Non traditional nursing roles

  There are so many opportunities in nursing, but some positions are not very easy to land.  Many nurses with an RN or BSN are under the impression that in order to be considered for a non-traditional role, they must have a masters degree. In many cases this is not true.

I have worked in several non-traditional roles in  my career and I will share what I have learned about these positions with you:


1. Nurse Case Manager

Nurse case managers are usually employed by hospitals or insurance agencies. Case managers that work in the hospital collaborate with the other medical staff in the hospital and stay in communication with the  insurance companies to approve or deny inpatient stays.

Nurse case managers that work for health insurance companies also stay in contact with the nurse case managers in the hospitals to approve and deny the stays for patients in the hospital, but they are also involved with precertification of out-patient procedures.

Field case managers ususally work predominantely from home.  Some positions require you to go into the office a certain percentage of the time in order to attend meetings and other business related affairs.

Field case managers usually visit patients in their homes and other venues to assess and develop the best care plan to meet that patient's needs.  Many times they work with patients who have work comp claims. This position offers a lot of autonomy.  Although, in comparison with other non-tradittional roles, the salary does not seem to measure up.



2.School Nurse

 This is a rewarding role but can be very challenging at times. Dealing with medical emergencies, where often times you are the only medical professional at the scene  until EMS arrives.  It would also be your responsibility to care for children with Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes, ADHD, Asthma and other chronic or acute illnesses. It is a very fast paced environment. 


3.Clinical Research Nurse.

This role involves working in clinical trials for pharmaceutical companies. Before any drug is FDA approved, it must go through clinical trials with a select group of volunteer patients. Strict guidelines must be followed. For instance, you may have 25 volunteers that you have administered a trial medication to and they must have blood drawn at certain intervals and precise times. These patients remain on supervision and must adhere to certain diets. Although the medication has been tested on animals prior to the clinical trial, as any nurse knows, an allergic reaction can happen to anyone at any time. So you must be prepared for any clinical scenario before it occurs.


4.Occupational Health Nurse

 This role is a business type environment,  You may work in a variety of settings, such as, factories, offices or 

 financial facilities. You will need to be very familiar with OSHA policies and procedures, FMLA and work comp       in the state you practice.


5. Plasma Center Nurse. 

 This role involves conducting initial and annual physicals and drug screens on plasma donors. Like school  nursing,  you are usually the only medical professional on the scene and must be prepared to react quickly  to medical emergencies. 


 6. Medical Device Educator/Consultant   

 I worked in this role for about six years. Nurses collaborate with the sales reps for medical device companies. The main requirement for this position is willingness to travel. While this is not a "travel nursing position," there can be extensive travel. Some positions require you to travel regionally, while others are national positions.  You usually receive extensive training on a particular medical device and you will in turn train other medical professionals with your knowledge. 


7. Telehealth Nursing

This role involves speaking to patients over the phone. Usually this role is offered by pharmaceutical companies. This position can be in a call center setting or work from home.