More than 60% of registered nurses in the U.S. work in hospitals, accounting for over 1.8 million nursing jobs.* Clearly, there’s a lot of opportunity to be a hospital nurse. But what if you don’t want to work in a hospital?
Here are a few of the many nursing careers that exist outside of a hospital setting.
The healthcare industry’s adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) has created a need for nursing professionals who can keep EHR systems functioning smoothly, train others in the use of those systems, and analyze the data in EHRs to improve efficiencies and patient outcomes. Insurance companies, outpatient clinics, and the corporate offices of hospital systems all employ nurses in the informatics field, and some do work in hospitals. Nurses who hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a Nursing Informatics specialization are particularly useful to the healthcare industry and often hold leadership positions. In the coming years, an estimated 70,000 nursing informatics specialist/analyst positions will open.†
Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
Working outside of a hospital doesn’t mean working away from patients. In outpatient clinics around the country, employers are hiring nurses to help meet rising healthcare demands. In particular, primary care offices are seeking family nurse practitioners and adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioners because those nurse have the training to care for patients and prescribe medications. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for nurse practitioners—as well as for nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives—is expected to increase by 31% between 2016 and 2026, a rate that’s much faster than the national average for all occupations.‡
Public Health Nursing
Improving the health of communities is an important task for government agencies and nonprofits alike. Public health nurses help in this effort by combining an understanding of public health policy and programs with an ability to provide hands-on medical care. Nurses who hold an MSN degree with a Public Health Nursing specialization often help develop and/or manage public health initiatives in cities and states.
While many nurse educators are employed by hospitals, many are also employed by schools, public health departments, private clinics, large businesses, and insurance companies. Nurse educators teach people how to live healthier lives, either by providing direct education or by conducting research into community health and publishing the results. Because nurse education requires expert-level knowledge and educational skills, many nurse educators hold a master’s degree in nursing with a Nursing Education specialization. Between 2016 and 2026, demand for health educators and community health workers is expected to increase by 16%, a rate that’s much faster than the national average for all professions.‡
Home Health Nursing
As the population continues to age, more and more Americans will need home health services, ranging from weekly home-based treatments/assessments to full-time health assistance. Demand for home health aides and personal care aides is expected to increase by 40% between 2016 and 2026. That’s a huge increase, and many of those jobs will be handled by nurses.‡
How Can You Start or Advance a Non-Hospital Nursing Career?
One the best ways to position yourself for a great nursing career is to earn a nursing degree. This is true no matter what kind of nurse you are or want to be, as an increasing number of healthcare employers expect RNs to hold at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). In fact, the National Academy of Medicine wants 80% of the nursing workforce to hold a BSN degree by 2020.§ Even if you’re already an RN with an established career, moving from an RN to BSN can help ensure a successful future.
A BSN degree does not, however, qualify you for all nursing careers. For many nursing jobs, you need to complete a master’s in nursing program. Holding an MSN degree is considered a pre-requisite for all nurse practitioners and can help propel you to the top of other nursing fields as well.
The question is, do you have time for a nursing program? Thanks to online learning, you likely do. Online BSN programs and online MSN programs give you the convenience of completing your coursework from home. Plus online nursing programs don’t make you attend classes at set times. Instead, at an online nursing school, you can attend class at whatever time of day fits best with your work schedule.
To ensure your preferred bachelor’s or master’s in nursing online program meets the highest standards, you’ll want to seek out an online university with CCNE accreditation and confirm that the MSN program’s teaching faculty is 100% doctorally prepared. Additionally, if you’re an RN, you’ll also want to make sure there’s an RN to BSN online option or an RN to MSN online option. Where can you find all of this? One place is Walden University. In fact, thanks in part to all the advantages it offers, Walden produces more nurses with advanced degrees than any other university.**
Through a bachelor’s or master’s in nursing program, you can gain the skills and qualifications you need to succeed at the best non-hospital nursing jobs—and the online education programs at Walden can make earning your nursing degree possible.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Registered Nurses,
on the internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-3
†Nurse Journal, Nursing Informatics Career and Salary, on the internet at https://nursejournal.org/nursing-informatics/nursing-informatics-career-outlook.
‡Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016–2017 Edition, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners; Health Educators and Community Health Workers; Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides; on the internet at www.bls.gov/ooh/home.htm.
§Nelson, L., Report: 80% Of Nursing Workforce Should Have A BSN By 2020, Nurse.org, on the internet at http://nurse.org/articles/155/BSN-initiative-80-2020.
**National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Retrieved July 2017, using CIP codes 51.3801 (Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse); 51.3808 (Nursing Science); 51.3818 (Nursing Practice). Includes 2016 preliminary data.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.