Nurses are often viewed as the cornerstone of healthcare. This is because they work day in and day out to provide direct patient care under the guidance of skilled physicians and specialists. Because nurses work directly with patients as well as with physicians, they are given a certain perspective into both sides of healthcare. They often serve as advocates for patients as well as the facilitators of quality healthcare.
Furthermore, there are a great many career options available to nurses that range in specialty and levels of responsibility. While many nurses choose to practice as registered nurses (RN) for the duration of their careers working in more traditional nursing roles, others opt to go different routes with their careers.
If you are interested in the field of nurses and would like to explore the many options that are available to nurses today, here are four unique career options that you can consider.
1. Family Nurse Practitioner
There is no denying the fact that there currently exists a shortage of qualified physicians in the world of medicine today. Because of this shortage, there are many areas of the country that are underserved and in need of quality healthcare. For this reason, the powers that be have seen fit to allow nurses a certain level to practice very much in the same way as a physician would in the family practice setting.
Such a nurse is called a family nurse practitioner (FNP). An FNP is a nurse who has opted to earn an advanced degree in either the form of a master’s degree or a doctorate. Equipped with such education as well as the experience that an RN obtains on the job, FNPs are more than prepared to administer healthcare in an independent fashion.
Not all states permit FNPs to practice completely independently of physician supervision. For this reason, if you wish to practice in this manner in your own career, you should first research the state in which you reside. You might very well be able to own and run your very own practice.
2. Nurse Midwife
Another role in the world of nursing that requires additional education in the form of a master’s degree is that of a nurse midwife. In this role, a nurse works with expectant mothers in order to provide healthcare throughout pregnancy. They also assist with labor and delivery either independently or in conjunction with an OB-GYN. Nurse midwifes also administer healthcare in the months following the delivery of a child.
There was once a time when the overwhelming majority of expectant mothers would only receive the healthcare they need at the hands of a physician. However, many women today seek a more holistic and natural approach to pregnancy, labor, and delivery that is administered by a fully qualified healthcare professional. This is where the nurse midwife has become a more popular choice for this incredibly personal, and at times, volatile period in a woman’s life.
3. Flight Nurse
One job in the field of nursing that is both unique and rather exciting is that of a flight nurse. These are RNs who have gained specific experience working in an intensive care unit or emergency room who then decide to work specifically in patient transport. However, the method in which such patients are transported is by air.
Flight nurses accompany patients during transport by aircraft. Patients who are critically ill or who are being rescued with a severe injury need such nurses by their side in order to ensure that the transport goes smoothly. These nurses must be ready for anything and will work directly with paramedics and other healthcare professionals in order to ensure the safe transport of their patients.
4. Health Policy Nurse
If you are interested in a career in nursing that doesn’t involve direct patient care, you might consider a career as a health policy nurse. These are nurses who wish to take their experience and knowledge directly to those who create and implement healthcare policy. Because nurses have experience working with patients directly as well as with physicians and specialists on the other side of healthcare, their opinions and views are incredibly valuable in such roles.
Health policy nurses can work in a variety of settings. They might work in the realm of politics, as all too often healthcare and politics are intertwined. They might also choose to work on the research side of policy striving to develop the best policies for the world of medicine.