There comes a time when some nurses are just sick of the day to day dramas of dealing patients and their families. But is there anything a nurse can do that doesn’t involve dealing directly with patients?
Of course there is! Nurses have established themselves in almost all aspects of the healthcare system, from face-to-face patient interactions, through to laboratory and executive roles, nurses are everywhere! You can read about the roles of nurses in Australia for a better idea of the levels of nurse employment and training available.
Not all nurses get into the profession wanting to work in the clinical setting directly with patients. Other nurses reach a point where they are no longer physically able to keep up with the demands of working on the wards, be it from injury or age. Their options are not limited to management or on the ward roles. The nurse can expand into a wide variety of specialties and roles within the ever expanding and diversifying health care system.
The direction the nurse takes is greatly dependant of their level of experience. A new grad is not likely to be hired into an executive or management role, while a highly experienced nurse will stand a much better chance. The roles available will also depend on the nurse’s area of practice, specialisations and physical location. There is also the option to build a lifestyle around nursing specialties, a good example of which is nursing on a cruise ship. Who wouldn’t want to be paid for an extended vacation?
Here is a non-exhaustive list of the top five non-patient centered nursing roles, in no particular order.
Academic Nurse Author
This position will generally require a postgraduate qualification, but if you’re good at writing and have a wealth of clinical experience behind you, you could author textbooks for nurse education. These positions may often be associated with a nurse education roles in universities and colleges.
A nurse educator, also known as an academic nurse works in tertiary education facilities such as universities and colleges to train new nurses in the vocational and technical skills required in today’s graduate nurses. This can be a challenging and fast paced role as methodologies and practice guidelines change, requiring the nurse educator to keep abreast of the latest in medical and nursing research.
The nurse researcher undertakes research into the effectiveness of current nursing practices and seeks out ways to improve those practices and patient outcomes. This role is usually associated with a university or college position and may involve nurse educator responsibilities alongside funded research projects for the University.
This role may still involve direct patient interaction in order to gather statistical data and evaluate efficacy of the practices, but the nurse will generally not be involved in direct patient care.
This role still involves directly caring for patients, but the nurse will often work away from the hospital setting in a place of business, usually serving the employees of the business by leading programs that promote healthy living and safety in the workplace. Occupational nurses will generally have an expanded scope of practice which allows them to operate independently.
Examples of occupational nurses include nurses employed in mines and cruise ships.
Executive nurses are usually highly experienced nurses who have shifted their focus to a leadership role focussed on managing patient needs and administration, as well as staff training and requirements. The key role of the executive nurse is to design and implement patient care systems and foster a healthy working environment for junior nurses.
Although the executive nurse may be involved in treating patients, they do not often interact with the patient in a clinical capacity.