Pursuing a career in a healthcare field often means investing in higher education. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is an undergraduate degree that can prepare students for a career as a nurse. This degree can also act as a strong foundation for many different healthcare-related careers, many of which do not involve traditional nursing roles at hospitals or clinics. The skills learned along the nursing degree track are highly transferrable to many different but related careers.

Alternative Careers for Bachelor of Science in Nursing 

Someone earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing may not want to pursue a traditional nursing career in a hospital or clinic for many reasons. Some people may be drawn to the more academic aspects of nursing or may want to spend time in a lab, while others may thrive in patient care but not in the typical tasks of a hospital nurse.

No matter what a students’ goals or strengths are, various nursing careers provide a match. The following are just a few nursing-related careers available to graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. 

Nurse Educator 

A nurse educator plays a vital role in the healthcare field by combining clinical expertise with a passion for teaching. The primary responsibilities of a nurse educator revolve around educating and training nursing students, as well as other healthcare professionals. According to the National Library of Medicine, “Nurse educators have a vital role to mentor student nurses in relation to developing evidence-based practice skills, accessing research products, and participating in research projects.” 

A nurse educator may work in a classroom setting but may also be employed in any place where nurses work, acting as a trainer, mentor, and curriculum developer for continuing nursing education. It is important to note that most nurse educator positions do require schooling beyond the bachelor’s degree, so students interested in this career may need to acquire a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing degree.

Overall, the role of a nurse educator is multifaceted, combining teaching, mentorship, research, and a commitment to advancing nursing education. Nurse educators play a crucial part in shaping the next generation of healthcare professionals and ensuring the delivery of high-quality patient care. 

Nurse Researcher 

A nurse researcher is a professional who contributes to the advancement of nursing science and evidence-based practice through systematic inquiry and investigation. These individuals play a crucial role in expanding the body of knowledge within the nursing profession and improving patient outcomes. Nurse researchers engage in a variety of activities aimed at exploring, analyzing, and disseminating new information to enhance healthcare delivery. 

One key aspect of a nurse researcher’s role involves formulating research questions and designing studies to address gaps in current knowledge. This process often includes literature reviews, where researchers examine existing evidence to inform the development of their research projects. Once a study is designed, nurse researchers navigate through the ethical approval process, ensuring that their work aligns with ethical standards and protects the wellbeing of participants.

An aspiring nurse researcher who has graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing may be able to start a career after earning a nursing license in the state where they plan to work. However, advanced education may be helpful for progressing through this career.

Nurse Administrator/Manager 

A nurse administrator is a healthcare professional who takes on leadership and managerial roles within healthcare organizations, overseeing the efficient and effective delivery of nursing services. These individuals play a crucial role in healthcare management, ensuring that nursing staff, resources, and operations align with organizational goals and standards. Nurse administrators work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and community health organizations. 

The nurse administrator role can be a good place for people who want to work in nursing but may not be drawn to patient care. According to the American Nurses Association, “Professionals in nursing administration often don’t have much direct interaction with patients.” As with some other professions on this list, employers may require nurse administrators to have at least a master’s degree in nursing.

Case Manager 

A nurse case manager is a registered nurse with specialized training and expertise in coordinating and managing the care of patients across various healthcare settings. These professionals work to ensure that patients receive comprehensive and well-coordinated care, particularly those with complex healthcare needs or chronic conditions. The role of a case management nurse is focused on enhancing patient outcomes, promoting efficient resource utilization, and facilitating collaboration among healthcare providers. 

Some nurses prefer the workload of a nurse case manager because many positions allow the nurse to work regular eight-hour shifts rather than the 12-hour shifts that many clinical nursing positions require. Nurses who are serious about pursuing a case management position may choose to earn the Nursing Case Management Certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The case management certification requires a minimum of registered nurse (RN) licensure, available to Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates, and at least 12 months of case management experience.

Nurse providing in-home health checks to a seated patient.

Public Health Nurse 

A public health nurse (PHN) is an RN who specializes in promoting and protecting the health of communities and populations. Unlike traditional nursing roles that focus on individual patient care, public health nurses work on a broader scale, addressing the health needs of entire communities. They play a crucial role in disease prevention, health education, and community advocacy.

According to the Association of Public Health Nurses (APHN), public health nurses work in a variety of settings, including “health departments, schools, homes, community health centers, clinics, correctional facilities, worksites, out of mobile vans, and even dog sleds.” Certification for public health nurses is regulated from state to state. In New York state, anyone with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing and RN licensure in good standing can sit for the PHN certification exam. 

Nurse in a mask reviewing charts on a computer.

Healthcare Informatics Specialist 

A Healthcare Informatics Specialist, also known as a Health Informatics Specialist or Healthcare IT Specialist, is a professional who combines expertise in healthcare and information technology to manage and optimize healthcare information systems. These specialists play a crucial role in the design, implementation, and maintenance of health information technology (HIT) solutions that enhance the efficiency, accuracy, and quality of healthcare delivery. 

Health informatics is a non-traditional career path for those who earn a nursing degree, as it is not directly related to nursing. One potential path to this career for graduates of a nursing program is to pursue a master’s degree in health informatics. The combination of nursing education with higher level knowledge of health informatics can be very attractive for employers looking to fill this increasingly necessary role. Nursing informatics is a job title under the health informatics umbrella that specifically uses a nurse’s knowledge of clinical care to ensure that patients get the best care possible. Notably, health informatics is another nursing position that typically does not include direct patient care.

Clinical Nurse Consultant 

A Clinical Nurse Consultant (CNC) is a highly skilled and experienced registered nurse who specializes in a specific area of clinical practice. This role involves providing expert clinical guidance, leadership, and consultation to improve patient care, nursing practice, and healthcare outcomes at a range of facilities. Clinical Nurse Consultants often work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and community health organizations. As consultants, a CNC may work across a healthcare system rather than staying localized at one facility. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is enough to start the clinical nurse consultant career path, but advanced education such as a master’s or doctorate in nursing degree may be required for advancement opportunities.

Occupational Health Nurse 

An Occupational Health Nurse (OHN) is a registered nurse with specialized training in occupational health and safety. These professionals work within organizations to promote and maintain the health and wellbeing of employees by addressing workplace-related health issues and ensuring compliance with occupational health standards. OHNs play a vital role in preventing work-related injuries and illnesses, promoting employee wellness, and facilitating a safe and healthy work environment. 

There are no certification requirements for OHNs beyond RN licensure, although many choose to earn a master’s degree or pursue other continuing education opportunities.

Legal Nurse Consultant 

A Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC) is a registered nurse with specialized training and expertise who provides consultation and support to legal professionals, including attorneys, insurance companies, and other stakeholders involved in legal cases related to healthcare. Legal Nurse Consultants bridge the gap between the healthcare and legal systems, offering their nursing knowledge and clinical expertise to assist in the resolution of legal matters.

Those with an RN license are eligible to earn a Legal Nurse Consultant Certification (CLNC) from a range of different providers. No advanced degree is necessary.

Pharmaceutical or Medical Device Sales Representative 

A Pharmaceutical or Medical Device Sales Representative is a professional responsible for promoting and selling pharmaceutical products or medical devices to healthcare providers, such as physicians, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. These representatives work for pharmaceutical companies or medical device manufacturers and play a crucial role in building relationships with healthcare professionals, providing product information, and driving sales.

Unlike many professions in the nursing sphere, there is no requirement for a sales representative to earn RN licensure, which can make this an appealing career for those who earn a nursing degree but do not want to pursue licensure. Successful sales representatives in healthcare fields can also earn comfortable salaries, but many work on commission, which is worth considering.

Wellness coach talking with a group of young people in a circle.

Health and Wellness Coach

A Health and Wellness Coach is a trained professional who works with individuals or groups to help them achieve and maintain optimal health and well-being. These coaches focus on empowering clients to make positive lifestyle changes by providing guidance, support, and personalized strategies. Health and wellness coaches consider various aspects of a person’s life, including nutrition, physical activity, stress management, and overall lifestyle, to promote holistic wellbeing. 

As of 2024, health and wellness coaching is not regulated and requires no specific training or certification. Many health and wellness coaches are self-employed, so a nursing degree or RN licensure may be a helpful factor in obtaining new clients.

If you are ready to start your nursing education and pursue a healthcare career that helps patients and communities get healthy, stay healthy, and live their best lives, Russell Sage College offers nursing degree programs that New York residents can trust. Reach out to Sage and learn how to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and start a rewarding career this year.