It is a common perception that the job title of a ‘nurse’ is inexplicably linked to the hospital. Yet, the RN degree is less specialised than one might think – as there are in fact jobs outside of the hospital for those trained as nurses. These are a actually a myriad of career options for experienced nurses who wish to opt for a change of pace; or for those who prefer to help patients in a different way. That having said, do note that some of these positions do require a few years of clinical experience, and even additional education.

1. Nurse educator

A nurse educator is an experienced nurse who educates future nurses. As such, a nurse educator must have in-depth knowledge of nursing theories, skills in basic and advanced nursing practices, and be able to convey and demonstrate such information effectively and easily to nursing students. As one who nurtures future generations of nurses, a nurse educator should also be a good role model for nurses-to-be, who may require advice and guidance on their way to becoming nurses.

Other work settings for the nurse educator outside of the hospitals include medical device and pharmaceutical companies, research, colleges, medical clinics, and community/government facilities. Sometimes, they may even be called upon to plan new nursing courses or redesign old ones. It is the responsibility of a nurse educator to keep up with the most recent nursing trends and practices, and update their curriculum accordingly.

To become a nurse educator, a RN or APN degree is required, accompanied by several years of clinical experience.

2. Legal nurse consultant (LNC)

A legal nurse consultant is an experienced professional in the medical industry, who is qualified to work as a legal consultant on medical cases. They are employed by law professionals to ‘translate’ obscure medical terminology, bridging the gap between medicine and law by working on cases of medical malpractice, toxic torts, insurance fraud, personal injury, worker’s compensation, and those of a criminal nature, among others.

Legal nurse consultants may be current or former nurses; and are experts both in practical medicine and the legal aspects of the healthcare industry. Legal nurse consultants help lawyers gather and make sense of evidence such as medical records, comparing these to allegations and ultimately, influencing the presentation and outcome of a case. As such, they are employed in many places; for instance, attorney firms, prosecution offices, forensic departments and health insurance companies.

Courses in legal nurse consulting are available in many places.

3. Nurse health coach

As healthcare shifts from an illness-centred to patient-centred model – the increasing focus on patient wellness means that health coaches are gaining in popularity. Health coaches employ an arsenal of health-promoting and evidence-based strategies with clients, promoting behaviours that work towards the health goals of the client. The intensive medical training of a nurse makes them suited to be health coaches.

Nurse health coaches are employed by US companies who wish to encourage the health of their employees, as well as insurance companies. Two types of health coach certification for a RN are available: as a nurse coach, who utilises conventional health knowledge; and as a holistic health coach, who advocates alternative treatment modalities.

4. Forensic nurse consultant

A forensic nurse consultant often works with the LNC to investigate medical-legal cases such as that related to assault, trauma, or death. They are employed at law enforcement agencies and coroners’ offices, as well as hospitals.

Forensic nurse consultants collect forensic evidence such as bullets, photographs of victims’ injuries, and clothes of the victim – to be evaluated. There are many specialised jobs under this umbrella term; such as, the child abuse nurse examiner, psychiatric forensic nurse, corrections nurse, and forensic clinical nurse specialist.

Forensic nurse consultants are nursing degree-holders who go on to take a Master’s degree in forensic nursing and pass a forensic certification programme.

5. Life Care Planner

A certified Life Care Planner (LCP) helps patients live with chronic, sometimes debilitating, lifelong conditions, by coming up with care plans for life. These are tailored to the patient, taking into account and balancing factors such as the type and severity of the medical problem, the wishes, and needs of the patients and their families. As such, LCPs must have good communication and decision-making abilities, as well as flexibility in knowing when to adjust the care plan as needed.

A few years of clinical experience are ideal. LCPs are employed by various medical facilities like rehabilitation centres, nursing homes, hospice care centres and health insurance agencies. MIMS

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