Getting Out Of Nursing: Exploring Alternative Job Opportunities


There was a time where, statistically, a person would change jobs 11 to 12 times before the age of 50. The numbers today have declined, as researchers expect an individual to change his or her job roughly four times before the age of 32. Given both statistics, remaining a registered nurse for a lifetime isn’t logical. For a nurse who wants to move on to a new career, it helps to know job opportunities that are more inviting to someone with nursing experience.

Why Do Nurses Change Careers?

There is no right or wrong answer regarding why someone decides not to continue his or her career as a nurse. Some nurses decide they still want to be in the nursing field, but they just do not want to be in a hospital or medical practice anymore. Other nurses want to leave the nursing industry behind and pursue something entirely different. Fortunately, there are options for both.

Staying in the Nursing Industry

Obviously, shifting to a different career path within the nursing industry makes it incredibly easy to get a job when a person has previous nursing experience. Teaching and nursing home nurses are a few options for someone who wants to shift away from the hospital and/or medical practice positions.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are always in demand for registered nurses. If a nurse doesn’t mind working with older and/or disabled individuals, this is a great option. The biggest challenge with working in a nursing home is becoming attached to residents and losing them when they die of old age. For someone with a tender heart, this could be a difficult job to have.


Individuals with nursing job experience make ideal teachers at a medical school. Teachers with nursing experience can use actual stories from their past as tools to teach future nurses and doctors.

School Nurse

For someone who wants to continue to be a nurse but leave the hospital, schools are always in demand for registered nurses. Having experience at a hospital or medical practice makes someone an ideal candidate for a school nurse.

Leaving the Nursing Industry

Not everyone who decides to leave a career as a registered nurse at a hospital or medical practice wants to continue to be a nurse somewhere else. Fortunately, there are also a lot of job alternatives for someone who fits that definition, as well. While nursing experience is a great foundation for these jobs, they are entirely different career paths:

  • Legal Consultant and Expert Witness on Medical or Health Cases
  • Academic Health Writer
  • Forensic Nurse Consultant
  • Mortician
  • Midwife
  • Daycare Provider

Staying in the Hospital

Naturally, a nurse also has the option of additional training and schooling to become a doctor or a surgeon. Nursing experience is a great foundation for mastering skills necessary to perform other jobs in a hospital or medical practice. A nurse case manager would also be ideal for someone who wants to stay in the hospital. As a nurse case manager, an individual would oversee the nursing staff at a hospital or medical practice. Having walked in the shoes of the nurses the individual would now manage, he or she is a great candidate for the position.

Going Back to School

If none of the ideal job alternatives for nurses appeal to someone who wants a career change, going back to school is another option. There is certainly nothing wrong with going back to school to pursue an entirely different career path. This is something a lot of people do later in life when they become bored with their current career path.

Learn more about career paths a lot of individuals took before becoming nurses by checking out our article, “Fewer new nurses starting their careers in hospitals.”

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