What it means to be a nurse is expanding in exciting ways. Recent graduates are positioned to explore different types of nursing careers since the nursing field has grown exponentially from caring for the sick in a hospital or clinic setting to settings to promote wellness and prevent disease and illness.
These new different types of nurses push the envelope of what it means to be a nurse in compelling ways. From technical innovation to considering how the mind and body work together for improved health, the following six roles are examples of unique nursing careers illustrating where nursing is headed in the future and often offer more predictable schedules and different challenges.
1. Fitness Nursing Careers
If you’re passionate about your own fitness as well as educating, assisting and supporting others in their goals, fitness nursing is an ideal choice. This field is a synergy of nursing along with aspects of personal training. Places where you could work in this field include:
- A spa or health club as an advisor
- Surgical centers
- Cardiac rehab
- At a gym
- Amateur or professional sports teams
Some of the top fitness centers in the country now have nurses on staff as a knowledge resource and to provide health assessments to clients.
2. Medical Aesthetics Careers
In today’s visual culture, more people seek cosmetic enhancements. Combining health, wellness and beauty, a medical aesthetics nurse works in partnership with plastic surgeons, top spas and cosmetic treatment clinics to help clients look and feel their best.
A medical aesthetics nurse might administer Botox, chemical peels, laser therapy, spider vein treatments and collagen injections. They work with a licensed medical director to help provide a range of medical aesthetics treatments. If you believe looking good is part of feeling good, this would be the nursing career for you.
Places where medical aesthetics work include:
- Dermatologist’s practice
- Plastic / reconstructive surgery office
- Medical spas
3. Nursing Informatics Careers
Nurses who are interested in the data and statistics of nursing may be highly interested in the nursing informatics field. The work includes: Improving communications inside and outside a healthcare facility and finding better, more efficient ways to get things done – without sacrificing patient care. An example of this is the electronic medical record (EMR) integration which has improved quality care and emphasized the importance of data in making clinical decisions.
Working in nursing informatics may mean largely a consulting role; however, this kind of job is often very hands-on for those interested. The results of nursing informatics can help to transform the medical experience in positive ways for both nurses and patients.
Places for those in the nursing informatics include:
- Medical research institutes
- Medical software developers
- Privacy watchdog groups
4. Forensic Nursing Careers
If you’re interested in understanding the backstories of crimes and helping solve mysteries, you’ve probably considered forensic nursing. When law enforcement investigates murders, deaths and sexual assaults, a medical opinion on what transpired is often required. The person or persons who administered the care are often the critical link between needed evidence, the truth and finding justice – for both those falsely accused and victims of violence. The need for this type of nurse is growing, especially in major metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles. If you have a law enforcement or criminal justice background, with a strong interest in evidence-based justice and an MSN degree, this might be your calling.
A forensic nurse might also work in a trauma center, assist with victim advocacy or provide courtroom testimony on the facts and evidence they’ve found.
Places where forensic nurses work include:
- Trauma centers
- Disaster charity organizations
- Coroner / medical offices
5. Holistic and Faith-Based (Parish) Nursing Careers
If you believe fully in Western allopathic, conventional medicine, yet appreciate and are aware of the benefits of Eastern methods like acupressure, then holistic nursing might be for you. If you have a passionate religious or spiritual nature, you can combine these beliefs with a career in faith-based nursing. This doesn’t mean ignoring science.
By combining both conventional and complementary medical processes and techniques, this approach to nursing (also called Integrative Health nurses) draws from the best of both worlds. While holistic nurses may work in any health care setting, parish nurses combine a chaplain’s role with a traditional nurse’s training to integrate faith with healing.
The area of parish nursing is growing beyond the traditional consideration of it as volunteer work to include integration at every step of social service and medical response.
Places where holistic / faith-based nurses work include:
- Hospitals including operating rooms
- Faith-oriented service organizations
- Wellness business or personal coaches
6. Specialized Consultant Nursing Careers
If bedside nursing and in-the-trenches hospital or clinic work isn’t for you, you can still be a part of the nursing field as a consultant. Being an expert in an area of high demand is the basis for a successful career.
From case management to outcomes management (measuring and assessing average length of patient stay, utilization, quality of care, etc.) to advising insurance companies or hospital boards, there are a myriad of advisory roles a nurse consultant can fill.
This area of nursing is almost limitless but some places where specialized nurse consultants work include:
- Health insurance companies
- Legal offices
- Home healthcare groups
- Psychiatric practices
The nursing field is changing and this evolution opens up new doors for nursing graduates. If you’re looking for a career that’s far from ordinary, consider one of these six nursing specialties as you pursue your MSN degree.