It wasn’t so long ago that I wondered, what else can I do with a nursing degree. Turns out, I wasn’t the only nurse asking the same question.
My purpose today, isn’t to show you all the possibilities open to nurses wanting to change specialties, switch employers, be an entrepreneur, or abandon the profession altogether. Rather, my intent is to help you understand the reason why you are looking for something else in the first place. Then the greater question, “what is this nurse best suited for?” can be answered.
Which brings me to an important distinction: are you looking for work that can accommodate the nursing degree you happen to have, or would you rather find something best suited to the individual who happens to hold the nursing degree? If you hate being a nurse, then finding other ways to be a nurse won’t make you happy. But if you just hate being a clinical nurse in a hospital oncology unit, the search becomes a little easier.
Now before you go racing toward one of those career alternative lists, let’s look at where you really need to start: your motivations for having chosen nursing in the first place.
What else can I do with a nursing degree? I think the knee jerk reaction for most nurses is, “Well, of course I went into nursing because I care about people.” To which I respond…baloney! There, I said it. Few nurses go into nursing for purely altruistic reasons. After all, compassion won’t put food on the table. I’m likely catch flack for this. I went into nursing because of the income potential, the flexible hours, the ability to use sophisticated technology, and because I liked the idea of caring for high risk and premature newborns.
Why don’t we let nurses say, “I went into nursing because the money is good?” Or, “because I found the medical field so fascinating?” Or, maybe, “because there are lots of nursing jobs?” Heck, why not even, “because my mom was a nurse and she seemed to enjoy it?!” I doubt engineers feel guilty for saying they chose their profession because of the earning potential.
I think what we’re really asking is, “what other kind of work can I do without going back for another degree and starting all over?”
That depends. What are you interested in? What are you good at? What do you know? Could you teach what you know? Do you want to learn something new? (Notice I didn’t mention going back to school?) What new things are you open to trying? And, finally, do your personality traits lend themselves well to the options you’re considering?
It’s helpful to recall the things you enjoyed when you were a kid or teenager. Back then, paying a mortgage and putting food on the table didn’t determine your choices. A certain innocence and spontaneity guided your ambitions and you were free to do what was fun. Do you remember?
By stepping back to re-examine your interests, skills, and passions, you’ll seek out alternative nursing careers more in tune with the individual holding the nursing degree, and be a much happier nurse in the process.
If you’re serious about becoming a nurse entrepreneur, I suggest you start with my course, “Change of Shift: From Clinical Career to Nurse Entrepreneur.” In that course, you’ll arrive at a product or service to offer, validate your offering, locate your audience, price your product, learn where to find help, and then write an actionable launch plan.