9 Cool Ways to Use Your Nursing Degree

9 Cool Ways to Use Your Nursing Degree

We’re blown away by all the non-hospital settings where nurses can use their training. Love the water? Become a yacht nurse. Love to fly? Check out flight nursing. Looking for Prince Charming? Disney employs nurses, too.

Here are 9 cool careers for nurses who want to work out of the hospital box:

1. Yacht Nurse

If you love the water, relaxing on white beaches, exploring exotic ports of call, then check out yacht nursing.

Yacht nurses take care of guests and crew on ships that sail wherever there’s water. Some recent hiring ads sought nurses for private yachts sailing the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and the United Arab Emirates.

Yacht nurses are expected to maintain onboard medical wards and nursing stations and provide medical care for passengers and crew. However, most nurses serve double duty as stewards and deckhands, so don’t expect to just take blood pressures for six-month stints. You’ll also be making beds, polishing silver, doing laundry, and generally helping to keep the vessel in tip-top shape.

Salary: $3,000 to $4,000/month

2. NASCAR Nurse

If the roar of stock car races gets your blood racing, then NASCAR nursing could be your next career.

NASCAR medical liaison coordinators (MLC) are registered nurses with a love of emergency nursing. They’re based at the group’s Daytona Beach, Fla. headquarters but tend to NASCAR drivers and crews at tracks in 25 states and Canada. They staff field hospitals and treat major and minor medical needs, from suture removal to crash trauma. They also accompany transport of injured personnel to hospitals and connect local medical staff with NASCAR personnel.

Salary: $46,550 to $65,630/year (average salary for Registered Nurses in Florida)

3. Hollywood Nurse

Hollywood medical dramas and comedies employ nurses to review scripts and treat cast and crew on location.

Medical script nurses act as consultants who read scripts and make sure they accurately portray medical tests, procedures, diagnoses, and the relationship between all the cogs in hospital operation. They work with writers, directors, and producers from the beginning of story development to shooting the scene.

Nurses also provide care for the cast and crew on movie sets, especially action films with dangerous or brutal scenes where special effects can go awry and cause injury.

Always wanted to be in pictures? Some medical shows use real life nurses on-camera, which gives a busy scene an air of authenticity.

Salary: Script consultants negotiate pay for each project, while set nurses can earn from $15/hour or $100/day.

4. Disney Nurse

Looking for Prince Charming? You could find him while nursing at a Walt Disney park or hotel.

Disney nurses are first responders who handle the medical needs and crises of cartoon characters, staff, and guests at the happiest places in the world. They typically provide first aid and emergency assistance at park first aid stations and hotel urgent care clinics.

If needed, Disney nurses help sick or injured patients access higher levels of medical care.

Salary: $61,614/year

5. Cannabis Nurse

As medical and recreational marijuana becomes legal in more and more states – 30 at last count — patients seek medical advice on which and how much strains to use for pain, anxiety, and sleep management. That’s where cannabis nurses can help.

Cannabis nurses, who work as independent consultants and on staff at marijuana dispensaries, educate patients on how to safely and effectively use cannabinoids, often in combination with other drugs. Cannabis nurses must learn about the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system, safe use of the products, and legal issues associated with weed use. They also identify and manage drug interactions.

Salary: $32 to $35/hour

6. Hyperbaric Nurse

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which increases air pressure to allow lungs to gather more oxygen, is a well-known treatment for SCUBA diving decompression sickness; but it also treats air bubbles in blood vessels, carbon monoxide poisoning, diabetic ulcers, burns, and bone infections.

Hyperbaric nurses keep patients safe and comfortable in the chamber. In part, that means making sure patients don’t wear petroleum or alcohol-based products that become highly flammable in the oxygen-rich environment. Nurses also lead patients through calming breathing exercises to prevent oxygen toxicity and then help them understand and cooperate with the depressurization process.

Salary: $46,360 to $101,630/year (depends on experience)

7. Flight Nurse

Flight nurses accompany patients to hospitals via flying machines. They can fly with patients in private jets to sites with specialized care; treat trauma victims helicoptered from a crash site to emergency care; or accompany patients transported from one healthcare facility to another.

During the flight, nurses provide comfort and safety and act as liaisons between the patient and receiving medical professionals.

Do you thrive in stressful, sometimes life-or-death situations? Flight nurses do. They have a BS in nursing and many obtain added credentials in critical care nursing, emergency nursing, and cardiac life support.

Salary: $69,136/year

8. Parish Nurse

Parish nurses, aka Faith Community Nurses, combine nursing with religious belief to heal patients physically and spiritually.

These RNs, who typically work in a faith-based community, focus on disease prevention, wellness, and teaching. They hold preventive screenings, train support volunteers, lead support groups, assess community health needs, and respond to such health concerns as addiction, abuse, and violence within the spiritual community.

Parish nurses typically hold an active RN license, have a minimum of 1,000 practicum hours in parish/faith community nursing, and have completed 30 hours of continuing education in parish nursing.

Salary: $71,108/year

9. Nurse Navigator

Nurse navigators help patients understand and rally all the different players in a health crisis, from diagnosis through treatment and even end-of-life care. They’re a combination of traffic cop, educator, counselor, and advocate during what is, for many, the worst days of their life.

Nurse navigators help critically ill patients understand their disease and treatment, locate a second opinion, help manage stress or refer to a medical social worker, and handle the real-life barriers to treatment, like finances, housing, childcare, and transportation to treatment. Nurse navigators also explain insurance issues and teach basic nutrition.

To be a good nurse navigator, you’ll need strong communication skills and a willingness to learn how different cultures respond to illness. Most nurse navigators are nurse practitioners or clinical nurse specialists, and many hold special nurse navigator certifications.

Salary: $84,600/year

Article by Lisa Kaplan Gordon. Lisa is an award-winning writer who’s covered stories for Yahoo, AOL, and many others. She lives in McLean, Virginia.

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