Dream Big! Different Types of Nurses #YourNextShiftIf you’ve been following my work, I’m sure you’ve heard me say I never wanted to be a nurse. It wasn’t one of the jobs I responded to: ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?‘ as a child. Interestingly enough, here I am.

And as a nurse, I’ve been realizing that I do enjoy the nursing profession and am grateful for my career as a nurse. Although, I have already experienced many career transitions in my ten year experience. Guess what? That’s the beauty of nursing.

There are so many different types of nurses out there that you can find the ‘right’ fit for you. Don’t believe me? Let me share with you some really neat ways that folks are using their nursing degrees these days.

  1. Nurse Author. This is a fun type of nursing career. Because the neat thing about being a nurse author is you can do it in many ways. You can continue to be employed as a clinical nurse, working in some type of organization. And you may find that you’ve written some sort of publication that gets picked up in an innovative way- thus, making you some money. Or maybe you are a nurse in academia and your entire career is centered around the literature. Here you may find that you advance into some sort of editorial role for a peer reviewed journal. Finally, maybe you have a nursing blog or have written a print book. There are many nurse authors out there making a living, in a variety of ways. From writing columns in the public press to monetizing their own blogs, writing can be a very lucrative nursing career.
  2. Dream Big! Different Types of Nurses #YourNextShiftNurse Speaker. Now I know a LOT about this one. And not because I am this huge speaker, though I have done several nursing keynote talks before. You see, for the Art of Nursing program I host during National Nurse’s Week, I have got to find top notch speakers. And one stipulation? They have to be nurses! (Or at least 10 out of 12 of them.) So I have done my research and found that nurses are represented by some very profitable organizations. Working your way up, you can make upwards of $10,000 for one presentation. Now don’t think you’ll start out with that income right off the bat- it does take time. But if you enjoy giving presentations and teaching classes now- maybe following the path of becoming a nurse speaker is right for you. Here’s one example of a professional bio (and a past presenter of the Art of Nursing) to give you an idea of what this can become.
  3. Nurse Coach. This is a FAST growing career choice for nurses these days. Why is that? Well, for one, nurses already do the listening, teaching, and planning that nurse coaches do with their clients. Couple that with the fact that the public is looking for new places to receive their care (think outpatient programs), organizations are looking to hire nurse coaches all over the place. If you’ve already got your nursing degree and you’re interested in nurse coaching- check out these programs for more (International Nurse Coach Association and Wisdom of the Whole Coaching Academy).
  4. Clinical Nurse. Why did I put clinical nurse in this list? Well lots of reasons, so here we go. One- even if you’re sick of the job you’re currently doing, can you change specialties? I just talked with a nurse in a pediatric unit who used to do adult oncology. And before that she worked in the NICU! So you better believe you can move all over the place. Secondly, you can move up. Nursing leaders are aging (sorry about that) and will need to retire at some point. We will need new (and fresh) perspectives at the leadership table. Finally, with the massive growth of healthcare technology and electronic charting, there are new roles being created for nurses left and right. Figure out what you want to do and see if you can make that happen!
  5. Nurse Entrepreneur. Now you may think that this one was already covered in the first three listed above. Sure, those folks can be considered nurse entrepreneurs- however, there are so many more things a nurse can do if she/he decides to go into business for themselves. Take me for example. While I don’t coach, yet do speak and write, my main offer is a virtual conference during Nurse’s Week. That’s my business model. I know of another great nurse entrepreneur who thinks outside of the box and owns multiple companies. Kevin Ross, the Innovative Nurse, offers concierge healthcare to the public, among many other things.

I’d love to hear what you’d add to this list. Of course there are DOZENS (if not more) more, so I’m sure I missed some different type of nurse out there. What can you share in the comments below to give others reading out there some new ideas? Thanks for reading!

Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RNAbout the Author: As a speaker, workshop facilitator, and Reiki Master, Elizabeth partners with hospitals, organizations, associations, and nursing groups to help transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Your Next Shift Workshop, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver.


Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RN

“I’m a Nurse, but I’m Not Sure I LOVE Nursing Anymore! Can You Help Me?”


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