How to Take Your Nursing Career into an Exciting New Direction

Despite common misconceptions, nursing is an incredibly varied role. If you are currently finding that you are burning out and getting tired of your role, there are so many different ways that you can change it up. For some, all you need is a new environment. For others, they need a whole new role. The good news is that, as a nurse, you specialize in human health and wellbeing.

This means that you actually have one of the most useful skill sets around. There are so many places where you can work and so many different ways that you can specialize in what you do.

Understanding just what you can do with your background in nursing is the first step to taking your career in an exciting new direction. Some of the changes can be done right away; others will require furthering your training and experience in advance.

No matter what, however, remember that you do have options, and this guide will help you understand just what you can do with your background.

Where Nurses Can Work

One of the best ways to start thinking creatively in terms of what you can do with a background in nursing is to understand just where nurses can work in your state. If you aren’t too thrilled with the options, do keep your options open. If you live in a participating eNLC state, for example, it’s relatively simple to transfer your nursing license and get started elsewhere.

Moving might mean being able to practice independently as an FNP, for example. If you can practice independently, then you can even open up a clinic of your own.

Managing your own clinic is just one way that you can combine your entrepreneurial spirit with your background in nursing. It’s also just one way that you can continue to work as a nurse in an exciting new direction.

Though not extensive, here are a few different examples of how you can revamp your career and take it in a new direction:

In a Specialized Role

One of the best ways to boost your career is to further your training and specializations. There are so many different ways that you can do this, and at any time. You may already be an APRN, for example, but that does not mean you cannot go back and expand your specializations. There are even dual-track options for RNs right now so that they can treat a larger population of patients.

You don’t need to redo your education, either. If you already have an MSN then you can expand your skill set and qualifications with one of the top family nurse practitioner programs online. If this sounds like you, click here to learn more about the post-graduate certificate, from what you need to apply to and how long it will take to complete.

Also Read:

How to become a certified nursing assistant

In their Own Clinic

Certain specialized roles can even open up their own clinics – and manage them without a physician on board. Whether you can practice independently, however, is dependent on which state you are licensed in. Family nurse practitioners in many states have full authority, but not all of them. They may have restricted or supervised authority, which restricts what they can offer to their patients.

On a Health and Safety Team

Nurses are needed on health and safety teams in many different industries. Large construction projects, movie sets, music festivals, research stations – the list goes on. The only issue with this option is that it is limited. While many businesses and events could benefit from having on-site medical professionals to provide first-aid and ongoing health checkups for cast, crew, or crowds, not many places can afford them.

This means they are highly competitive, and working your way into this type of role will require a lot more networking and effort just for the chance than you are likely used to. You may also need to get started with an agency that companies know and trust already. There are ambulatory businesses that hire out their medical experts to events or sets, for example. In many cases, you won’t be hired as an independent contractor, though you may be able to establish a career path where you are called on by multiple agencies to cover shifts on an ad-hoc basis.

As with any role in the entertainment business, getting into this career path is going to be about who you know as much as it is about what you can do. If your ultimate goal is to get started here, then start networking and applying now while you continue to work and progress your skills.

In Policy

Do you want to make sweeping improvements not just to those working in your team or hospital but across the state – across the country? You could transition your career into policy-making. In this role, you will either be working to advocate on behalf of medical professionals or working to create reports that influence policy-making.

There are so many different roles in this direction, so you can likely find a job that touches on your strengths and interests. Do note, however, that this option is the furthest one from helping patients directly. Your work, instead, will focus on improving healthcare and treatment as a whole.

In Research

So many nurses are needed in research. You can work to help improve care plans and policies, or you can work alongside research teams to care for patients in drug or treatment trials. These roles are usually more relaxed than, say, working in a hospital. They are particularly good for those that are looking for roles that are at the forefront of medicine, all while offering a more stable routine.


You can take on patients one-on-one. There are many that want to have on-site medical care, especially if they are older and need more hands-on help than usual. Many nurses provide expert care for those who need a personal carer. The nurses in question usually have a background in adult gerontology. For example, an AGACNP will have the skills and qualifications to care for private clients recovering from an acute injury or life-threatening chronic condition.

In Education

Want to be part of teaching the next generation of nurses? If there is one great way to leave a lasting legacy while also slowing down your career, it’s becoming an educator. You will usually need a doctorate in order to do this. As a nurse educator, you will teach, create lessons, conduct research, and train the next generation of nurses.

Understand the Requirements

A good way to get into the role you have picked out for yourself is to start looking at the job boards. You won’t likely be able to qualify just yet, and that’s okay. For the time being, you are simply looking at the requirements that the listing includes. You can also look up people currently in those roles and explore their career history online.

Tools like LinkedIn and other job sites are invaluable resources for this. It can help you understand what it actually takes to get into the role you have set your sights on so that you can then start the process of achieving those qualifications yourself.

Don’t Just Focus on Education

Don’t just rely on your degree to qualify you for the role in question. In nursing, degrees play a huge part in your career since you will need one to earn your license. From there, however, they won’t guarantee you a job. It is up to you to fill in the gaps.

The good news is that there are so many ways that you can do this. A great way to start, for example, is to brush up on your general understanding of different backgrounds. Understanding the general history and culture of different people can immediately improve your ability to care for them.

Being able to adapt your approach and how you explain things will make a massive difference in your career because it will make a huge difference for your patients.

It’s not just cultural differences you will want to be aware of, either. Unless you are already working towards becoming a mental health nurse, you should invest some time and energy in expanding your understanding of mental health, mental illnesses, and wellbeing.


Another great step that will help you take your career in a new direction is networking. Networking, in particular, will help those who want to try to get into a more rare or unusual role. If you want to work as a nurse in a remote location, for example, you will have to not only have the credentials but the work history to back you up. When there is only one open position, the competition gets difficult.

That is where networking comes in. Work on meeting people in the field you want to get started in and build from there. You can reach out to those in your dream position to introduce yourself, go to events, learn, and just see who knows who in your current network.

Cheryl Henson

Cheryl Henson is a passionate blogger and digital marketing professional who loves writing, reading, and sharing blogs on various topics.

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