Alternative Health Care Careers for Those Who Need a Break from Patient Care was originally published on Hospital Recruiting.
The majority of healthcare workers go into their careers knowing that they’ll be working with people. For many, it’s the driving force behind their commitment. However, after years in the field, the unrelenting supply of challenging cases sometimes takes its toll, leaving us wanting out, at least for a time. The question is, where do we go when we want to get out of direct patient care but don’t want our training, license and experience to go to waste? Believe it or not, there are tons of opportunities for healthcare workers that are outside of patient care!
State Healthcare Inspecting – Staff everywhere shudder when they hear the words, “The state is here.” It’s really quite anxiety-producing, knowing that something as simple as a cup of water at the nurse’s station could garner a ding for your unit. Wouldn’t it be nice to be on the other side of that for a change? Working as a state inspector, you’ll trade in scrubs for business attire and work to ensure that all patients receive the best possible care by ensuring that each facility is up-to-date and practicing evidenced-based care. Imagine being at the forefront of ensuring quality patient care, all without ever touching a patient. For the most part, this position will require an RN and can be found by applying directly through the state nursing board website.
Writer – If you’re really hoping to get away from people all together, working as a writer is for you! Whether you’re a RN, MD, CNA or even a tech, you can find writing gigs. Some choose to go in a freelance direction and write for clients that they seek out independently. Others write books or start blogs. (Like this one!) If a more stable position is what you need, there are various organizations that employ full-time writers to create grant applications and other medical documents.
Insurance – Working for insurance companies is probably one of the most straightforward and readily available non-patient care options out there. RN’s and MD’s can kick start careers in the insurance field with the experience they already have and take positions such as Precertification Coordinator, Case Manager, or Physician Reviewer. As a bonus, many insurance positions have work-at-home options.
Consultant – While more challenging to locate, there are many organizations that hire medical consultants for various duties. Software developers, testing organizations, and staffing agencies are just a few examples of companies that need consultant services. Look around and you may be surprised by the openings that are out there.
Join a Staffing Agency – Joining a staffing agency is a wonderful way to utilize your skills and knowledge to connect high quality staff to those in need. It’s totally hands-off (as far as patient care goes), but daily involvement requires hands-on experience as you get to act as the liaison between quality staff and facilities/patients in need. For those with an entrepreneurial spirit and the financial backing to do so, starting a new staffing agency is also an option. While I don’t recommend doing this on your own, it’s a definite option if you have the drive and support to do so. Just keep in mind that starting a staffing agency, or any business for that matter, involves a tremendous amount of work and financial investment. It could be quite some time before it is profitable, so be sure to plan accordingly.
Instructor – Once you’ve worked in the field and gained some real-world experience, it might be time to impart your wisdom on the next generation of workers. Schools are always looking for instructors in classroom and clinical settings and for the most part offer amazing schedules that you won’t find anywhere else.
Staff Educator – If training newbies isn’t your thing, consider a job as a staff educator. Working within an organization to keep the staff up-to-date on new information, assisting them with new equipment setup, and ensuring that they stay up-to-date on continuing education is an outstanding way to stay in the know while stepping back from patient care.
Pharmaceutical Sales Rep – Do you enjoy travel? Do you love a new business suit? Have you been told that you’re very charismatic or a good sales person? If so, a career in pharmaceutical sales might be right for you. For the most part, as long as you have a Bachelor’s in a medical-based field, you’ll be a shoe-in for the job.
Clinical Informatics – If you want to blend your love of technology with your love of healthcare, clinical informatics is for you. Not only will this field keep you current in what’s going on clinically, but your days will be spent managing technological resources for your organization. If your degree is science-based, you’ll need to start by heading back to school for healthcare informatics. Once you graduate, you’ll be ready to go!
Legal Consultant – Legal consulting is another freelance-style option that can sometimes shift into a full-time position. Nurses and physicians are both in demand as subject matter experts and as consultants to attorneys. The beautiful thing about working as a legal consultant on a freelance basis is that you’ll have the option to take or reject cases and can usually work from home 90% of the time.
Whether you’re burned out or have just realized that you don’t like working in direct patient care, any of these options could be wonderful. Many of these positions are available to browse on HospitalRecruiting.com. Regardless of what you choose, do your best to keep the door open to returning to your field. After a break and some time to de-stress, you may just want to go back!