Nurses play a crucial role in the management, overall maintenance, and evolution of the healthcare industry. Additionally, nursing is considered a stable and rewarding profession. Nurses are in demand in the US due to the rapidly aging population. A bachelor’s degree in nursing makes you eligible for some entry-level jobs. However, higher positions require more advanced education and several years of experience.
Nursing is a broad profession, and you can work in a number of positions based on your degree and experience. A master’s or Ph.D. can significantly increase your marketability in the nursing industry. Moreover, you can work in the field, academia, or leadership roles based on your advanced degree or specialization.
Some nursing specializations are more popular and in-demand than others. Some of the most common nurse positions in almost all hospitals and clinics are family nurse practitioners, registered nurses, clinical nurses, pediatric nurses, home nurses, and many others. However, some non-traditional nursing positions are less saturated and offer several perks.
In this article, we are going to discuss some unconventional nursing positions you may not know about.
- Disease Management Nurse
An advanced degree in disease management can equip you with the required knowledge and skills and effectively prepares you for the duty of a disease management nurse. The primary role of disease management nurses is to use alternative care techniques and complementary therapies to help patients manage their disease symptoms.
Disease management nurses educate clients about their illnesses and empower them to manage their symptoms on their own. Moreover, they are also focused on reducing the cost of treatment for the patient and ensuring that the patient lives a healthier life.
- Occupational Health Nurse
Occupational health care nurses visit different workplaces and point out potential hazards for the workers. They prepare reports for employers and constructors with details of the hazards and how they can be prevented or minimized. They educate employees about possible threats at the workplace and how to prevent and avoid them. Moreover, they encourage employees to get necessary vaccine shots, medical tests, and an overall health screening to determine if they are fit to work.
Occupational health nurses also promote and advocate for a safe workplace and healthy working conditions. It is said to be a nursing specialty that provides an excellent work/life balance. However, this nursing field involves fieldwork as you may have to travel to different locations to assess several workplaces.
- Wound Care, Ostomy, and Continence (WOC) Nurse
Wound care, ostomy, and continence nurses look after patients with various types of wounds like bedsores, patients who have undergone surgery that creates a bowel diversion, or patients who have no bowel or bladder control. WOC nurses also educate the family and staff about wound care. According to a study in Michigan, 36.3% of all patients require professional care for their wounds at home.
WOC nurses are especially in-demand in elderly nursing homes and long-term care centers. Moreover, they also serve in leadership roles in the Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses Society, related task forces, and national board meetings. They also advocate for their patients and carry out extensive research to develop better care procedures.
- Hyperbaric Nurse
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a treatment for decompression sickness, severe infections, and for treating wounds of a diabetes patient or a patient undergoing radiation therapy. In this therapy, the patient is exposed to 100% oxygen at high speed to heal their wounds faster.
Hyperbaric nurses are specialized in treating patients in hyperbaric oxygen therapy. These nurses mostly carry out regular nursing procedures like monitoring the patient, administering medicine, and taking immediate action in case of an emergency. They are specifically skilled in operating equipment present in a hyperbaric room and maintaining the required environmental parameters.
Hyperbaric nurses work in a pressurized environment. Therefore, they are more likely to suffer from certain side effects that develop from being in a pressurized chamber for a longer period of time. Some of the side effects include lung damage, myopia, sinus issues, and fluid build-up in the middle ear.
- Forensic Nurse
Forensic nurses mainly collect medical evidence from the victims of a crime and provide physical, mental, and emotional support. Moreover, they also work with law enforcement agencies to collect crucial medical evidence from the crime scene. Sometimes forensic nurses pursue advanced degrees or certifications to work with abused children, domestic violence victims, and sexual assault survivors. Forensic nurses can be asked to testify in court and give their expert opinion.
Forensic nursing is a promising career for nurses. According to PayScale, forensic nurses can earn $59k to $98k per year, on average. However, your salary can differ based on the organization you work for, your level of education, your experience, and your specialization.
- Cruise ship Nurse
You can work as a cruise ship nurse right after graduating from your BSN program. Cruise ship nurses don’t require advanced degrees and specializations. However, your experience is crucial, and a nurse with more years of experience is more likely to get a job as a cruise ship nurse.
Cruise ship nurses have to perform basic nursing tasks, treat minor injuries, educate the ship crew about primary healthcare, and follow all local health-related laws. In case of emergency, a cruise ship nurse is responsible for keeping the patient in the best possible condition until specialized help arrives.
Cruise ship nurses get a chance to travel around the world and get free meals on the trip. However, the salary is not great, and it is not an ideal position for nurses who suffer from seasickness.
The Bottom Line
Nursing is a stable, well-paid, and rewarding career. It is an in-demand profession, and employment opportunities in this field will grow even more in the coming years.
A BSN degree can make you eligible for entry-level jobs, but higher positions require advanced degrees. Some nursing positions like registered nurses, family nurse practitioners, and cardiac nurses are common and are found in all hospitals. However, there are also some unconventional nurse positions like cruise ship nurses, hyperbaric nurses, forensic nurses, occupational health nurses, wound care, ostomy and continence nurses, and disease management nurses. These nurses work in various unique job settings, and some perform specific/specialized duties. Hopefully, this article will help you understand some unconventional nursing positions you may not know about.