April 24, 2018 | Gaither Pennington RN, BSN
The diversity of nursing careers may surprise you
The word “nurse”, for my generation, generally conjures up a vision of someone in a crisp white uniform helping a patient in a stark hospital room. While the starched white uniform has to a large extent been relegated to the past, for most people, the vision of the nurse continues to be inextricably associated with direct patient care in hospitals.
Nurses specialize in a wide range of fields
While there is no doubt the paradigm holds true for many in the practice, the possibilities extend well beyond the conventional for nurses today. Have you ever thought about nursing:
- as a service member of the Armed Forces;
- on a cruise ship;
- at summer camp; or
- as a member of a parish?
There are many other diverse possibilities in public health, education, and occupational health. Other opportunities include medical writing, research, and legal or forensic nurse consultancy. For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, one might consider concierge nursing. Concierge nurses focus on making house calls—which, incidentally, was how many nurses practiced prior to the 1940s.
Nurses wanting to more directly impact care delivery through the nursing model, rather than the medical model, are moving into private practice settings as advanced nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners can work in a variety of health care settings, including cardiology, geriatrics, oncology, pediatrics, and school health. They commonly serve as primary health care practitioners, seeing patients for a variety of health concerns.
Caring in any setting
It is important to remember that nurse’s contributions—even in a hospital setting—are not necessarily restricted to working with patients at the bedside. Each day nurses make significant contributions to care delivery by serving in non-clinical roles, such as risk management, quality improvement, informatics, clinical education, case management and patient advocacy, to name but a few.
Regardless of the path one takes, all nurses share the chance to make a real difference; whether through direct clinical care, education, or by advancing a challenging and under-recognized profession.
While much has changed about nursing over the years, one thing has not changed—the commitment and dedication nurses show every day.
Celebrate nurses and their vital role
National Nurses Week begins on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Take a moment to thank a nurse you know and remember, they may not necessarily work in a hospital. #NiceToYourNurse