The Changing Role of Registered Nurses
Long before the 1870s when the first crop of nursing schools were founded in the United States, the act of providing nursing care had been a formal and informal vocation for thousands of years. The Civil War solidified the nation’s need for a national system of nursing education and standards of care; since then, the healthcare industry has modernized and diversified, and so has the profession of nursing. Since the days of musket rounds and battle cannons, nursing has evolved into an essential role in healthcare, from medical research hospitals to providing healthcare to students.
Nursing has evolved beyond the previous boundaries of the hospital, touching almost every realm of society where people need health care, and Concordia University Texas’ Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing represents part of that innovation. In honor of Nurse Appreciation Week, we want to highlight the changing role of registered nurses in industries you might not know about.
Health Coach & Care Planner
You can use your Concordia Texas’s BSN degree to help patients far beyond the bedside. Some BSN’s who want to move out of the clinical setting can start their own businesses as a health coach, care planner, or combine them into one business. After training and certification, health coaches and care planners may be hired by insurers and companies to help their workers and customers minimize their need for medical intervention. They can also assist patients with chronic illnesses as they plan for their long-term care needs. Patients and insurers use this knowledge to help lower healthcare costs.
Similar to a care planner, a nurse navigator helps patients with long-term illnesses sort through their insurance eligibility to find the best, most affordable care for patients. You may only work for a few hours per patient, but your insider knowledge of the hospital industry and insurance may help save your clients hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on what their care needs and insurance options are. If you love delving into paperwork and helping others navigate through their insurance options, this is the job for you.
Academic Nurse Writer
Technical writing is a highly marketable skill for the healthcare industry for people who have professional degrees in the field. As you might expect, just as education programs for nurses grow, so does the need for regularly-updated textbooks and educational materials. Writing nursing textbooks requires the kind of specialized knowledge built upon your baccalaureate degree. Textbook authors usually have minimum requirement of a master’s degree in nursing, which Concordia also offers. This is a viable option for nurses with graduate degrees who want to move away from the clinical environment.
Legal Nurse Consultant & Forensic Nurse Consultant
Both prosecutors and defense attorneys need experts to help them sift through medical records and help them decipher the meaning and purpose of various tests and procedures. You may be asked to testify in criminal or civil court on the findings of the medical records. This profession will require you to obtain extensive legal training and certification. During your ABSN track at Concordia Texas, you will have to take classes about the legal issues surrounding the health care industry. If you find these courses particularly compelling, you may want to consider employment as a Legal Nurse Consultant.
Similarly, you can use your BSN degree to move into the world of forensics, by helping investigators or defense attorneys determine the health status of a deceased person. As someone with experience searching out complex solutions to healthcare problems, you may be able to offer a unique facet of knowledge missed by the state’s investigators. This profession also requires some training and a certification exam.
Hospice nurses work for services that specialize in end-of-life care, either in hospice facilities or in the home. Your primary work will be alleviating pain and discomfort for the patient in your care, but a large part of your job will also be providing emotional and spiritual support for the family of your patient. Hospice nursing may also require some travel if you choose to do in-home care, and you will get some experience with hospice nursing as part of your ABSN curriculum at Concordia.
Public Health Nurse
Public Health Nurses are usually employed by the state, public, or government entities and focus on the health of the community at large. As a PHN, you may work on everything from immunization campaigns to public relations and education. You could work in a variety of settings, from a completely internal job within government organizations or schools, to doing community outreach with the public with campaigns about community health improvements. Community health care is one way you can impact many lives just by giving the public great information, while maintaining the core philosophy of nursing.
Occupational nurses are usually employed by businesses to be an in-house nurse for its employees, especially in manufacturing jobs where workers may come into contact with dangerous machinery on a regular basis. Unlike many of these other jobs, taking a job as an occupational nurse will not likely require you to get much outside training besides your BSN degree, though each place of employment may have different requirements. This is an opportunity to use your Concordia Texas BSN degree to help workers avoid injury and arthritis and by providing on-site care.
If you want to provide high-quality bedside care but you’d like to live in a more seasonal climate, you might find success working as a concierge nurse. This nursing job has its roots in the origins of the nursing profession, when medical professionals were “on call” and solely conducted home visits. As you might expect, regulations will vary according to the state and city you decide to set up your business, so be sure and consult your state board of nursing, obtain the proper business and nurse liability insurance, and consult the required experts such as attorneys and tax and accounting professionals. This is an opportunity to be both a caregiver and an entrepreneur, and our ABSN track can put you on the path to self-employment in paradise in less than two years.
Dialysis is one of the most common procedures for chronically ill patients, and advances in dialysis technology mean that in-home and clinical locations are in need of good nurses to help meet the patient demand. Outpatient dialysis is just another way that nursing has changed and specialized, and it may suit your desire for non-emergency, relatively low-stress nursing work.
More and more, new mothers are choosing to birth their babies outside of traditional hospital settings with the assistance of qualified midwives. Many of these mothers are choosing to give birth at home, or at a birthing center – a home-away-from-home facility that simulates a warm, comforting environment–with the help of doulas or midwives. Nurse midwives are also trained to determine when a birth should be transferred to a hospital in case of an emergency, and serve as a highly trained guide for these mothers who want to experience birth in a non-clinical setting. You will get experience in delivery and mother-baby care during your Labor and Delivery rotation, and you can use this experience to specialize in helping women deliver in lower-stress environments than the sterile white of the maternity ward. Becoming a nurse midwife requires a master’s degree and certification in midwifery.
The role of nurse educator extends far beyond teaching at universities and usually requires a master’s degree in nursing. The need for nurse educators extends to medical device companies, pharmaceutical companies, research, medical clinics, education companies, and, of course, universities. You could train employees or volunteers in processes like CPR, cardiac defibrillation, and various first aid scenarios; you could save hundreds of lives as a nurse educator just by giving everyday people the training they need to respond to emergency situations with the calm and confidence required to keep patients alive. If, during the course of earning your BSN, you discover that you truly love the classroom and mentoring nurses as they go through their education, this might be the best use of your degree.
Nursing is changing as fast as it’s growing, and it’s quickly becoming one of the most diverse career paths a person could take. It’s highly unlikely that a nurse graduating today will spend their career doing the same kind of job. Consider your Concordia Texas ABSN degree a fast-tracked passport to so many opportunities in health care and the vast complexity of the evolving nursing industry. As health care diversifies and moves out of the hospital, so will nursing jobs. Now is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door of this rapidly expanding industry and find the perfect nursing career for you. Contact an admissions counselor today, and get started in on one of the most exciting new sectors of work.