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Top Career Changes For Nurses

Micah Fikes
Micah Fikes on August 8, 2023

Though nursing is a noble profession, it’s also one of the most challenging. Demanding schedules, emotionally-charged situations, and physically taxing work can come at a cost. 


A recent report by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing found that about 100,000 registered nurses have left the profession since 2020. The report also estimates that more than 600,000 will leave the field by 2027 due to factors like long hours, stress, burnout and retirement.


For those moving on to a new profession, there is often a desire to be able to use their hard-earned nursing skills and experience in new and meaningful ways. As nurses contemplate how they might continue their mission to impact lives, even beyond the traditional boundaries of their profession, here are some career changes for nurses to consider:


  • Pharmaceutical sales representative
  • Medical device sales representative
  • Health insurance case manager
  • Health and wellness coach
  • Clinical research coordinator
  • Health writer
  • Corporate trainer
  • Medical-legal consultant
  • Teacher


Pharmaceutical Sales Representative



A pharmaceutical sales representative is responsible for promoting and selling pharmaceutical products to healthcare professionals. They play a vital rolecareer changes for nurses in educating physicians, pharmacists and other medical providers about the benefits and usage of various medications. 


To excel in this role, pharmaceutical sales representatives need excellent communication and interpersonal skills to build strong relationships with healthcare professionals, understand their needs, and effectively convey medical information.


Nursing traits can transfer well to the role of a pharmaceutical sales representative. Nurses possess a deep understanding of medical conditions, treatment options and patient care, which enables them to communicate complex medical information with ease. 

Medical Device Sales Representative



A medical device sales representative sells medical devices and equipment to healthcare providers, including hospitals, clinics and private practices. Their role involves showcasing the features and benefits of various medical devices, such as surgical instruments, diagnostic equipment, implantable devices and other medical technologies. 


They work closely with healthcare professionals to understand their needs, provide product demonstrations and offer technical support to ensure successful implementation and use of the devices.


Similar to pharmaceutical sales representatives, medical device sales representatives need exceptional communication and interpersonal skills to build relationships with healthcare providers and understand their specific requirements. They are responsible for staying updated on the latest advancements in medical technology and their applications to communicate the benefits of the devices they represent effectively.


Nurses possess several transferable traits that make them well-suited for this role if they are considering a career change. With their clinical experience, nurses have an in-depth understanding of medical procedures, patient needs and the practical use of medical devices. Their ability to explain complex medical concepts in a clear and understandable manner is a valuable asset when interacting with healthcare professionals. 


Health Insurance Case Manager



A health insurance case manager is a professional who works for health insurance companies or managed care organizations. Their job involves coordinating and managing the healthcare services for individuals covered by the insurance plan. They serve as advocates for the insured members, ensuring they receive appropriate and timely medical care while also managing costs and promoting efficient healthcare utilization.


Health insurance case managers work closely with healthcare providers, patients and insurance companies to navigate complex healthcare systems and facilitate the delivery of quality care. They review medical records, assess treatment plans and communicate with healthcare providers to ensure that services align with the covered benefits and are medically necessary.


Nurses possess several valuable traits that make them well-suited for the role of a health insurance case manager. Their clinical background in their nursing career allows them to understand medical terminology, treatment protocols and patient care needs. They can interpret complex medical information and make informed decisions about healthcare services. 


Nurses' strong communication and interpersonal skills enable them to effectively interact with patients, healthcare providers and insurance professionals, ensuring clear and accurate information exchange. 


Nurses' focus on patient advocacy and their commitment to patient well-being also align with the core principles of health insurance case management, where the primary goal is to optimize patient outcomes while controlling costs and maintaining quality care.


Health And Wellness Coach



A health and wellness coach is a professional who works with individuals to improve their overall well-being and adopt healthier lifestyles. These coachescareer changes for nurses empower their clients to set and achieve health-related goals, such as weight management, stress reduction, physical activity, nutrition improvement and lifestyle changes. 


They provide guidance, support and personalized plans to help clients make sustainable changes that promote better health and overall quality of life. Health and wellness coaches also use a client-centered approach, taking into account each individual's unique needs, preferences and circumstances. They assess their client's current health status, identify areas for improvement and create actionable plans to address specific health concerns.


Nurses possess several qualities that can be highly beneficial in the role of a health and wellness coach. Their medical background provides them with a strong foundation in anatomy, physiology and disease prevention, which allows them to offer evidence-based advice to their clients. 


A registered nurse is skilled in active listening and empathetic communication, which helps them build trust with clients and understand unique challenges and motivations better. They have a comprehensive understanding of tailoring coaching strategies to meet individual needs as well. 


Clinical Research Coordinator



A clinical research coordinator (CRC) is responsible for organizing and managing clinical trials and research studies. CRCs play a critical role in ensuring that research protocols are followed, data is collected accurately, and study participants receive proper care during the trial. 


They work closely with principal investigators, physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals to facilitate the successful implementation of research projects while adhering to regulatory requirements and ethical standards.


In their role, clinical research coordinators oversee various aspects of clinical trials, including recruiting and screening potential participants, obtaining informed consent and scheduling study visits. They document patient data, monitor participants' progress and ensure that data is entered into the study database accurately and securely. 


Nurses can be well-suited for the role of a clinical research coordinator because their clinical expertise allows them to understand medical terminology, disease processes and patient care needs, which is crucial for effectively coordinating research studies involving human participants. 


Nurses are also trained to provide patient-centered care and prioritize patient safety, qualities that align perfectly with the ethical considerations and care requirements in clinical research.


Health Writer



A health writer creates written content related to health and medical topics. They may cover a wide range of subjects, from medical conditions to treatment options, preventive measures, healthy lifestyle tips and the latest advancements in healthcare.


Health writers may craft articles, blog posts, website content, patient education materials and other forms of written communication to inform and educate their target audience on health-related matters.


Nurses’ medical background and knowledge of healthcare practices help enable them to write with authority and accuracy on medical topics. Nurses' experience in patient care and health education also gives them a unique perspective and understanding of patient’s needs, which allows them to create content that resonates with their audience and addresses their concerns.



Corporate Trainer



A corporate trainer is responsible for providing training and development programs to employees within a company or organization. These trainers designcareer changes for nurses and deliver training sessions that aim to enhance employees’ skills, knowledge and performance in specific areas, including job-related tasks, professional development, company policies and new technologies.


In their role, corporate trainers assess training needs, create training materials and design interactive and engaging learning experiences. They may conduct workshops, seminars, webinars or one-on-one coaching sessions to deliver the training content effectively. 


A background in healthcare and experience in patient education equip former nurses with excellent instructional skills and the ability to convey complex information in a clear and understandable manner. Nurses' expertise in providing patient-centered care also allows them to tailor training content to meet the specific needs and challenges of employees in a diverse workforce.


Medical Legal Consultant



A medical legal consultant provides expertise at the intersection of medicine and law. These consultants assist attorneys, law firms, insurance companies and other legal entities in understanding complex medical issues and providing insights into medical cases and claims. 


They also play a crucial role in bridging the gap between the medical and legal worlds, ensuring that medical evidence and information are accurately represented and understood during legal proceedings.


Nurses’ critical thinking skills and attention to detail are valuable in analyzing medical information and identifying potential areas of concern in legal cases. They also have the ability to communicate medical concepts in a clear and objective manner is essential in conveying medical information to legal professionals, judges and juries who may not have a medical background. 





Many nurses today are pursuing careers as school teachers, leveraging their clinical expertise and passion for education to shape the minds of future generations.


Nurses are skilled in building rapport and providing empathetic care, which helps create a supportive and conducive learning environment. Their ability to connect with students on a personal level fosters open communication and enhances the teaching and learning experience.


Since many positions in the nursing profession require a bachelor’s degree, earning a teaching license may just involve enrolling in an educator preparation program. For example, in Texas, educator preparation programs provide a pathway for individuals who want to change careers, come out of retirement or return to the workforce after an extended absence.


To enroll in this type of Texas teacher certification program, you must meet certain requirements that include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution (this does not have to be a nursing degree). You can read more about these requirements in our article, What Do You Need To Be A Teacher In Texas?


However, many nursing professionals do not have a bachelor’s degree, but have an associate’s degree. if you do not have a Bachelor of Science degree, you can still take advantage of an educator preparation program through a Health Science certification. In fact, you can qualify for an EPP with an associate’s degree or no degree at all if you plan to teach in the fields of Health Science Technology (as well as Criminal Justice or Cosmetology). 


If you have an associate degree, you must have at least two years of full-time wage-earning experience within the past 10 years in the field you plan to teach. You must also have a current license in Health Science Technology if you plan to teach in this subject area.


Once you’re accepted into an alternative teacher certification program, you will take the required coursework (300 hours of training, 30 of which must be dedicated to the observation of a certified teacher in a classroom environment) and take the required exams to earn your Texas teaching credential.


Teachers are in high demand. This profession can be a rewarding second career path for nurses who want to share their knowledge and expertise with the next generation while continuing to make a lasting impact on individuals’ lives.


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Written by Micah Fikes

Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank. In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.

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