Top 20 Non-Bedside Nursing Jobs
Hospitals will always need bedside care, but more and more nurses are looking for non-bedside nursing jobs these days. Anyone can understand why you might be looking to make a career change as a nurse.
Fortunately, the medical field has been growing more flexible in recent decades. Career opportunities for nurses beyond the bedside are no longer limited to school nurses, nursing homes, or home health jobs. Read on for jobs that will take you out of patient care while still allowing you to use your nursing skills.
The Best Non-Bedside Jobs for Nurses
When you’re ready for a non-bedside nursing job to challenge your nursing skills and give your years of experience at the bedside a new use, consider these possibilities:
- Aesthetic/Cosmetic Nurse
- Nurse Educator
- Telehealth Nurse
- Informatics Nurse
- Nurse Case Manager
- Nurse Administrator
- Legal Nurse Consultant
- Flight Nurse
- Forensic Nurse
- Correctional Nurse
- School Nurse
- Utilization Review Nurse
- Public Health Nurse
- Infection Control Nurse
- Cruise Ship Nurse
- Nurse Recruiter
- Nurse Health Coach
- Nurse Writer
- Medical Device or Pharmaceutical Sales
- Certified Diabetes Educator
Aesthetic nurses work in private offices or day med spas providing services such as,
- Injections of dermal fillers and Botox neurotoxin
- Tattoo removal
- Non-surgical body contouring
ZipRecruiter reports that the average annual pay for a cosmetic nurse is $89,970. However, some cosmetic nurses are earning as much as $138,500. The range is typically between $72,500 to $104,000.
To become an aesthetic or cosmetic nurse, you will first need to earn your BSN and pass the NCLEX examination. Experience is essential to becoming a successful aesthetic nurse. Aspiring aesthetic nurses must spend a minimum of two years working with a board-certified physician in plastic/aesthetic/cosmetic surgery, dermatology, or facial plastic surgery.
Nurse educators can shape the future of patient care, both at the bedside and throughout the nursing profession. Nurse Educators develop coursework curricula, teach courses, evaluate educational programs, oversee clinical rotations, and conduct research.
The average annual salary for nurse educators in post-secondary universities is $84,180 (BLS, May 2022).
To teach nursing, you’ll likely need a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. You can also earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree that prepares you for leadership positions in multiple aspects of health care.
Telehealth nursing uses mobile phones, tablets, and computers to provide remote healthcare and medical education.
Telehealth nursing has been around since the 1990s but wasn’t widely adopted until the COVID-19 pandemic closed doors across the globe. Fortunately, patients and healthcare providers have embraced telehealth medical care to deliver high-quality and efficient healthcare to people in the comfort of their own homes.
One of the most significant benefits of telehealth nursing is that many nurses can provide patient care from their own homes as well! This can be helpful for nurses who don’t want to work long 12+ hour shifts, commute through traffic, and deal with other scheduling inefficiencies that can come with working in a medical facility.
Telehealth nursing requires a minimum of an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or BSN for employment. Nurses may also be required to complete telehealth nurse training and obtain certification in telehealth nursing from the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN).
The need to analyze and control healthcare costs has driven a surge in informatics as a nursing specialty. Effective nursing informatics can help to rein in health care costs at hospitals and other medical facilities. Plus, informaticists can also help bedside nurses care for patients more efficiently by improving systems. As a bonus, you could likely work from home.
The 2023 Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey found that 60% of nurse informaticists report a salary greater than $100,000. This is up from 49% in 2020, 45% in 2017, and 33% in 2014.
To get into the field of health informatics, registered nurses typically need at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) and experience working with electronic healthcare records.
Along with a BSN and a few years of clinical experience, you’d need strong computer skills and an ability to analyze data and statistics to make this transition. If you work for a large public or university hospital, your facility may hire informaticists.
A nurse case manager helps manage the holistic care of patients to decrease readmission, thus, keeping patients out of hospitals.
The Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC) expects an increase in the demand for nurse case managers as the baby boomer generation continues to age. Case managers are especially important to patients with chronic illnesses such as arthritis.
Case managers can choose many places of employment, including clinics, hospitals, health facilities, and in many areas of the public and nonprofit sectors. They also have a chance to specialize in their passionate areas, such as addiction, pediatrics, child welfare, aging, long-term care, immigration, occupational services, and more.
The average base salary for a nurse case manager in 2023 is $77,104, according to Payscale.
To become a case manager, you will need to earn a BSN and pass the NCLEX examination. After obtaining nursing experience, apply for a position specializing in case management. While not required, specialty certification should be considered.
Nurse administrators manage staffing and business matters within hospitals, medical centers, and outpatient or clinic settings. Wherever there is a team of nurses, you will also find one or more nurse administrators to ensure that healthcare operations and staffing are safe and effective.
Nurse administrators oversee and manage staff to ensure quality patient care. There are many types of nurse administrator roles, which can include:
- Nurse Managers
- Unit Directors
- Health Informatics Managers
- Human Resource Managers
- Facility Managers
- Outpatient Managers
- Clinic Managers
Nurse administrators do not provide direct patient care at the bedside. Instead, they manage nursing staff who do. As leaders in the healthcare setting, nurse administrators do the following:
- Manage staff scheduling
- Write reports
- Attend meetings with other administrators
- Manage budgets to ensure cost-effectiveness
- Ensure nursing staff provides the highest level of safe patient care
The BLS states that medical and health service managers earned a median annual salary of $104,830 or $50.40 per hour in 2022. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $64,100, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $209,990.
Although the minimum education in many facilities is a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), most healthcare institutions require a minimum of a Master’s Degree of Science (MSN), specializing in nursing administration.
Legal nurse consultants can be hired by insurance companies, attorney firms, prosecution offices, law enforcement forensic departments, pharmaceutical companies, clinics, and government agencies.
Payscale reports the average annual salary of legal nurse consultants as $86,243 or $49.32 per hour.
To become a legal nurse consultant you will need to earn a BSN and pass the NCLEX examination. After obtaining significant nursing experience, apply for a position specializing in legal nurse consulting.
Although it’s not mandatory, the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC) offers a training course and certification examination for those hoping to become legal nurse consultants.
Bedside nurses who enjoy critical/emergency care may enjoy the challenges of flight nursing. Flight nurses help transport critical patients via helicopter or airplane.
Often, flight nurses transport patients from the scenes of accidents to trauma centers. They also deliver patients from small hospitals to higher-level trauma centers.
Flight nurses do work that resembles emergency room or ICU nursing but in less predictable environments and often with fewer resources.
Glassdoor reports that the average salary for a flight nurse is $127,970 as of May 2023, although there can be a wide range and flight nurses most likely can earn significantly more.
To become a flight nurse, you will first need to earn your BSN and pass the NCLEX. You must then gain 3-5 years of ICU or ED nursing experience. Certification as a Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN) from the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) is required for most flight nursing positions.
Forensic nurses help solve crimes and collect evidence. They can also help a coroner determine a cause of death.
But they’re still nurses first: They provide compassionate care to crime victims and survivors of natural disasters. Forensic nurses can also testify in court during criminal trials.
If you live in a larger city such as Philadelphia, Seattle, Los Angeles, Miami, or New York, you’ll have more access to job opportunities in this new and emerging field.
Check with city and county law enforcement departments in your community to look for jobs. If you’re particularly passionate about this career path, appeal to your city leaders to add forensic nursing to your local police department.
Forensic nurses must first earn their BSN and then pass the NCLEX examination. Forensic nursing employers most often will prefer that you have prior clinical nursing experience. A background in medical-surgical, pediatric, or psychiatric nursing (for nurses wishing to pursue forensic psychiatric nursing).
Correctional nurses work in correctional facilities, prisons, and detention centers alongside other inmates. The work is essential to keep inmates healthy and prevent them from needing medical care in a hospital.
Payscale.com reports an annual average salary of $71,001 or $32.45 per hour. Correctional nurses employed by the federal government are paid based on the federal pay scale that includes numerous factors.
After earning a nursing degree and passing the NCLEX examination, it’s important to gain substantial bedside experience.
The National Commission on Correctional Health Care offers the CCHP-RN certification to eligible individuals. Prior to obtaining the CCHP-RN certification individuals must earn the CCHP certification.
If children have always been your favorite patient population, or you just need a change of pace from working with adults, then becoming a school nurse may be an excellent fit for you!
Some of the benefits of becoming a school nurse include:
- Only work during school hours (M-F)
- Never work on weekends or holidays
- If you have small children of your own, you can expect to have the same work schedule as their school schedule.
- Summers off
ZipRecruiter estimates that as of May 2023, school nurses in the U.S. earn an average salary of $65,048 per year or $31.00 per hour, with top earners making $90,000 annually across the United States.
Educational requirements are subject to the state of employment. Due to this, it is common for state requirements to vary greatly. It is very common for school nurses to possess a Master of Science in Nursing or a Master’s in Education.
Utilization review nurses ensure that patients receive the care they need while also preventing unnecessary or duplicate services. They work with patients, families, and healthcare staff to make sure that everyone is on the same page regarding the care plan. They also work with insurance companies to ensure coverage for the services provided.
UR nurses typically work full-time hours in hospitals, but some may also work in private practices or insurance companies, and some can even work from home.
ZipRecruiter reports an average annual salary of $57,841 for utilization review nurses. The majority of Utilization Review Specialist salaries currently range between $38,000 to $65,500.
After earning a BSN in nursing and passing the NCLEX exam, it is important to gain experience at the bedside. Nurses can expect to gain experience as an acute care nurse for at least two to three years. After finding a position as a UR nurse, you will want to obtain specialty certification.
As opposed to bedside nurses who work one-on-one with patients, public health nurses promote the health of an entire population. Some of the tasks they perform include:
- Providing health screenings
- Identifying prominent health issues and risk factors within a community
- Developing and implementing health education campaigns
- Giving vaccines
- Managing blood drives
Many public health nurses work with underserved communities who otherwise would not have access to healthcare in their communities.
According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly salary as of May 2023 for public health nurses is $36.00, and an average annual salary of $75,340.
The minimum education required to become a public health nurse is an ADN. However, like most other nursing specialties, most employers prefer a BSN or higher level of education. In addition, most public health employers require at least a few years of clinical bedside experience for employment consideration.
Nurses with a BSN who have a minimum of 5 years of public health experience can also earn a Certification in Public Health (CPH) through the National Board of Public Health Examiners.
If you like working in the hospital setting and enjoy conducting research, you may want to consider becoming an infection control nurse.
Infection Control Nurses, also known as Infection Prevention Nurses, help identify and prevent the spread of disease within a healthcare setting. They are highly trained and educated in spreading infectious diseases and outbreaks. Infection Control nurses are also responsible for communicating the best infection prevention practices to staff to provide the highest quality of patient care possible.
ZipRecruiter reports an average annual salary of $87,739 or $42.00 per hour for infection control nurses.
For consideration as an Infection Control Nurse, employers usually require a minimum of a few years of experience in a clinical setting role and a BSN. However, some employers may require an MSN.
You may also be required to complete a certain amount of infection control training and pass a Certification Infection Control (CIC) exam from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
A beyond-the-bedside job search could land you in a position that resembles an ongoing vacation. In normal, non-pandemic times, cruise ships come and go from the nation’s Southern port cities every day. These ships have to bring healthcare providers like cruise ship nurses on board to care for their passengers.
ZipRecruiter estimates that cruise ship nurses earn an average of $75,776 per year, though they also estimate that more than half of current cruise ship nurses earn less.
To become a cruise ship nurse, you will need to earn a BSN and pass the NCLEX examination. Most cruise ships will require significant experience because there are limited supplies, resources, and medical professionals onboard.
Nurse recruiters help healthcare and medical companies fill staffing gaps. This allows hospitals and health facilities to provide safe and effective patient care and ensure that the business's operations continue to run smoothly.
Nurse recruiters help fill travel nursing positions, contract-nursing jobs, and career positions in every specialty you can imagine - even flight, cruise, and school nursing!
Many nurse recruiting companies prefer hiring nurses because they have first-hand knowledge of the career and what it takes to be a successful nurse.
According to ZipRecruiter, the median annual income for healthcare recruiters is $54,026. That median annual salary increases to $61,319 for nurse recruiters specifically. However, your income may vary depending on your location, employer, experience, and other factors.
There are no license requirements to be a healthcare recruiter. However, most companies prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree. However, educational requirements may vary based on the company.
Insurance companies often hire nurse health coaches to help policyholders sustain wellness after a procedure or surgery. You could also work as a freelance health coach, picking up clients from an insurance company or local healthcare provider.
ZipRecruiter reports that Nurse Health Coaches earn $65,158 annually or $31.00 an hour on average in 2023.
To become a nurse health coach, you will need to graduate with a nursing degree and pass the NCLEX examination. After gaining relevant nursing experience and securing a position as a nurse health coach, you can earn a specialty certification from the International Nurse Coaching Association.
Nursing school requires excellent communication and writing dozens, if not hundreds, of papers about healthcare. This is why some nurses may want to turn their skills into a new writing career.
Many nurse writers start their new careers writing part-time while working at the bedside. Some also say that they started writing to manage and process the stress they experienced as bedside nurses.
There are many types of nurse writers, which may include:
- Nurse bloggers
- Freelance health writers
- Breaking nurse news writers
- Nursing education writers
- Medical Writing
- Scientific Writing
Salaries for nurse medical writers may vary greatly depending on your position. Freelance writers have the ability to earn more than staff writers but also have the ability to work as much or as little as they want.
According to ZipRecruiter, nurse medical writers can earn an average annual salary of $80,647 or $39.00 per hour.
Many employers will require a BSN, although an ADN is the minimum educational requirement for registered nurses. Nurse medical writers may also want to become Medical Writer Certified (MWC) from the Medical Writing Certification Commission. This certification is geared more toward scientific literary medical writers.
If you want to use your clinical expertise to help patients live healthier lives working in the corporate world, medical or pharmaceutical sales might be an excellent opportunity for you!
Medical device and pharmaceutical companies employ salespeople to sell medications and medical equipment to physicians, hospitals, and offices. As a salesperson, you wouldn’t work directly with patients or families. Instead, you would educate physicians, nurses, and other staff on your company’s products.
ZipRecruiter reports hourly wages as high as $77.16 and as low as $11.06, but an average hourly wage of $35. The average annual salary is $73,084.
An RN license is not required for this position; however, it does make you more marketable to employers.
Some medical sales companies hire nurses to work as clinical nurse specialists (CNSs). This role is great for nurses who want to educate health providers on the clinical aspects of new products and work on a team with other salespeople.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 21 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes, while another 8 million have this condition but don’t know it yet. That’s a lot of people who will need help controlling their blood sugar in the next few years. This translates to job security for nurses who work as certified diabetes educators.
This role leaves plenty of room to develop long-term relationships with your patients, whom you can visit in their homes or meet within a clinic.
Salary.com reports an average salary of about $87,568 annually.
You would need a bachelor’s degree in nursing to begin your career as a certified diabetes educator. Most employers require two years of experience before you work on your own.
Bonus! 15 More Non-Bedside Nursing Careers
We asked our community what careers you should go after if you're burnt out at the bedside. Here's what they recommended:
- Clinical Nurse Specialist
- Clinical Nurse Instructor
- Clinical Nurse Leader
- Dermatology Nurse
- Home Health Nurse
- Occupational Health Nurse
- Psychiatric Nurse
- Nurse Navigator
- Research Nurse
- Telephone Triage Nurse
- OR nursing
- Community Health
- Outpatient care
- Employee health nurse
- Start your own business
Follow Your Passion to Heal Beyond the Bedside
Following your passion and your interests can grow into an amazing career in a non-bedside setting. You could end up helping people in ways you never imagined. You could end up working at a university, in the courtroom, or on a fantasy voyage in the Caribbean. It’s all up to where your dreams take you.
FAQs About Non-Bedside Nursing Jobs
What can I do with a nursing degree besides bedside nursing?
- RNs have many options beyond the bedside, such as in informatics, leadership, education, coaching, or entrepreneurship.
Do you have to do bedside nursing?
- You can become an RN without doing bedside nursing. Many nurses may work a few years in the bedside before moving to another role, however.
What is the least stressful job in nursing?
- School nursing, educational roles, and advanced practice nurse roles all have the lowest reported levels of stress.
What to do when you don't want to be a nurse anymore?
- RNs can pivot into many different types of jobs, from sales to leadership to business.
Why do nurses leave the bedside?
- Nurses may leave the bedside for many reasons, from their own health to stress to schedules to pursue other passions.
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