As the number of registered nurses (RNs) is unable to keep up with the current demand, nurses are becoming some of the most sought-after professionals in today’s job market. While most RNs are currently working in hospital settings, they also have plenty of less traditional career paths to choose from, making it possible for both new graduates and career switchers to work outside of the hospital.
The Nursing Shortage
While the current job market requires a higher number of qualified nurses to fill all of the jobs available, this need for more nursing staff is only projected to increase over the next several years. Approximately 2.75 million nurses were employed in 2014, with a 16 percent projected increase in employment by 2024. However, 56 percent of employers in the healthcare industry have been unable to find enough qualified candidates to fill their current open nursing positions.
The Growing Demand for Nurses in a Variety of Roles and Settings
Even though hospitals are in need of more nurses, plenty of employers in non-hospital settings are hiring nurses now as well. New graduates who have received a bachelor’s degree in nursing are getting job offers more readily than new graduates in many other academic disciplines, giving BSN graduates more career choices.
A total of 178,586 unique job postings were listed for RN positions in just the first quarter of 2017. Even though only 45.5 percent of all college graduates received a job offer after graduation, approximately 61 percent of new BSN graduates received a job offer upon graduating and 90 percent received an offer within 4 to 6 months after graduation. And while 61 percent of all nurses work in hospitals, 39 percent are employed in other settings. So new nursing graduates will have a vast array of opportunities to choose between, regardless of what kind of job environment they’re hoping to work in.
Different Types of Nursing Jobs
Nurses have a versatile skill set, and they are capable of working in many different occupations. Here are several different nursing jobs available to qualified RNs.
- Clinical research nurses care for patients during clinical trials and report administrative data. Their earnings average $68,000 per year.
- Informatics nurses work to identify, support, and administer IT and computer networking needs that are connected to patient care services. They earn approximately $73,000 annually.
- Nurse educators oversee the requirements for continuing education programs while evaluating the nursing staff in all types of organizations. Their salary averages around $73,000 annually.
- Occupational nurses both administer and design health and safety programs outside of the traditional hospital and medical settings. They earn an average of $61,000 each year.
- Traveling nurses go to various medical facilities that are in need of temporary staff, and their average salary is approximately $68,000 per year.
Consulting and Self-Employment
Nurses can also take advantage of other possible opportunities, such as being self-employed or consulting. The following are nursing jobs involving self-employment or consulting.
- Concierge nurses make house calls in order to give their patients hands-on care.
- Legal nurse consultants interpret medical records for legal issues, and they are also able to serve as expert witnesses in courtrooms.
- Lifecare planners help patients with long-term medical needs or terminal illnesses by developing care plans and also by resolving any issues with the law, medicine, or insurance.
- Nurse health coaches help their clients take control of their health by developing treatment and wellness plans.
- Nurse navigators assist patients with any billing issues and insurance questions while helping them receive the best care that they are able to get within their budget.
Nurses are also able to find employment in many alternative industries, several of which are fairly surprising. Qualified RNs can work in accounting, bookkeeping, payroll services, pharmaceutical manufacturing, tax preparation, and even in the federal executive branch. In fact, several of the highest paying jobs for nurses are outside traditional hospital settings. The following are the highest-paying industries that offer employment opportunities for registered nurses.
- Nurses working in accounting, bookkeeping, payroll services, and tax preparation earn an average salary of $88,970 annually.
- Jobs in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing pay nurses an average of $85,260 per year.
- Nurses working in the federal executive branch earn a salary of $84,610 each year on average.
Due to the continuing nursing staff shortages and increasing use of outpatient services, new nursing graduates and experienced nurses alike have more occupational opportunities than ever before. Whether RNs have an interest in accounting, clinical research, entrepreneurship, legal services, or in other fields, they will be able to choose from a plethora of career options.
To learn more, check out the infographic below created by Duquesne University’s Online Master of Science in Nursing degree program.