College Advice Blog

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Feb 7, 2013

Non-Hospital Work Environments for Nurses

medical doctorA common misconception about the nursing profession is that the only practical job one can have is within a hospital. A worrying prospect for some, since the great recession has rendered finding a job in a hospital difficult. There are however, a number of career alternatives that nurses can pursue outside of the traditional hospital setting.

Occupational Health Nurses, for example, focus on creating and ensuring a safe work environment for employees. OHNs not only need to be able to identify any potential hazards in a given work environment but they need to be able and willing to work with employers and employees to make sure that they comply with standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Forensic Nurse- For those who are interested in a relatively new sub-field in nursing and are passionate about assisting in criminal investigations one can work as a forensic nurse. In addition to being  employed by hospitals, forensic nurses can work for correction departments, jails, or work as a private consultant for law enforcement agencies. Theforensicnurse.com explicates that forensic nurses are nurses with “specialized training in forensic evidence collection, criminal procedures, legal testimony expertise, and more.” Forensic nurses can work with victims of rape, sexual assault, and abuse. For those interested in working in a cutting edge field and serving as a liaison between the medical and law enforcement community one should consider a career as a forensic nurse.

Health Coach- Working as a health coach is an option for those who are interested in guiding and teaching patients on healthy living. Health coaches can work for gyms, doctor offices, companies that are interested in ensuring the health of their employees, or they can be self-employed. RN health coaches work with individuals on issues such as stress management, maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy, and creating an exercise plan. Health coaches are interested in motivating their clients to live a healthy lifestyle and to avoid complications that can result from a poor diet, smoking, or lack of exercise.

Home Health Care work with disabled, elderly, or mentally ill/impaired patients who are home-bound. Home healthcare nurses may have multiple patients they visit on a daily or weekly basis or they might work with a smaller number of chronically ill patients exclusively. Home health care nurses help dispense medicine, check and document a patient’s vital signs, change dressings, and provide palliative care. They usually work through a home health care agency.

Holistic Nurse-Working as a holistic nurse is an ideal job for those interested in attending to the spiritual, mental, and physical needs of a patient. The American Holistic Nursing Association explains that “holistic nurses may integrate complementary/alternative modalities (CAM) into clinical practice to treat people’s physiological, psychological, and spiritual needs.” Example of CAM treatments include herbal medicines, meditation, yoga, and acupuncture. Holistic nurses can work in spas, gyms, doctor’s offices, or independently.

The job opportunities for those considering a career in nursing is not limited to working in hospitals. Nursing is a flexible field that  provides the training and skills necessary to work in a variety of different and challenging work environments.

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About the Author
Rolf Samsonite is a freelancer based in the great city of Columbus, Ohio. Rolf writes on the healthcare industry, medical education, natural medicine, general wellness, nutritional science, and other related topics. If you’re preparing for a nursing career it’s always advisable to procure good Landau scrubs sooner rather than later.
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