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Non-Bedside Nursing Jobs for RNs

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Although most registered nurses (RNs) work in bedside care at some point in their careers, nurses have many job opportunities outside hospital and clinic settings. RNs with robust skill sets can thrive outside traditional workplaces, especially if they have a bachelor’s degree and a few years of patient care experience.

What Are the Benefits of Non-Bedside Nursing Jobs?

Pursuing a nursing job outside of direct patient care does not mean taking a step back in your career. These jobs generally have comparable pay, if not higher salaries. Advantages typically include:

  • No direct patient care or significantly reduced patient interactions
  • More flexible hours
  • Better work-life balance
  • Less stressful work environment
  • Increased autonomy

Hospitals routinely deal with understaffing — a reality that remains prominent amid the pandemic. As a result, RNs interested in jobs away from the bedside welcome the reprieve from direct patient care and potentially strained nurse-patient ratios.

Where Do Nurses Work Besides Hospitals?

Given the renewed focus on public health, nurses may find positions as community advocates or safety coordinators with local and state governments. Other common employers include:

  • Physician offices
  • Research laboratories
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Military bases
  • Schools and universities
  • Insurance companies
  • Law firms
  • Private companies and nonprofits

Nursing Job Alternatives Outside Patient Care

While bedside jobs are in high demand, jobs beyond the bedside are plentiful too, especially as older nurses exit the workforce. Most positions require a BSN and certification. Here are some non-bedside jobs to consider, with salary information sourced in December 2021.

School Nurse

Average annual salary: $64K, per ZipRecruiter

Job responsibilities: School nurses oversee the health of children and students. They are employed at daycare centers and summer camps as well as at every level of the education system, from elementary school through college. School RNs perform screening exams, such as hearing and vision testing. In addition, they provide basic care to students who become ill or injured during school hours.

Requirements: school nurse certification preferred

Flight Nurse

Average annual salary: $81K, per ZipRecruiter

Job responsibilities: Flight nurses care for patients during emergency aircraft transport. They conduct assessments, administer medication and treatment and prepare the patient for arrival at the healthcare facility. Flight nurses perform similar duties to bedside nurses but work in confined spaces and usually care for only one patient at a time.

Requirements: experience in emergency, trauma or critical care nursing

Informatics Nurse Specialist

Average annual salary: $92K, per ZipRecruiter

Job responsibilities: An informatics nurse specialist combines nursing knowledge with computer science to oversee the technological needs of a healthcare facility. They are typically the in-house expert on EHR systems and responsible for training staff on the use of various computer programs and platforms. Informatics nurse specialists also analyze data and design and implement digital processes that improve patient care and outcomes.

Requirements: excellent problem-solving skills and certification in nursing informatics preferred

Medical and Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

Average annual salary: $92K, per ZipRecruiter

Job responsibilities: Medical and pharmaceutical sales representatives promote products for sale, including devices and medications. They regularly meet with physicians and other healthcare providers to teach them about new products, distribute samples and answer questions.

Requirements: strong public speaking skills and willingness to frequently travel

Medical Writer

Average annual salary: $102K, per ZipRecruiter

Job responsibilities: Medical writers create educational and informational content targeted to everyday readers and professionals alike. The growth of digital platforms has created a niche for nurses with an affinity for writing. Nurse writers often work from home as contractors for magazines, websites, blogs, medical journals and curriculum publishers.

Requirements: ability to work independently, multiple deadlines and research

Nursing is a versatile career. RNs seeking to move away from bedside care have several potential career paths available with experience gained from a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Learn more about The University of Alabama in Huntsville’s online RN to BSN program.

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