Nursing Careers outside the Hospital
Mid-career nurses who want to reinvent themselves without starting over can apply their clinical skills and experience outside of the hospital. Take a look at these career possibilities. Perhaps one of them is the key to helping you rediscover your passion for nursing.
Want to strike out on your own? Many nurses carve out lucrative niches as consultants, offering data analysis, strategic planning, project management or architectural services.
Gwen Uman, PhD, RN, is one of them. As the cofounder of Vital Research, a Los Angeles data-analysis firm, Uman began by analyzing dissertation data for fellow graduate students. Her business grew as her clients moved up the career ladder. Today, her company designs research studies, develops custom surveys, and provides qualitative and quantitative data analysis and results interpretation. Clients include clinicians, healthcare providers, trade associations, professional organizations, government entities, consumer groups, and such non-healthcare groups as school districts, universities and credit unions.
"Beyond health and methodology expertise, consultants must have the ability to communicate in a language the client understands - basic English, not research jargon, " Uman explains. "You need a feel for the client's content area and must be able to market and sell your services. That includes closing a deal, estimating jobs accurately and figuring out market-rate pricing."
Medical Office Manager
Nurses are well-suited to running a physician's office, a hectic job requiring a wide range of skills and constant multitasking. "With HIPAA, OSHA and compliance laws at every turn, this position is much more complex today, " says J. Roger Landers, executive director of the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM). Landers suggests that nurses break in as a billing supervisor or coding supervisor at a group practice and then work their way up to office manager.
PAHCOM, the Practice Management Institute and the Association of Registered Health Care Professionals all offer certification programs. While most older office managers learned on the job, some schools now offer associate's degrees in healthcare office management.
But be forewarned: According to PAHCOM's 2004 salary survey, medical office managers earned just under $61, 000 in salary and benefits. This may not be competitive with the compensation nurses can earn in hospitals, Landers says.
Research nurses are the eyes, ears and hands that conduct much of today's clinical research. Working with the principal investigator and research coordinators, staff research nurses participate in clinical trials that evaluate new drugs and medical devices. They evaluate potential studies, screen and schedule patients, conduct patient visits according to protocols, review patient progress and help report study results.
Are the scrubs nurses and doctors wear outside the hospital the same ones they wear inside it?
Yes, for non-surgical nurses and non-surgical doctors, the scrubs you see people wearing outside of the hospital are the same scrubs they wear within the hospital. And there is nothing wrong with this at all.
Any worry about filth is irrational. Why? Because nurses and doctors are trained to keep any patient's risk of infection completely clean and separate from any contaminants. In other words, they are not rubbing their scrubs on your open wounds. If there is any risk that is greater than that of "normal", medical practitioners put on a sterile gown over the scrubs, sterile gloves, et…