Career Development

4 Nursing Career Paths for RNs Who Aren’t Ready to Retire

4 Nursing Career Paths for RNs Who Aren’t Ready to Retire

By Michelle Davelaar PA-C, MMS, Contributor

Nursing career paths that stray a bit from the mainstream may be the perfect prescription for nurses who feel the need for a change, but aren’t quite ready to hang up the stethoscope just yet. 

And if you think a different nursing career path is out of the question, think again. Many of these career options are perfectly suited for a seasoned veteran. Each option offers unique opportunities to grow personally and professionally, while continuing to share the nursing skills and expertise you’ve acquired over your more traditional nursing career path.

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4 Different Nursing Career Paths to Consider

1. Travel Nursing

Want to experience new places and get paid to do it? Then travel nursing is the perfect option for you. Travel nurses  fill in during shortages at hospitals and facilities, working assignments that last between 8-13 weeks in different parts of the country. 

One of the biggest perks of this career path is how flexible it is. Work when and where you want, and travel in state or across the country. Travel nursing allows you to choose your assignments based on your needs and preferences. 

While the pay packages do vary, they often include daily stipends for expenses such as transportation, housing and food. Learn more about the many benefits of travel

2. Home Health Nursing

Experienced nurses often find home health a welcomed change of pace. Their skills are a perfect match to meet the continuing demand for high quality, cost-saving care. Home health nurses typically work shorter hours, have less physical demands, and work more independently and autonomously than full-time, hospital-based nurses. 

If you’re looking to work on a more personal, intimate basis with your patients, home health can provide a renewed sense of meaning and purpose in your work.

3. Volunteer Nursing

Another altruistic nursing career path, volunteer nursing allows you the opportunity to share your skills and knowledge with those who are most in need. Opportunities are endless and can include giving back to your community by working with foster children, the homeless, or at a local community health clinic.

If you want to contribute a little farther from home, seasoned volunteer nurses are always welcomed by disaster response groups like the  Red Cross or medical mission groups working in developing countries.

4. Telemedicine Nursing

If you’re tech savvy and want to work from virtually anywhere, telemedicine is a budding option that’s about to boom. A recent IHS Technology Report predicts that the global healthcare market will expand exponentially by the year 2018. As reimbursement woes and access to care issues continue to grow, many hospitals, clinics, and insurers are turning to telemedicine as a viable, safe, and cost-effective alternative method of care.

Far from just answering the phone, telemedicine nurses need a wide skill set. From webcam triage to home visits, nurses with geriatric, family practice, palliative and/or wound or ostomy care experience often work autonomously, on the front lines as the first link in the health care team.

Is It Time to Change Your Nursing Career Path?

Only you can answer for sure, but these alternatives allow the ability to continue working and taking care of others while simultaneously offering you a change of scenery and a break from the more traditional nursing career. 

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