improve EHR systems, leading to more effective patient care and greater cost efficiencies. These specialists are usually RNs with certification in nursing informatics. They may also have a master’s degree with a concentration in the field.
Salary: ZipRecruiter reports that nursing informatics analysts earn an average annual salary of $83,943.
4. Web Developer
Feel a calling toward information technology (IT) and want to leave the medical world behind entirely? You might want to switch gears to a new career as a web developer. The attention to detail and ability to multitask that you honed as a nurse will serve you in good stead in this job. Best of all, you may be able to transition into this career with only a few classes or a coding boot camp program.
Salary: According to Glassdoor, web developers earn an average annual salary of $68,524.
5. Health Coach
Put your patient education skills to work as a health coach, helping clients develop healthier habits by advising them on nutrition, exercise, and stress management techniques.
Salary: Per Salary.com, health coaches earn an average annual salary of $59,714.