By Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, FAAN
Have you ever wanted to go into law enforcement, heard that people in the computer industry are making good money, or wondered what it would be like to be part of the legal team in a courtroom? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, there is no need to leave your current profession to seek another. Rather, combine your nursing with your other skills, interests, and loves, and discover a whole new way to practice within the profession.
If you think the nursing profession offers limited opportunities, you have been misinformed. Nursing continues to hold rich and diverse opportunities. In fact, there are more opportunities in nursing today than ever before.
It is important to look beyond what you think you know about your chosen profession and get “in the know” about what nurses are doing across the country. Learn about the options within the field and plan a career that meshes with your interests.
Nurses Can Do Almost Anything
Today’s nurse might be doing medical investigating for the FBI as a forensic nurse, preparing courtroom exhibits for a medical malpractice case as a legal nurse consultant, training nurses on the use of patient charting software as a nursing informatics specialist, or writing for a medical association newsletter as a medical writer. Today’s nurse might also be working as a parish nurse leading a bereavement support group for a local religious congregation. He or she may be working in the field of telehealth giving telephone advice and referrals to members of a managed care plan, or teaching smoking cessation classes in a corporate setting as an independent consultant.
If any of this sounds intriguing, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Nurses have been forging new territory, professionally speaking, for the last two decades We are moving in directions in which we have never before explored. Just in the last five years we have seen the emergence of several new specialties. As nurses, we are versatile and multitalented. We have many transferable skills that can be used in the healthcare arena. There are many ways and places to have a positive impact on healthcare and the world around us.
Go for It
Are all of these new specialties still considered nursing? You better believe it. Being a nurse is about who you are, not about where you work. For most of us, our identity is often wrapped up in the physical environment where we work. We tend to see ourselves in a very limited role. It’s time to break out of the mold and expand our own views of who we are and what we do, and to open our eyes to virtually limitless opportunities out there if we just take a good look.
As the healthcare industry is changing, so too must the nursing profession. It’s time to step out of the box and open your eyes to what nurses are doing. Combine your interests and loves with your nursing background and revitalize your career. Even if you are happy where you are, it’s important for every nurse to understand the scope of what your colleagues are doing. You’ll be better able to anticipate and understand the changes happening around you. It’s time to celebrate the diversity of nursing.