9 nursing careers you never hear about

A career in nursing can be tough. Still, every year, new nurses enter the profession because it can also be extremely rewarding. When you hear “nurse,” those who take care of you at the hospital or before your doctor sees you probably come to mind. And if you’re like most of us, you may have never heard about the other career paths nurses can take with their credentials.

Perhaps you’re in nursing school and don’t know exactly what you want to do once you graduate. Maybe you’re a high school student trying to figure out what college major makes the most sense for you. Or, maybe you’re currently working 12-hour shifts as a bedside nurse and you’re ready for a change.

As one of the fastest-growing fields in the country, there is a myriad of nursing specialties and career pathways available to registered nurses (RNs). If 12-hour bedside nursing shifts aren’t the right choice for you, don’t sweat it – take a look at some of these lesser-known pathways you can take after earning your Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN). 

1. Legal Nurse Consultant

Turn in your scrubs for a suit. As a legal nurse consultant (LNC), you will review and analyze medical records, help simplify medical jargon for your colleagues and provide medical expertise on claims or in court cases.

Required credentials: BSN, RN

Median annual salary: $78,684

View a detailed job description here >

2. Nurse Educator

Use your knowledge and skills to prepare the next generation of nurses for practice. You will serve as a mentor and faculty member in academic and clinical settings.

Required credentials: BSN, RN, MSN or PhD

Median annual salary: $75,399

View a detailed job description here >

Davenport University’s Master of Science in nursing – nurse educator concentration

3. Air Force, Army or Navy Corps Nurse

Serve your country as a nurse. Treat active duty and retired personnel and their families. Or travel around the world treating soldiers, serving as triage in war zones or participating in humanitarian efforts.

Required credentials: BSN, RN

Median annual salary: Based on rank, time in service and specialty

View details about these jobs here >

4. Forensic Nurse

If you love crime dramas and have an interest in the criminal justice field, this career could be for you. Provide medical care and emotional support for crime victims while collecting evidence. Consult with legal authorities in cases and give expert testimonials in court.

Required credentials: BSN, RN, certification recommended

Median annual salary: $63,263

View a detailed job description here >

5. Nurse Researcher

If you love science, this might be the career for you. As a nurse researcher, you will conduct research studies, test new medicines, study diseases and work closely with scientists, physicians and patients to discover the next breakthrough in the medical field.

Required credentials: BSN, RN, MSN or PhD

Median annual salary: $81,500

View a detailed job description here >

6. Nurse Informatics Specialist

If you have a love for technology and nursing, look no further. The American Nurses Association defines this position as “overseeing the integration of data, information and knowledge to support decision-making by patients and their healthcare providers.” You will optimize technology used by nurses to improve patient care.

Required credentials: BSN, RN, MSN recommended

Median annual salary: $84,693

View a detailed job description here >

7. Pharmaceutical or Medical Sales Representative

Are you great at convincing people to take action? With a nursing degree, you will have a leg up on other pharmaceutical or medical equipment sales representatives. As a nurse, you’ll have the ability to meet your customers on their level, using your medical expertise to help them understand exactly how your products work and why they’re needed.

Required credentials: A BSN is not required to become a sales representative; however, if you have a BSN, your medical background will help you succeed in the field

Median annual salary: $81,137

View a detailed job description here >

8. Nurse Auditor

If you are interested in finance or love digging into details, this might be a career for you. You could work for an insurance company, hospital or other medical practice. A nurse auditor examines patient records and bills to ensure they are correct, examines insurance claims and may provide financial advice to medical professionals.

Required credentials: RN

Median annual salary: $70,911

View a detailed job description here >

9. Quality Assurance Nurse

This career focuses on evaluating nursing practices within a department to improve the patient experience. By recommending and then implementing process improvements, the role of a quality assurance nurse is to increase efficiency within a department and improve care for patients.

Required credentials: RN, BSN recommended

Median annual salary: $71,092

View a detailed job description here >

Thinking about becoming a registered nurse (RN)?

If you’re thinking about a career in nursing, check out Davenport University’s Bachelor of Science in nursing program. Expert faculty will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in your career, whichever path you take. Davenport is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and offers an employment guarantee to its students.

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