People enter the health care industry for many reasons. Primary among these is the desire to make a positive impact on patients’ lives. Nurses are among the professionals having a direct impact in this regard. You don’t just treat people every day, you also influence the way they respond to their health challenges. It can be a rewarding experience.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always result in pleasant career experiences. A toxic culture of overwork and receiving regular harassment are among the reasons nurses are leaving the profession in significant numbers. Not to mention your pay will often not accurately reflect the skill and commitment you provide. As a result, you may have decided it’s time to seek a career providing you with the respect and rewards you deserve.
Let’s take a look at some of the other health care fields that can benefit from your perspectives as a nurse.
Wellness entrepreneurism is a growing field, particularly in the United States and across multiple specializations. It’s no secret the health care sector can be a lucrative prospect. With the profit pool for providers expected to top $197.8 billion by 2024, it’s no wonder entrepreneurs are drawn to this area. As an experienced nurse, you can find a fulfilling career shift in this part of the sector.
This isn’t just about chasing profit. By starting your own wellness business, you can bring more patient-focused imperatives to your practice. That said, you need to pair this to an extent with a business mind. Health care enterprises need business leaders who can effectively manage finances and operations in a way supporting sustainable growth. Leaders also need to be able to organize the administrative and security hurdles while setting achievable care goals. Your nursing experience can help you make purchasing decisions to improve patients’ lives. While your organizational expertise helps make certain these care imperatives are actually practical.
One of the most important perspectives you can bring to the table as a wellness entrepreneur is a commitment to collaboration. Smooth interactions between medical personnel are essential to a facility’s success and a patient’s well-being. This is true whether you build a facility offering interprofessional care or a single specialty. However, efficient and effective teamwork in health care can be very different from other industries. As opposed to non-expert entrepreneurs, your nursing background can ensure seamless and relevant collaborations.
Communication is vital in all health care fields. As a nurse, you will have developed a habit of concise and mindful communication as part of your day-to-day role. If you’re looking for a new position in which you can make a positive impact, health comms could make use of your talents.
There are a few areas you can focus on here. If you want to make an impact on the community, a role as a public health adviser may be a good fit. Professionals in this field are usually hired by regional public health services or national agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Your background as a nurse can provide the perspectives of your medical expertise to public health guidance aimed at organizations and wellness education directly to communities.
However, you may find success in the private sector, too. Private providers and pharmaceutical companies utilize experts in medical communications to design their messaging. Creating effective digital marketing often forms a vital first interaction between patients and medical professionals. Personalizing this experience to patients’ needs and utilizing inclusive methods can help make engagement successful for both patients and the organization. As a nurse, you can apply your skillset to make certain this has a care-first approach alongside achieving marketing goals. You can also identify the information and advice that makes the most difference to patients’ uptake of services.
Technology is dominant in various areas of contemporary life. The medical industry has long been at the forefront of developing tools from scratch and adapting existing tech for compatibility with health care protocols. Your nursing career will likely have seen you utilizing health care technology. You may even have adjusted it to suit your needs. This practical insight can offer you careers in the health care technology development landscape.
You could act as an expert consultant to development businesses. This can be particularly valuable if you have specialist knowledge in a specific area of care. Your experience may be valuable even at the iteration stage of the development process. You’ll be able to provide designers and project managers with insights into what tools are most in-demand or in need for professionals and patients alike. You’ll also be able to contribute ideas about what elements of functionality can make it most likely for health care staff to use these tools. Many companies already invite nurses to be involved at the testing stage of their process. But you can have a greater impact as a more central part of the project.
This doesn’t have to be particularly advanced technology, either. As telehealth technology is becoming a more prevalent part of nurses’ toolkits, providers will be designing new patient portal platforms and applications. Your insights into where the challenges are in utilizing these tools are valuable to developers in these fields, too. This can also see you offering perspectives on how additional tools and functions correspond to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance.
Your experiences as a nurse are valuable across a variety of health care fields. If you’re looking to change careers, it’s worth considering the potential to provide a more patient-focused approach to wellness entrepreneurism. You can also make an impact on health care communication in both the public and private sectors. As technology expands, so too does your potential to be an expert consultant in development. Remember that your talents and knowledge are an asset. You deserve a career that reflects this.
The role of the nurse has never been static. Patients’ needs are constantly evolving, and the conditions in which nurses are called on to provide care can never really be predicted. For centuries, nurses have had to adapt and improvise, and respond to patients’ needs wherever, whenever, and however, they may arise. Luckily, nurses have always risen to the challenge.
Nurses today are no different. What is different, however, is the scope of the change the nursing profession currently faces. From profound labor shortages and shrinking budgets to surging demand, the role of the nurse is evolving faster and more significantly than ever before.
However, nurses are increasingly stepping in to mitigate the impacts of the intensifying labor shortage. Many are pursuing advanced degrees to step into the care gaps created by the physician shortage. In many states, for example, family nurse practitioners (FNP) are authorized to provide cradle-to-grave care, often stepping into roles that the family doctor or primary care physician would traditionally fulfill.
This means that FNPs and other nurses holding advanced degrees are increasingly empowered to take the lead in patient care by ordering tests, prescribing medication, and implementing treatment strategies without the authorization of a physician.
In addition, advanced practice nurses can increasingly be found at the helm of health care networks, developing and instituting management strategies to optimize patient care and health system efficiency.
At the same time, these nurse leaders are conducting research and overseeing clinical trials. Now, more than ever, nurses are the caregivers on which the health system depends, and they’re simultaneously the driving force behind medical knowledge, health system management, and evidence-based practice.
The Role of Technology
Patient care has always been and will always be the heart of nursing. But it has never been the entirety of the role, and that is especially true today as technology assumes increasing importance in health care.
Today’s nurses are required to provide comfort and care at the patient’s bedside and translate caregiving into the digital domain. Though telehealth technologies long predate the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, the platforms have achieved unprecedented prominence in the wake of the outbreak.
Telehealth encompasses a range of remote care strategies and techniques, from video and telephone conferences between patients and their health care providers to remote patient monitoring through medical wearable devices.
Nurses are expected to serve patients through digital platforms without sacrificing the compassionate, empathic care for which nurses are so esteemed. On top of that, nurses are also expected to leverage technologies to better provide evidence-based care.
In the face of increasing demand and decreasing budgets, value-based care has never been more important, and data analytics is the key to this. This means that nurses in advanced practice roles must use health information systems to develop evidence-based, best practices for patient care.
From the Clinic to the Community
Nurses have always played a vital role in the community. But the importance of nurses to the community has never been more apparent than in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. As infection rates surged and health systems worldwide threatened to collapse under the weight of the pandemic, nurses stepped into roles they likely never would have imagined.
From improvising makeshift testing facilities in public parking lots to providing community education on disease detection and prevention through social media, nurses have quickly become the public health leaders of our time. As the impacts of the pandemic linger and fears of future infectious disease outbreaks persist, it is unlikely that the very public role nurses assumed during the height of COVID will subside anytime soon.
Thus, as the role of nurses continues to evolve, community engagement, public health education, and health policy leadership can be expected to become an increasingly significant aspect of the profession.
For far too long, nurses have been the unsung heroes living among us. But their role in the health care industry is rapidly evolving as the labor shortage worsens, budgets tighten, and patient demand grows. Today’s nurses are now called upon to step into the gap left by the physician shortage, pursue advanced education, and take the lead in patient care.
They’re also increasingly integrating technology into their clinical practice, from using telehealth systems to provide patient care, to deploying health information systems to facilitate data-driven decision-making. Although they may be juggling plenty of tasks, nurses will forever play a role in communities across the world which will eventually prove the best for global public health.
According to the New York Times, there were over a million health care jobs lost during the pandemic. That might seem like a paradox, considering so many people needed medical help due to COVID-19. But, this time around, the health care industry wasn’t immune to the economic recession the country was going through, so jobs had to be cut. Other health care professionals left for their own mental health reasons, while still others chose to stay home with their families.
Now that the economy is starting to build back up, the industry is hiring again. And, it may be more competitive than ever. So, what can you do to stand out and make sure your resume gets noticed?
Make sure you’re video-savvy.
Telemedicine saw a huge boom in popularity throughout the pandemic and shows no signs of slowing down. Hospitals, clinics, and even small practices are all starting to realize how important and impactful it can be, and will undoubtedly look to hire people who know how to utilize it. Remote work has also become exceedingly popular and prominent, requiring basic video skills.
So, how can you get versed in video and gain a competitive advantage on your resume?
Take Advantage of Remote Learning
According to a 2020 report by the Institute of Medicine, it’s recommended that at least 80% of nurses hold a bachelor’s degree. Whether you’re currently in a health care position and want to move up, or you’re trying to break into the field for the first time, it’s not uncommon for those in the industry to go back to school.
Doing so can help you in more ways than one.
Not only can you take advantage of the curriculum you need, but because so many schools are offering remote or hybrid classes, you can learn more about video conferencing and digital learning as you go. It’s a type of “hands-on” learning that will prepare you to get involved with video when you land a job. You might have to have a video conference with other classmates or a professor, and it’s important to learn how to do that so you can carry the skills with you into a career.
You can even start taking advantage of the edtech trend of video learning, which can help you to know how to record videos in advance, edit, and publish them. If you do get a job in the medical field, that can come in handy to educate and inform patients.
Sharpen Your Telemedicine Skills
Just how popular has telehealth become? One study found that 46% of patients use telemedicine for some of their visits, compared to just 11% in 2019. Whether you’re a nurse, doctor, specialist, or anyone who interacts with patients, one of the best things you can do is to sharpen your telemedicine skills.
Once you do, you can list them on your resume to get more attention.
With that in mind, it’s important to know some of the best practices for honing those skills. Some of them include:
Understanding how to operate a video program
Feeling comfortable interacting via video
Creating a comfortable conversation (using “web-side” manner)
Patients are choosing telemedicine for a variety of reasons. It’s convenient, it’s accessible, and it makes it easier for patients and physicians to connect more regularly without having to set up in-person appointments. Overall, many people see it as an improvement to the patient experience. The more you feel comfortable with telemedicine, the more likely it is a practice will take notice and give you greater consideration.
Look for Remote Positions
Working in the health care industry requires you to be a lifelong learner. Granted, there are many things you need to know like the back of your hand before you get started. But, there are some things that you’ll get stronger at as you go.
So, even if you don’t have a lot of existing video experience, you can gain it by looking for remote positions.
Some people are surprised to find there are so many remote options in health care. Whether you want to work in an administrative role, “behind the scenes,” or even as a nurse, there are remote opportunities that will allow for flexibility and can help you become stronger in your video skills. Some of the most common remote jobs for nurses include:
Clinical appeals nurse
Any of these positions can help you learn more about video conferencing and connecting with others via the screen. When you do that, you can easily add that experience and the skills learned to a resume for a different position.
Technology and digital trends are everywhere. The health care system isn’t immune to them. In fact, it’s adopting many of them to improve patient care and prevent burnout for workers. If you’re ready for a post-pandemic career and you’re looking for a job in the health care industry, make sure you’re learning as much as possible about video and how it will keep impacting health and wellness for the foreseeable future.
Remote operations have become a familiar aspect of our contemporary society. The technology to digitally connect people across vast distances has been available for several years. But the COVID-19 pandemic forced popular uptake—companies shifted their employees to work from home, and various generations stayed connected through video conferencing. One of the areas that also saw a boost was the uptake of telehealth technology and services.
The public has started to recognize the convenience and stability of remote healthcare, and there is likely to be continued growth in the area. As a traveling nurse—a sector also seeing a surge in demand recently—you are increasingly likely to include the technology and practices here as part of their standard toolkit. It is important to take the time to understand how this impacts the level of care you can provide and the steps you can take to make the most of it.
The growth in demand for information technology (IT) in the healthcare sector is continuing to alter a lot of professionals’ relationships with their jobs. For instance, automated tools are increasingly being used to help care providers and patients to make sometimes life-changing decisions about diagnoses and treatment. This places a great deal of responsibility on skilled IT professionals to design and maintain reliable tools. But it also means doctors and travel nurses need to have specialized medical knowledge to collaborate with these tools in ways that maximize the effectiveness and accuracy for patients.
Mobile healthcare providers are already having to take this approach with remote physiological monitoring devices. There are certainly specialist pieces of technology involved in this process; blood pressure readers, blood glucose readers, and spirometers to measure pulmonary functioning. For the most part, there are clear training and operating procedures about how to effectively use this as part of a patient’s care. Where you’re likely to find more scope for uncertainty is when utilizing the patient’s own devices.
This is an increasingly common area of exploration. Smartphones and smartwatches have more nuanced sensors today. When paired with apps, they can monitor a patient’s cardiovascular system, sleep patterns, and respiratory health with a relatively good degree of accuracy. There is also software to track cognitive functioning and mental health. However, in these cases, it is vital to assess through experience and research whether these are appropriate for use and whether they can fit into the care plan you’re providing your patients. Consider, too, how securely these devices can transmit patient data, too—it may be the case that to maintain security you need to research their compatibility with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant telehealth cloud platforms.
Utilizing telehealth and technological tools is a learning curve for both you as a traveling nurse and your patients. Indeed, one of the reasons people have been initially slow on the uptake of this technology is a lack of confidence in the tools. Particularly if you’re practicing in rural areas of the country or far-flung destinations, you may find that while telehealth can be a vital lifeline to care, it also requires some attention to education. As such, you need to be prepared to be a guide to your patients.
Health education is likely already a significant part of your job. Heading out on the road to visit patients often means introducing them to concepts they’re unfamiliar or uncomfortable with. It’s therefore worth preparing some technological educational materials to help patients make the most of the methods and tools you’ll be utilizing. When you’re visiting them in person, go through a practical demonstration of the telehealth platforms, showing how to start calls, upload any information or monitoring data, and even ensure their setup is secure and comfortable.
This can also be a good time to assess how stable their broadband connection is and its suitability for remote appointments. The CDC recently recommended such assessments can improve uptake of mobile care. This is because it allows you to also ascertain whether more flexible forms of appointment—audio rather than video, asynchronous contact—may be effective.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
The telehealth tech space is constantly changing. Just when you’ve gotten used to a tool, it can seem like it is being superseded by something more efficient or better suited to the task. This can present challenges to you as a mobile nurse, particularly as you may not always have the same immediate access to educational resources as your colleagues in traditional establishments. As such, you need to place focus on staying ahead of the curve wherever possible.
Your best option here is developing and maintaining relationships beyond your immediate agency and coworkers. Make space in your schedule to attend industry conferences and seminars, as these are often opportunities to learn from those involved with developing technology and the protocols you’re likely to use in the future. There are new developments in telehealth—this aspect of the industry is expected to expand significantly between now and 2026—and engaging with these early can help you to apply them effectively. Some of the developments are strictly technological. Artificial intelligence (AI) has a presence in diagnostic software and maintaining medical records. Mobile health (mHealth) tech is expanding to encompass connected medical ID apps that alert care staff when there are emergencies.
Forging relationships here might also include the option to partner with technology developers in testing protocols for these devices. Rather than always playing catch-up in learning how to use technology, you can be instrumental in influencing how it is used in the field and introducing it to patients. This can even lead to opportunities for your professional progression.
Being a traveling nurse is rewarding, and it is increasingly becoming a focus for technological tools and telehealth. You can best use these by understanding how to effectively collaborate with the tools and being a source of support and education for your patients. However, as the field expands it is wise to stay ahead of the curve and be willing to engage in developing the protocols for important new tools.
Though there are thousands of different healthcare jobs and hundreds of differing nursing career paths, few are more rewarding than those that lead to interactions with newborns. Working with parents who are thrilled to expand their family and excited to bring a new bundle of joy home is a wonderful opportunity. It can bring a lot of happiness into your career.
It may come as a surprise, but there are a variety of jobs out there for those interested in working in healthcare with babies. Passionate people who are serious about ensuring the safety and comfort of not only the newborns, but their parents as well, can make a profound difference. Specializations such as these can vastly improve the quality of care received at the very beginning of life.
As you explore potential careers in nursing, it is certainly worth considering some of the options available. There just might be a lot more out there than you’d ever previously considered.
Improving Birth Outcomes
Working in the healthcare field as a nurse interacting with newborns and their parents isn’t just about being in the delivery room when the baby arrives. Rather, it is about all of the steps along the way and immediately after that improve birth outcomes. Being the nurse who provides recommendations on exercise and what to eat during pregnancy is every bit as crucial as being the nurse who cuts the umbilical cord.
Even with all of the modern medicine our society has, there is still an increasing trend of complications during pregnancy compared to previous decades. One study completed by Blue Cross found that a greater number of women are starting pregnancy with pre-existing conditions, and the number of women experiencing both pregnancy and childbirth complications is on the rise. Addressing some of these health concerns early on is imperative to improving birth outcomes.
Unfortunately, many of these complications are experienced disproportionately amongst minority women and women with lower household incomes. One tragic review found that the risk of death from childbirth complications was over three times higher for minority women than it was for white women. Many experts indicated that these increases are not necessarily linked directly to pregnancy, but rather to an increased likelihood of pre-existing conditions and a general lack of high-quality care to address issues.
Specialties in Nursing
Fortunately, there are a lot of opportunities to turn these statistics around in the healthcare field, especially within nursing. It is no secret that nurses are one of the most highly trusted groups of professionals — even more so than doctors — which can make the advice and recommendations they give particularly powerful. Career opportunities for nurses to work with babies are expansive and include options such as going into pediatrics, neonatal nursing, labor and delivery, or midwifery.
For example, becoming a nurse-midwife provides an unparalleled opportunity to interact directly with expecting parents and newborns when they arrive. Midwives are instrumental healthcare providers and are expected to do several tasks such as:
Providing prenatal care and advice to expecting parents.
Creating a birth plan and educating women about their birthing options.
Coordinating with medical doctors and specialists as necessary.
Treating routine health concerns during pregnancy.
Assisting in delivery and coaching.
Helping with breastfeeding consultation and other post-partum care.
A career path such as this also has the potential to make a positive impact on addressing disparities among minority women as well. Research suggests that more professionals dedicated to helping women throughout pregnancy and postpartum care can greatly reduce health risks. This appears to be especially true if minority nurses are working with minority patients.
Though many of the career options described above have a lot to do with directly caring for newborns, other surprising options may seem a little more distant. They are, however, every bit as essential to improving birth outcomes long-term. For instance, lactation consultants are valuable assets who work to help teach new mothers how to breastfeed properly.
Another career opportunity is becoming a birth or postpartum doula. This position essentially serves as a ‘super coach’ for expectant mothers. They do everything from providing aromatherapy and massage to helping design an organized and effective baby nursery. Doulas can play a major role in helping mothers with pre-existing conditions plan healthy meals or monitor their conditions to ensure everything continues to go smoothly for mother and baby.
Some people even specialize in prenatal or infant massage as a means of helping mothers and babies. Prenatal massage requires special certification that teaches therapists how to relax and ease strain without harming pregnant bellies. Similarly, infant massage professionals help early babies improve blood flow and strengthen their tiny muscles.
There is certainly an abundance of healthcare and nursing-specific careers that can allow for direct interaction with newborns and their families. Caring professionals in these types of fields can make a substantial positive difference in birth outcomes. This is especially true in areas where access to healthcare isn’t always as prevalent.