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With a degree in nursing, the possibilities are endless! The health care industry is constantly evolving, which means nursing professionals are in high demand. Whether you want to explore nursing career opportunities in direct patient care or dive into alternative nursing jobs, there are many paths to consider. You don’t even have to limit yourself to conventional nursing opportunities; you can think outside the box and discover unconventional paths that align with your interests and skills. 

Nursing Specialties

A nursing degree opens up a variety of patient care options. Nurses can choose to specialize in areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, critical care or community health. Each specialty offers unique opportunities to make a difference in the lives of patients, whether it's caring for newborns, providing specialized care for older adults or working in emergency situations.

By pursuing a nursing degree, you are equipped with the knowledge and skills to adapt to various patient care settings and expand your career options

Exploring Nursing Career Paths that Don’t Involve Direct Patient Care

A nursing degree equips graduates with skills that can be applied to various career paths. If you're considering non-traditional career options, here are a few areas where your nursing degree can be valuable that you may not be familiar with:

Information technology and informatics: With the increasing use of technology in health care, nurses who possess a solid understanding of both clinical practice and technology can explore roles in health care informatics. These professionals play a crucial role in managing electronic health records, implementing health care systems and analyzing data to improve patient care outcomes.

Clinical nurse educator: If you have a passion for teaching and mentoring, becoming a clinical nurse educator can be a fulfilling career choice. Clinical nurse educators work in hospitals and clinics helping to train the next generation of nurses or working directly with patients to provide invaluable teaching. In this role, you could be a part of the critical transition from academia to practice for new graduate nurses or you could devote your time to educating patients and families on how to care for themselves as they navigate life with medical challenges. 

Leadership roles: Nurses are known for their strong leadership skills, and many health care organizations value their expertise in management and administration. Whether it's in a hospital, clinic or public health setting, nurses can pursue leadership roles such as nurse manager, director of nursing or executive positions. These positions allow nurses to influence health care policies, improve patient care and drive organizational success.

Unique Nursing Jobs

While many people associate nursing with working in hospitals or clinics, there are actually a variety of alternative nursing jobs that can provide fulfilling careers. These nursing jobs allow nurses to explore different areas of health care and make a difference in unique ways.

One option for nurses with a BSN is to work in the insurance industry. Insurance companies often hire nurses to review medical claims, assess medical records and provide expert opinions on medical conditions. These roles, known as medical claims reviewers or utilization review nurses, require strong medical knowledge and the ability to analyze complex medical information. Working in the insurance industry can provide nurses with a different perspective on health care and the opportunity to use their expertise to ensure fair and accurate claim assessments.

Another career path for nurses is in the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical companies often seek nurses to work in various roles, such as clinical research associates or medical science liaisons. These positions involve collaborating with health care professionals, conducting clinical trials and providing education and support on pharmaceutical products. Nurses in pharmaceutical careers play a crucial role in bridging the gap between health care providers and pharmaceutical companies, ensuring the safe and effective use of medications.

Expanding into Behavioral Health

With a nursing degree, you have the opportunity to pivot into various specialties and explore different areas of patient care. One such area is behavioral health, which focuses on the mental health and well-being of individuals. By expanding into behavioral health, nurses can make a significant impact on the lives of patients facing mental health challenges.

Pivoting to behavioral health allows nurses to work with individuals who may be experiencing a range of mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Nurses in this field play a crucial role in providing support, administering medications and implementing therapeutic interventions to help patients manage their symptoms and achieve overall wellness.

Additionally, nurses with a background in behavioral health can contribute to the development and implementation of treatment plans, collaborate with interdisciplinary teams and educate patients and their families about mental health conditions and coping strategies. Whether you choose to focus on behavioral health or explore other specialties, your nursing degree provides a solid foundation for a rewarding and fulfilling career in health care.

Educational & Growth Opportunities

When it comes to nursing education options, there are different paths you can take depending on your career goals and current qualifications:

  • Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN): This program typically takes three years at a junior college to complete and prepares you to become an RN or continue your education through an RN-BSN program. SFA offers the School of Nursing Integrated Curriculum program that allows you to get your BSN while you are still working on your ADN at a partnering junior college.
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: SFA’s BSN program usually takes four years and provides a more comprehensive education, including leadership and research skills.
  • Master of Science in Nursing: If you aspire to become an advanced practice nurse, such as a nurse practitioner or nurse educator, pursuing an MSN degree is essential. An MSN can open doors to careers such as nursing leadership, administration, informatics, public health, nurse researcher or nurse educator. 
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice: This terminal degree is designed for nurses seeking the highest level of clinical expertise, leadership and research skills.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing: This research-focused doctorate helps nurses learn to contribute to the production of original research in a variety of topics from practice to education.
  • Doctor of Education in Nursing Education: Also a research-focused doctorate, the EdD is primarily for nurse educators seeking a terminal degree that want additional education and training in their role as a nurse educator. 

A nursing degree can lead you to a variety of fulfilling career paths. Whether you choose to specialize in a specific area or pursue advanced education, the field of nursing offers endless possibilities for personal and professional growth.

Unconventional Nursing Opportunities

While many people associate nursing with working in hospitals or clinics, there are numerous nontraditional nursing roles available for those with a nursing degree. These unconventional opportunities allow nurses to explore different career paths and make a positive impact in various settings.

One nontraditional nursing role is a legal nurse consultant. These professionals work alongside attorneys and provide expert advice on medical-related cases. With their extensive knowledge of health care systems and medical terminology, legal nurse consultants play a crucial role in evaluating medical records, assisting in litigation and educating legal teams.

Aside from these roles, nurses can also explore opportunities in research, case management, public health and occupational health. These fields offer unique challenges and allow nurses to work in diverse environments, such as research institutions, community organizations, and corporate settings.

For those interested in exploring unconventional nursing opportunities, there are several resources available. Professional nursing organizations, such as the American Nurses Association and the National League for Nursing, provide valuable information on nontraditional nursing roles and career development. Additionally, attending conferences, workshops and networking events can help nurses connect with professionals in their desired fields and gain insights into different career paths.

Exploring Nursing Career Options

With a nursing degree, graduates have a wide range of career options to explore. Whether you have an ADN, BSN or MSN, your education opens up numerous opportunities in the health care field.

ADN graduates can pursue various entry-level nursing roles, such as staff nurse, registered nurse or clinical nurse. These positions typically involve providing direct patient care, collaborating with health care teams and ensuring the well-being of patients under their care. ADN graduates may find employment in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, or home health care settings.

On the other hand, BSN graduates have additional career prospects due to their comprehensive education and leadership skills. They can explore specialized nursing roles such as pediatric nurse, surgical nurse or critical care nurse. BSN graduates may also consider pursuing administrative positions, including nurse manager or nurse educator, where they can contribute to health care policy, research and teaching.

For those who continue their education and earn an MSN degree, even more advanced career opportunities become available. MSN graduates can specialize in areas such as nurse practitioner, nurse educator, nurse anesthetist or nurse midwife. In these advanced practices, nurses have an expanded scope of practice, allowing them to diagnose and treat patients, prescribe medications and provide primary care services.

Whether you choose to pursue an ADN, BSN or MSN, a nursing degree offers a rewarding career path with the opportunity to make a positive impact on people's lives. By continually advancing your education and gaining experience in different nursing roles, you can further enhance your career prospects and contribute to the ever-evolving health care industry.



DeWitt School of Nursing

5707 North Street
Administration Building
Suite 102

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 6156, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962

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