Out-of-the-Box Options for Nurse Practitioners

Dear NP Career Coach: I am a board certified NP and am looking to discover some “out of the box” options for NPs. This would include non-patient care options, and I thought that perhaps you may be able to provide some additional insight. Any information that you are able to provide would be very much appreciated.

Dear Job Reader: Your question is a great one as well as one I am quite frequently asked. It’s not unusual for NPs to reach a point in their career where they either need a break from direct care or are simply looking for a new challenge. I have also long been an advocate of NPs expanding their options to include some less traditional roles. Working outside of direct care not only increases our job satisfaction it makes us more visible as a profession.

Let me offer a few suggestions, which are located at varying distances “outside the box.”

Teaching is the first that comes to mind. Perhaps you have considered this option already? Nursing programs of all levels are experiencing a faculty shortage. As an NP, you are more than qualified to teach at an undergraduate level, and depending on the program and your educational degree (MSN vs DNP), you could find work in APRN programs.  If you aren’t sure if teaching is for you, many universities and colleges hire practicing NPs to teach or assist with one or two classes and will contract with you on a semester by semester basis.  This is nice because it gives you a chance to try it out before leaving your “day job”.

Stepping a little further out of the box is speaking.  Do you have an area of expertise that you can share? Most practicing NPs develop advanced skills in at least one or two areas.  For instance, in my clinical practice I treat drug and alcohol withdrawal. On a professional development level, I do presentations on resume writing and other job hunting skills. Once you identify a topic or two, start looking for opportunities to build a speaking portfolio. If presenting to other NPs is a bit daunting, you could start out with RN conferences or even educational events hosted by different healthcare organizations. Or, circling back to teaching, you could offer to guest lecture at your local university or college. Your alma mater is a great place to start.

Writing is another avenue that is near and dear to my heart. Not the most lucrative, but it may help to satisfy your itch to add something a bit different to your professional life. Start a blog, comment frequently on professional networking sites. See what happens.

Get involved with all levels of our professional organizations. You will not only find this incredibly informative but also very rewarding. There is a chance it could lead to some interesting job opportunities.

Get paid for your opinions. As an APRN, you are qualified to offer opinions on both RN and APRN care. There are a number of good websites that contain great tips on becoming a legal consultant.

Keep me posted on your progress.

Readers, if you have other options he might consider, I would love to hear them!

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