The exciting thing about a career in nursing is that it provides a huge variety of roles and career options, which means that you’ll never get bored working in this rewarding field.
Whether you’re at the start of your career and wondering what you can do with a BSN, or you’re a mid-career professional starting to investigate the different possibilities and jobs for nurses who don’t want to be bedside nurses, this guide will give you all the information you need to find a fulfilling nursing career that suits you.
Read on to find out the most interesting BSN careers that don’t involve patient care and where to look for them, as well as the kind of jobs you can do without a nursing license.
What can You do with a BSN? Main Nursing Responsibilities
After gaining your BSN and passing the NCLEX-RN, a lot of nursing careers will become available to you.
Compared to nurses without a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, you’ll be able to take on more responsibility as a result of the advanced training you have received, such as:
- More complex decision-making
- Supervising other nurses and coordinating departments
- Developing nursing care treatment plans
- Educating patients and communities
Career Changes for Nurses: What can You do with a BSN Degree Besides Bedside Nursing?
Working in the nursing field can be challenging, especially for professionals who work in hospital and clinical settings.
Nurses who decide to change their careers often cite burnout, 12-hour shifts and workplace incivility as the main workplace challenges they face, according to a white paper published by the American Hospital Association.
The good news is that nursing is also one of the most diverse medical professions. Nursing careers that do not involve bedside care, such as a School Nurse or Public Health Nurse, make up a big chunk of the medical field. Besides, it’s easy to switch from a clinical to a non-clinical career, as most roles require several years of experience in a care environment anyway.
There are also many nursing careers without patient contact altogether, which are mostly available to experienced BSN and MSN nurses. This includes roles in government institutions, legal and insurance firms, and education.
Bear in mind that advanced positions and leadership roles often expect nurses to already have some years of clinical experience before taking an office job. Therefore, these roles are more appropriate for a BSN career change rather than as graduate jobs.
Why to Look for Alternative Nursing Careers with BSN
Even if you’re just starting out or you already have some years of experience under your belt, it’s not uncommon to look for nursing careers outside the hospital at some point in your professional life. While some people are looking for a change of pace, others simply want to use their skills and expertise to impact a larger public.
Nursing careers that don’t deal with patients are not for everyone and a lot of the time it is not possible to go into these roles without spending some time working in a clinical setting. Having a BSN degree gives you an edge against the competition and it’s a great advantage to have when it comes to negotiating your salary.
Where can you find nursing jobs away from the bedside?
Here are some places to look for alternative nursing careers, along with the non-bedside nursing jobs you may find yourself taking:
- Physician offices, if you’re looking for an administrative role with limited patient care responsibilities
- Research laboratories, if you want to study diseases, test new medicines, and work closely with scientists, physicians and patients
- Nursing care facilities, hospitals, and clinics with open administrative and managerial positions
- Pharmaceutical companies, if you are looking for patient education or sales rep roles
- Private and public education institutions, if you want to become a nurse educator
- State, public and government institutions, if you’re looking for public health roles such as School Nurse, where you work to educate entire communities
- Insurance and law firms, if you want to specialize in medical laws and assist in legal claims related to malpractice, accidents and workers’ compensation
- Private companies, for occupational nursing roles
Tip: You don’t have to stop working in a clinical care facility altogether even if you want to leave bedside care – there are many administrative and managerial positions that you can take up!
Non-bedside Nursing Careers Options
Nowadays there are increased opportunities for nurses to leave traditional patient care environments and work as informaticists, analysts, and consultants, as well as project management, implementation, sales, and leadership roles.
In this section we explore in more detail some of the types of nursing careers you can take up when you wish to pursue non-bedside BSN jobs.
Law and Nursing Careers
If you’re interested in a career in the legal field, be prepared for long hours and an emotionally demanding job. The advantage is that you may be able to work independently and have a more flexible schedule.
Legal Nurse Consultant
You will be part of a legal team working on cases involving fraud, workers’ compensation, malpractice while helping attorneys interpret medical records and understand terminology. You may also be required to testify in court as an expert witness.
Forensic Nurse Consultant
This is a more hands-on job, involving investigation of crimes such as physical and sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and accidental death. Your job is to collect evidence, provide medical testimony and collaborate with legal authorities on the case. Most jobs also require that you provide care to victims.
Take up a Correctional Nurse role if you are up for a challenge, but be wary that it is not for the faint of heart! In this job, you provide care for patients in prisons and other detention centers, and you have to be able to understand how to deal with potentially violent inmates and know ways to protect yourself.
Nursing Careers in Education
Careers in education usually require a more advanced level of study, typically a MSN or above. Currently, there is a shortage of nursing educators in the US, which means it’s a great time to become one.
Clinical Nurse Educator
As a Clinical Nurse Educator, you prepare curricula and lesson plans to teach unlicensed and freshly licensed nurses. You need to have several years of clinical experience and you are able to work full-time or part-time to suit your career. Depending on you position, you may collaborate with other professionals to deliver both theoretical and hands-on courses.
You may be employed in a hospital, but also in a pharmaceutical company, research facility, textbook publishing company, college or university. Working with universities, however, usually requires an advanced level of experience and education (a Doctoral degree may be required).
Nursing IT Careers
IT nursing roles are among the highest paid in the field. If you’re a technology enthusiast and a great communicator, this is a great time to take up a career in nursing IT.
Informatics Nurse Specialist
Your main responsibilities will be providing systems preparation, training and user support. You may work directly with vendors and technical experts and work to optimize the clinical design to meet the needs of various end users, such as doctors, nurses, pharmacy, lab, and administrative staff.
In this role, you will combine your knowledge of nursing and technology to provide remote care to patients. Using video and computers, you connect to patients with chronic conditions that need monitoring, and patients with limited mobility who cannot come into the clinic.
Since over 70% of health care providers use telemedicine tools, if you are a nurse with technology skills you can stand out in a telehealth career.
Nursing Careers in the Military, Navy and Air Force
This is an honorable and challenging career, in which you are working to support national troops both at home and abroad. You always need a BSN to become a military nurse and be prepared to meet physical requirements, especially if you are interested in a nursing career in the air force.
This type of nursing career offers roles similar to what you would find in a clinic, but you get to travel all over the world. Responsibilities include setting up triage in war zones, treating soldiers, and participating in humanitarian relief efforts.
The Military, Navy and the Air Force all offer motivating bonuses for signing up, however there is usually a minimum period of time (around three years) for which you must agree to serve.
Nursing Careers with Insurance Companies
Nurses who work with insurance companies are among the best paid office nurses. Since you get to work an office job or even work from home, in some cases, this could be one of the best nursing careers for introverts. In this role, you deal with considerably fewer people than you would in a bedside nursing role.
Quality Management Nurse Consultant
In this role, you will coordinate quality, accreditation, regulatory and licensing (AR&L), patient safety, and risk management activities for a medical center. You will analyse data and work tirelessly to make systematic policy and process improvements within your department or institution.
If required, you will also assist internal attorneys with claims and litigation and you will be involved with billing, insurance and patient case management.
Nurse Life-Care Planner
Patients suffering from chronic and terminal illnesses need advanced care and treatment planning. RNs who work as Life-Care Planners collaborate with insurance companies, physicians and other parties to make decisions on the patient’s needs and the prospective costs of medical care.
Legal Nurse Consultant (Insurance Companies)
You will evaluate health care and medical insurance claims, conduct medical research and use your knowledge of both the legal and nursing fields to make recommendations and select medical expert witnesses.
Nursing and Nutrition Careers
Nursing and wellness are projected to keep growing as professional fields, so if you have an interest in both, why not combine them? While you don’t always need a BSN for nutrition careers, you may be required to complete additional training in order to qualify.
Fitness Nursing (Sports Medicine)
To be considered for a position in Fitness Nursing, most candidates must either prove prior experience as an athlete or advanced knowledge about sports conditioning and injuries. You may work in professional sports centers, universities, and colleges, in areas such as rehabilitation, radiology and pediatric care.
Nutrition Nurse Advisor
In this role, you have the opportunity to work in acute or primary care, assessing patient diets and providing advice according to the patients’ medical issues. Other responsibilities can include creating wellness programs for athletes or organizations, helping people maintain or lose weight and developing special meal plans.
Nursing Leadership Careers
If you’re a mid-career nurse looking to step up and take on a rewarding position that entails greater responsibility, now is your chance to find leadership roles in which you have a greater impact on the community you serve. Note that many leadership roles also require an MSN in addition to the BSN degree.
Clinical Nurse Leader
Your main responsibility will be to promote the success of your organization by incorporating the latest technology and research into treatment and giving patients the best possible care. Job duties include creating treatment plans, evaluating patients’ treatment results and coordinating the medical team.
Nurse Administrators don’t need a Master’s degree, however, a Bachelor’s degree in Health Administration can put you at an advantage compared to other candidates with BSN degrees.
Your job will be to create budgets and maintain records on facility services and resources used, as well as to supervise work activities of nursing staff, serve as a leader and motivate your team.
Nursing Careers From Home
As technology advances, more nurses are able to work remotely or even manage their own business from home. Here is a list of nursing jobs you can do from home, including some that we’ve already discussed.
- Telehealth Nurse
- Legal Nurse Consultant
- Forensic Nurse Consultant
- Case Manager Nurse
- Self-Employed Nurse Health Coach
- Nurse Navigator
- Nurse Care Adviser
- Telephone Triage
The Most Unusual Non-Nursing Jobs for Nurses
There are many types of alternative jobs a nursing background can open up for you. Some of the best non-bedside nursing jobs involve lots of travel, advocacy and leadership, and will set you up for a rewarding career that’s about more than just patient care.
List of Unique Nursing Careers and Salaries*
- Flight Nurse: $72,452 to $91,688
- NGO Nurse: around $64,690
- Cruise Ship Nurse: $4,200 to $4,900 a month
- Camp Nurse: $45,640 – $92,405
- Procurement Nurse: $46,164 – $92,954
- Traveling Nurse: $44,564 – $106,625
- Parish Nurse: around $69,899
*Salary information collected from payscale.com, salary.com and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Want to find out more about your earning prospects as a Registered Nurse or BSN Nurse? Check out our blog post and interactive map to explore nursing salaries by state.
What can You do with a BSN but No License?
It’s important to know that you gain your legal status as a nurse not when you graduate the BSN, but when you acquire your nursing license. As such, a nurse with a license but no BSN can still take up nursing roles such as a bedside care nurse, but it you don’t have a license, or if your license has been revoked, you will not be allowed to practice legally as a nurse.
Nursing Related Careers for BSN Graduates with No License
Even if you don’t have a nursing license, you have spent many years acquiring valuable medical knowledge, which can help you to pursue roles in related areas of the health and medical field, such as:
- Medical Writer
- Medical Assistant
- Pharmaceutical Sales Rep
- Medical Billing
- Home Health Care
- Medical Lab Technician
Nursing is one of the most exciting professions, thanks to the wide range of career options that it allows you to take up. If you feel like it’s time to make a change, be sure you take advantage of the possibilities you have at hand with a BSN degree.
Not ready to make the leap yet?