Nurses accept the risk of being exposed to contagious diseases with the caveat that they will be facing contagions with full PPE. Now that we know PPE may not be available when we need it, some aspiring E.R. and ICU nurses are rethinking their career trajectory. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of lower-risk nursing careers that are equally important during a healthcare crisis. Here is an overview.
7 Non-ER, Non-ICU Jobs That Are Equally Important During a Healthcare Crisis
- Nurse Epidemiologist
Nurse epidemiologists focus on controlling the spread of disease. They monitor outbreaks and make suggestions to minimize the impact of infectious pathogens. Professionals in this line of work believe prevention is the best medicine. This job usually requires a BSN and clinical experience. It may require advanced study such as a master’s degree in epidemiology.
- Nurse Legislator
If you are bothered by the way the government is handling COVID-19, you may want to consider pursuing a career in legislation. Becoming involved in the legal process is one of the best ways to ensure better practices are in place when the next pandemic strikes.
As a nurse legislator, you possess a keen understanding of the legal system, and you work to change existing laws or pass new ones based on trends in the nursing industry. You will want to develop your understanding of how the legal system works and get involved with nursing organizations that deal with legislation if this career interests you. You may also wish to consider becoming a legal nurse consultant to enhance your employability. Legal nurse consultants consult on legal cases of a medical nature.
- Healthcare Administrator
Healthcare administrators are essential during a crisis like COVID-19. They make staffing and budgeting decisions and are well-versed in healthcare policy and the use of medical records systems. If you want to ensure hospitals are better prepared for the next epidemic or more adept at managing the next crisis, healthcare administration may be something to consider. Typically, healthcare administrators have a master’s degree in healthcare administration, but several options exist for nurses interested in pursuing advanced study in this field.
- Community Health Nurse
Community health nurses are an essential part of educating and caring for members of the community, especially during crises like COVID-19. As a community health nurse, you will inform members of a town or city on disease prevention and safe health practices. You will serve a variety of individuals, including high-need populations, and your work will have a significant impact on the health and well-being of hundreds of families.
- Nurse Ethicist
Nurse ethicists are becoming increasingly important in the age of pandemics. These individuals assist medical organizations, such as hospitals, in maintaining ethical and responsible behavior. They advise decision-makers on possible courses of action by clarifying the systems and structures used to make ethical choices. They also stay abreast of standards of conduct and moral judgment—something that is paramount in a high-tech, globalized, and rapidly-evolving society. Most clinical ethicists have a graduate degree (e.g., M.D. J.D., Ph.D.) and training in research, theory, and sociology or ethical decision-making.
- Nurse Educator
With a substantial proportion of working nurses nearing retirement age and the threat of future pandemics looms overhead, training competent caretakers is paramount. Nurse educators may work in the community, at a hospital, or as instructors for nursing degree programs. Typically, a BSN is required to become a nurse educator.
- Nurse Writer
Nurse writers typically work part-time as freelancers for various healthcare-related publications. However, it is possible to make writing a full-time career. Specialized jobs in medical writing are also available. Medical writers will create grant proposals, policy documents, journal articles, marketing materials, and more.
A variety of institutions employ medical writers, including medical schools, pharmaceutical companies, and medical book publishers. Many medical writers have an M.D. or Ph.D., so nurses interested in becoming a medical writer may benefit from gaining certifications in medical writing.
As a nurse writer, you will have the ability to share your suggestions and relay accurate scientific information to the public.
You Can Contribute!
You do not need to be an E.R. or ICU nurse to have a positive impact during a pandemic. You will have ample opportunity to serve your community in times of need, if you desire to do so.