The Humerus NP
Practical Advice from an outspoken Nurse Practitioner
In the past thirteen years of nursing, there have been several times that I have considered leaving the profession in search of something new, because I felt bored, stagnant or burnt out. I longed for change from the bedside, but didn't want to "waste" the time, money and energy I had invested in my career as a nurse. I am naturally a driven person, always seeking to improve my practice and expand my knowledge as a clinician. I felt compelled to do more, so I enrolled in the Family Nurse Practitioner program. Upon completion of the program in 2013, the steep learning curve and increased responsibility pacified my drive for a few years. But it wasn't long before I felt the familiar urge to change again. I briefly considered returning to school again to pursue a doctoral degree, but the military spouse lifestyle, limits my ability to stay in the same area for too long. (Maybe this is why I crave change every three years?) By this time in my life, I have a family, and my responsibilities at home are plenty. Deployments, piano recitals, homework, and baseball practices require that I have a flexible job. But still I find myself wondering, how can I use my nursing skills in a different way? The following ideas are alternatives, but compliments to bedside nursing for those who find themselves searching for a different 'outside of the box' path in nursing.
There are so many avenues in which a nurse can be an entrepreneur. I recently started a small business teaching CPR & First Aid to the public (You can read more about it on my website www.LetsGetCPRcertified.com). Nurses have instant credibility in the healthcare field and are known as being the nation's most trusted professionals. I have read about nurse entrepreneurs in various business settings, such as private practices, cash based clinics, health & wellness coaches, preceptor matching services, aesthetics, senior centers, and mobile clinics. The work is hard, but the possibilities are virtually endless.
Nurses have a wealth of knowledge and experiences to share with the public. Your nursing instructors made sure you could write well, don't disappoint them. Nurses write peer reviewed research articles, magazines, books, and blogs. If you prefer public speaking, maybe you could consider a pod cast, conference, or social media platform. Many nurses use this avenue to earn passive income.
Travel nursing or locum assignments can provide a change of scenery while still paying the bills. The assignments vary in location, length and pay, but many come with lucrative benefits and housing stipends. This may offer the opportunity to try new specialties without committing for a long period of time. This avenue may be difficult for families with school aged children, but may be wonderful for empty nesters or single adults. Do you have a heart for the underserved? Medical missions work is a field that always needs compassionate nurses willing to provide care to the world's most impoverished people.
Work from home
When my children were little, I always dreamed of the opportunity to work from home. The 12 hour night shifts were difficult on my young family. Telemedicine is an upcoming avenue for nurses who desire to work at home. In addition, many insurance companies hire nurses to work remotely auditing charts, administrative work, or performing home assessments.
Nurses are naturally born as leaders. This may be an option for those who desire to step away from the bedside but still wish to contribute to the care of the patient. Nurses can be leaders in various settings; such as CEOs, unit managers, directors of assisted living facilities or nursing homes, university faculty, and office managers.
The beauty of nursing is that virtually anyone can find fulfillment in the many facets of the profession. If you find yourself burnt out or tired of shift work, you may consider these alternatives. For me, I have found I do best with a mixture of both direct patient care and a little bit of 'outside of the box.'
Until next time,
The Humerus NP
Melissa is a military spouse, mom, and professional boo boo fixer. She practices as a Nurse Practitioner in Northern Virginia and is passionate about teaching the public how to effectively respond in emergency situations. She founded Rapid Response CPR, LLC in 2017. She blogs to share her medical knowledge in a fun, yet practical way.
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