The word “nurse” brings a very specific picture to mind for most of us. We
picture someone in scrubs working in a hospital or a clinic, helping to treat
patients at the bedside and making rounds. But the skill set developed through
nursing opens up entire worlds beyond that traditional environment. Nursing
jobs away from the bedside are challenging, rewarding and not at all what you’d
In this article, we’ll go over some non-bedside nursing jobs and what they entail. We’ll talk about the duties of those nurses, the environments in which they work, and in some cases, what they can expect to earn. If you’re looking to move your career into a more interesting phase, you might consider pursuing a non-traditional nursing career.
From summer camp programs to the NASCAR racetrack, some surprising places need
medical professionals on hand. These career options could offer more work-life
stability, travel opportunities or a shot of adrenaline.
1. Cruise Ship Nurse
A nurse working in this role would help care for a cruise ship’s passengers and staff as part of the ship’s medical personnel. Depending on the size of the ship, the medical facilities could be quite state-of-the-art, rivaling an emergency room in a hospital on land. Cruise ship nurses work in the infirmary and report to the chief nurse. Working in this role requires at least two years of emergency care experience and an advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) certification. Working on a cruise ship brings these nurses into contact with people from all over the world, and of course, offers the opportunity to travel. Nursing staff on a cruise ship are divided into three distinct categories: chief nurse, nurse practitioner and staff nurse. Duties here are much the same as nursing on land, but a cruise ship nurse could accompany a patient if they must be evacuated from the ship to land. Tours of duty are six months long, with two months off afterward.
2. Camp Nurse
If you’re someone who prefers the outdoors and doesn’t like to stay in one place for very long, camp nursing could be for you. There are myriad camp organizations that employ camp nurses. There are camps for children diagnosed with cancer, adults with mental disabilities or camps that center around an activity like whitewater rafting or horseback riding. The Association of Camp Nurses (ACN) lists opportunities on their website, so you can browse through them and see which one most closely fits your background. Those with experience in emergency care or pediatrics would be well-suited, and an ability to make decisions independently is key, as camp nurses often work alone. According to PayScale, camp nurses can expect to earn between $22-$41 per hour.
3. Correctional Nurse/Prison Nurse
A nurse working in this role will often be the first person to see an inmate
about a health complaint. A correctional nurse will assess the patient and
determine the requirements of care the same as they would if they were working
in a hospital. They conduct intake screenings, work in chronic care clinics to
help inmates manage chronic conditions, keep track of medications so they
aren’t misused and provide what’s known as “sick call” services. Sick call is
when an inmate requests to see a nurse for a sudden issue, which can result in
an appointment with a physician. This role could also offer the opportunity to
become a coordinator for programs like prison hospice care, in which inmates
are trained to take care of their peers during the final phase of their lives
4. Clinical Nurse Educator/RN Medical
This may be one of the more well-known non-bedside nursing careers, in which an experienced nursing professional opts to instruct others in the practices and techniques of the job. Nurse educators can work in a classroom setting in a university or nursing school, as well as in the field with nurses-in-training or with those who need a clinical education, such as people who work in insurance or public healthcare workers. Because being employed in this role often requires a bachelor’s or other advanced degree, nurse educators can train medical staff to instruct non-medical personnel in medical procedures and equipment. A very high satisfaction rate is reported with this job, and the median salary is just over $75,000 per year, according to PayScale.
5. Nurse Writer/Medical Writer
A background in or passion for writing as well as experience in healthcare can be leveraged into a career as a nurse writer. Their job is to write up training materials, manuals and educational papers for their employers. Nurse writers usually work for a healthcare provider, pharmaceutical company, medical equipment company or something in a similar vein. They must be able to research well, express specialized information in a readable manner and conduct interviews, similar to the duties of a journalist. PayScale reported that job satisfaction rates for this role are also high, and the median salary is similar to that of a nurse educator at just over $70,000 per year.
6. NASCAR Nurse
NASCAR drivers are just as much athletes as players in the NBA or NFL are, and the sport is one of the most popular in North America. When a driver has a crash, medical staff need to be on site to help. NASCAR nurses do initial assessments of the pit crew and drivers after an accident occurs, but a large part of their work is looking after the fans. This role can involve travel as well, if you’re working as an official part of the NASCAR team and following the races as they move across the country. NASCAR nurses also act as liaisons between the team and local medical staff working an event, making sure the proper equipment is on hand to handle anything from dehydration to lacerations and blunt force trauma.
7. Flight Nurse
Perhaps the most action-packed on this list of non-bedside nursing jobs, a flight nurse isn’t what you might think when reading the job title. Rather than working on an aircraft, flight nurse travel to remote locations not easily accessible to help the injured. They provide specialized, hospital-level care to their patients as they’re being airlifted to a medical facility. This can be at the scene of a major accident, between hospitals or in a remote wilderness location. Flight nurse Matt Tederman, in an interview with PBS, detailed the time he had to help a snowmobiler in the rural plains of Omaha with a neck laceration from barbed wire. Helping to bring that patient back, he says, was a reminder of why he does the job. This position requires a BSN and three to five years of experience working in the ER or intensive care unit (ICU).
8. Parish Nurse
Last on our list of non-bedside nursing jobs is the parish nurse. Parish
nurses care for the members of a parish or religious congregation. They
approach their work differently than the other people on this list as they
integrate elements of faith into their work alongside medicine. Relatively new
as nursing specialties go, it was only recognized as such in 1998. Parish
nurses work mostly in churches, but you can also find them in hospitals or
social service agencies, as many hospitals have chapel areas set aside for
people to worship. If a hospital is faith-based, it’s more likely to employ
parish nurses. The duties of a parish nurse include visiting patients,
mentoring members of their religious community, acting as a patient advocate
and starting support groups. Parish nurses are required to hold active RN licenses
and have practiced as an RN for two years or more.
Want to Take the Next Step?
If getting outside of the hospital sounds like the next step in your career, Fairleigh Dickinson University can help you get there. Our accredited RN to BSN online program trains working nurses to deliver comprehensive care to individuals and families in all environments so that you’ll have the skills necessary to become competitive in the job market. If you already have your BSN and are looking to advance your knowledge and care practices, consider our MSN nurse educator online program. We’ll prepare you to become an instructor in collegiate nursing programs. Through a state-of-the-art curriculum, you’ll acquire the training you need to effectively work with students, parents and patients.
This sponsored post is brought to you by Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Janice Beitz, a professor in the Rutgers-Camden School of Nursing, has been named a fellow of the National Academies of Practice (NAP). She will be inducted in March at an annual meeting for NAP, an interprofessional, national organization that advises governmental bodies on health care delivery in the United States.
Beitz stated in a press release, “The fellowship in the National Academies of Practice will provide an opportunity for me to influence quality patient care for the future. I am honored to be able to influence decisions based on my clinical expertise and scholarship regarding safe, effective patient care.”
Beitz is an expert in wound, ostomy, and continence care, with more than 40 years of nursing experience in acute, sub-acute, and outpatient care settings. She is the director of the graduate-level Rutgers University‒Camden Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing Education Program and board certified as an adult clinical specialist in medical-surgical nursing, and as a nurse of the operating room.
As a nursing educator, Beitz has also created wound/ostomy/continence and perioperative nursing care programs that have been recognized with awards from the Pennsylvania League for Nursing, the WOCN Society Northeast Region, and the American Professional Wound Care Association. Beitz is also a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN) and a member of the Academy of Nursing Education Fellows (ANEF) for her innovations in improving clinical practice and patient safety through education, practice, and research.
To learn more about Janice Beitz, a professor in the Rutgers-Camden School of Nursing, who has been named a fellow of the National Academies of Practice, visit here.
Experience in New Jersey showed programs faltered without strong leaders
Effective leadership is crucial to the success of initiatives like implementing a nurse residency program in a post-acute care (PAC) setting. These programs can be a valuable asset for recruiting, educating, and retaining nurses in a healthcare environment that’s increasingly in need of skilled and knowledgeable staff.
The New Jersey Action Coalition (NJAC) launched a statewide nurse residency program in 2014, achieving a retention rate of 86%. New nurses and their experienced preceptors attended interactive, in-person education. Preceptors then applied their new knowledge to helping their new nurses become competent and engaged. The success of their experiences depended on many things; a nurse leader who championed the program in the clinical setting was often a linchpin.
Effective leaders elucidated the benefits of participation to administration and staff, justifying the expense of sending nurses to the program. Continuing leadership ensured new nurses and preceptors were given time to attend class and to meet regularly, and were given encouragement when difficulties arose.
Perhaps even more importantly, wise nurse leaders were open to ideas that participating nurses brought back to the workplace. For a facility to benefit fully from the education, it had to be willing to embrace fresh strategies.
In the NJAC experience, it became clear that when a nurse leader resigned, the program often lost its main advocate. Negative effects were seen in reduced attendance and support for nurse resident/preceptor activities at the facility, such as performance improvement project work. Nurse leaders provide preceptors with the organizational support for what can be a stressful role. Leadership is also required for the maintenance of a healthy work environment in order to retain nurses.
Qualitative research completed during the project revealed that new nurses clearly see the need for robust leadership. Their comments about the needs of PACs yielded a desire for “visionary, hands-on management” and “teamwork, respect, and kindness between colleagues.” Such insights from new nurses indicate that PACs are ripe for organizational culture change through imaginative and innovative leadership.
NJAC offers this advice for nurse leaders considering a nurse residency program:
- Know your costs for vacant positions (from overtime to onboarding). Quantifying savings achieved by improving retention via a residency program substantiates the return on investment.
- Choose preceptors wisely. Look for knowledge, skill, ability to use clinical teaching strategies, and dedication to helping nurses thrive. The importance for a good fit between preceptor and nurse resident was apparent in the NJAC experience and identified by Moore & Cagle (2012) and Richards & Bowles (2012). Once preceptors are chosen, invest in their education. Remember, precepting requires that even the most expert nurses acquire a new set of skills.
- Dedicate resources for success: time; space; supplies and computer/Internet access. Enlist other professionals, such as therapists, who have much to offer a novice nurse. Modify policies, job descriptions, and clinical assignments as needed.
- Prepare for bumps in the road and stay actively involved. Check in regularly with preceptors and new nurses to offer advice, problem solving, praise, and inspiration.
- Explore the wealth of literature available. NJAC and Rutgers School of Nursing have just published Developing a Residency in Post-Acute Care. Its guidance on implementing a residency program and detailed lesson plans will be valuable to nurse leaders/educators working with new nurses.
- Once the new nurse is ready for new challenges, identify opportunities such as committee membership and performance improvement projects to enhance developing professionalism, meaningful engagement, and retention.
One of the often-quoted pearls of wisdom stressed to nurses in the NJAC program is to “lead from wherever you are.” Implementing a nurse residency program is one way for PAC leaders to do just that. The rewards will be worth the voyage through uncharted waters.
This story was originally posted on MedPage Today.
The National League for Nursing’s (NLN) Academy of Nursing Education recently named Marie O’Toole, a nursing professor at Rutgers University-Camden, a fellow. NLN fellows are selected for their contributions to nursing education — as teachers, mentors, scholars, public policy advocates, practice partners, administrators, and more. O’Toole was one of 16 nurses selected nationwide for the distinction in 2018, recognized for their leadership and expertise in nursing education.
O’Toole serves as senior associate dean in the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden and is a registered nurse in New Jersey and New York. She began her career serving as a staff nurse at the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania before serving as a nursing instructor at Rutgers–Camden and going on to serve a 35-year academic career at several notable institutions. She has also served as the associate dean for the Stratford campus for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Nursing, which is now a part of Rutgers University. O’Toole attended the University of Pennsylvania for her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, and earned her doctoral degree from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education.
O’Toole tells news.camden.rutgers.edu, “I am proud to be a part of a growing, thriving academic community that strives to make a difference in its home city of Camden and also is committed to scholarship that distinguishes it on an international level.”
O’Toole was the recipient of a Fulbright Specialist grant in education in 2016-17 that allowed her to teach and study at Jordan University of Science and Technology in Irbid, Jordan. The grant recognized O’Toole’s innovative work in developing and implementing global nurse education programs with partners in other countries. In the 1990s, she worked with the nonprofit organization Health Volunteers Overseas on a project funded by the US Agency for International Development to develop baccalaureate nursing education in Vietnam. She also served as the principal investigator for a grant funded by the US Department of Education and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture to create the first undergraduate, dual-degree program in nursing addressing the growing need for international recognition of nursing education to facilitate efficient emigration of nurses.
To learn more about Marie O’Toole, a nursing professor at Rutgers University-Camden who was recently named a fellow in the National League for Nursing’s Academy of Nursing Education, visit here.
The Rutgers University School of Nursing recently received $12.5 million to improve sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and treatment among people living with or at risk for HIV. In the US, STIs are on the rise with a record-breaking 2.3 million cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia diagnosed in 2017.
Rutgers HIV expert John Nelson, PhD, CNS, CPNP, principal investigator for the new $12.5 million initiative, tells Nursing.Rutgers.edu, “Common STIs are not only a major health concern on their own, they are also known to increase the risk of both transmitting and acquiring HIV…Despite national recommendations, routine STI testing and prevention are often lacking in primary care for people living with HIV. Now, with the ongoing opioid epidemic, risky behaviors associated with substance use, development of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea, and decreased condom use by high-risk individuals, we’re facing a perfect storm related to the spread of common STIs.”
Rutgers School of Nursing is aiming to help reverse this trend with a new federally funded project that will work to improve STI screening and treatment practices in some of the nation’s hardest hit regions, especially among people living with or at risk for HIV.
The project, Improving Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening and Treatment among People Living with or at Risk for HIV, was awarded to Rutgers School of Nursing’s François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center. The $12,417,717 award is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
To learn more about the Rutgers University School of Nursing’s $12.5 million award to help improve STI testing, visit here.
Seton Hall University’s College of Nursing, School of Health and Medical Sciences, and the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine recently received an interprofessional training grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, designed to expand patient access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.
The Seton Hall University and Hackensack Meridian Health Interprofessional Medication-Assisted Treatment Training Program has been approved as a $404,905 commitment over three years. The project will be led by Kathleen Neville from the College of Nursing, Laura Goshko from the School of Health and Medical Sciences, and Stanley R. Terlecky from the School of Medicine, ensuring that all adult-gerontology nurse-practitioner, physician assistant, and physician students educated at the three schools will receive interprofessional didactic instruction and clinical supervision related to opioid use disorder and medication-assisted treatment plans.
Seton Hall University Dean Marie Foley tells SHU.edu, “Watching the opioid epidemic escalate and the devastation it creates to individuals, families and communities is heartbreaking. Being awarded this competitive grant and having the opportunity to hopefully make a difference by educating future health care providers to be able to prescribe medication-assisted treatment and to gain knowledge regarding the disease will be a most meaningful contribution.”
The project directors remain highly committed to their collaborate partnership to address the opioid epidemic in New Jersey. To learn more about Seton Hall University’s grant to help expand access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders, visit here.