Advancing Your Nursing Career: Non-Clinical Options

Students in a non-clinical nursing class

Are you looking to advance your nursing education with a Master of Science in Nursing degree or certification, while also hoping to enter a new, non-clinical role? If so, you are in luck! The field of nursing has continued to grow at a rapid rate, with nurses taking on new and exciting opportunities.

Let us discuss a few opportunities to leverage your current skills and retool your education and experience with a non-clinical role in nursing. 

Healthcare Policy & Public Health

Do you have an interest in being a patient advocate, but from a policy perspective? If so, preparing to become a nurse in the field of healthcare policy might be an option for you. Though a master's degree is not typically required, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a Healthcare Policy focus prepares a student beyond the generalist degree of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Become the voice for the entire country by working with local government, legislative office, or health organizations. The development of healthcare policies is an integral part of our communities and country. One of our Partnership Schools, Chamberlain University, offers an MSN Online with a Healthcare Policy specialization. Another Partnership School is Liberty University, which offers this Healthcare Policy Specialization as part of the MSN. 

Most students who focus on Healthcare Policy will consider a Certification in Public Health, which is covered in the next section. Some Healthcare Policy-focused nurses will also consider the Nurse Executive Certification (NE-BC).

If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it is the importance of our Public Health Officials. If you have a passion for working in the field of Public Health, you have an opportunity to advance your education in this profession. Like healthcare policy, a bachelor’s would be enough to work in Public Health. Nevertheless, a Master of Science in Public Health makes you more marketable and knowledgeable in the space of Public Health. It also ties together nursing education with a Public Health focus. You can focus your career in education and prevention of diseases within communities or helping local emergency teams in preparing for natural disasters. With an MSN in Public Health and three years of experience within the field, you can sit for the certification exam in Public Health. Walden University offers an MSN in Public Health Online, with specialized areas to focus your education. Walden University is also a proud partner of Bright Horizons. Another dynamic option to consider is offered through the University of Hartford.

Education

Have you ever thought about empowering and educating the nursing leaders of tomorrow? If you answered yes, maybe you should consider pursuing the field of nursing education. To become certified as a nurse educator, students must pursue a Master of Science in Nursing with an Education specialization. Nurses working in education help teach, build and grow the curriculum space for students at colleges and universities. It's not uncommon for nurse educators to also work in the areas of simulation and leading clinical courses. To learn more about the nurse educator certification, check out the National League for Nursing.  

Leadership & Administration

Are you passionate about the field of nursing and the well-being of frontline nurses? Would you like to take an active role in creating policies and procedures for your organization? Becoming a Nurse Administrator might be your next opportunity for growth. Nurse administrators not only work in hospitals but across all spaces within the healthcare realm. Preparation for this field is typically obtained by pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Administration or Leadership. Once you obtain your degree, you can seek one of the Executive Nurse Certifications through the American Organization of Nursing Leadership

Law and Forensics

Do you have a passion for law and or forensics? As a nurse certified in this field of study, you will have the opportunity to work alongside lawyers and other experts needing assistance interpreting medical files and or health-related records. In the space of forensics, you will work closely with law enforcement and coroners to determine the cause of death and or provide substantial health-related findings. With passions in either area, you don't need a Master's in Nursing, you can practice with your Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Positions in law or forensic nursing will typically require you to have substantial clinical experience. This position can also provide some autonomy in your career, as you can work for yourself as a consultant to legal teams and or local corner offices. You can further your education in both areas by seeking an MSN in Legal Consulting or an MSN in Forensic Nursing. As mentioned previously, you don't need an MSN to practice in this role. Your work experience in a clinical setting is most important. The American Institute of Health Care Professionals offers certification in Forensics Nurse Practice. Those interested specifically in Law can consider the certification of the Legal Nurse Consultant, which is offered by the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants. An MSN to consider within this specialization is offered at Cleveland State University

The field of nursing is truly an oyster of possibilities. These roles are only a few of the endless possibilities you can consider in a nursing non-clinical role. To learn more or to explore other nursing specialties, I recommend checking out the Johnson & Johnson Nursing specialties website.

Written by: Emmanuel (Manny) Rivera

May 6, 2021

About the Author

Healthcare Academic Coach, Manny Rivera

Manny has worked in higher education for over 13 years, most recently as Assistant Director of Admissions for the University of South Florida College of Nursing. He has two master’s degrees, one in Human Resource Management and the other in Global Sustainability.