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Bedside not for me. Any success stories doing something else?


I'm a second degree/career nurse and not a spring chicken. I taught kids and adults for a long time as well as ran a non-profit where I was very successful in many ways. I have worked with under served populations in the inner city, raised thousands of dollars and built key partnerships between businesses, communities and secular/faith-based non-profits in addition to writing curriculum for a welfare to work program. There is a lot more but those are a few highlights.

The madness of a busy unit is so not for me. I struggled in clinicals and was a nursing assistant on 2 very busy med-surg units of a large university-based hospital for a few years where time management and organizational skills were always a struggle.

I am keenly aware of my weaknesses and strengths and have finally decided to go with my strengths. I am truly worried that that my lack of bedside nursing experience on a med-surg unit will keep me from getting jobs even ones that have not one thing to do with it and where my previous experience is actually a better fit.

I am very interested in Health Literacy. I saw many of my welfare to work clients as an instructor and my patients as a nursing assistant, struggle with low literacy levels that affected their health and lives in negative- even unsafe ways.

I passed the NCLEX in August and have been fretting and feeling sick to my stomach when thinking about and looking for positions for bedside nurses. I haven't applied to any of them. When I started to allow myself to look for jobs where my strengths are highlighted, I felt a calm and excitement for the first time! I'm going to use several of my former networks and contacts to put feelers out and most importantly, set up informational interviews given that I'm more cobbling 2 degrees and 2 decades of experience together rather than using them in a straightforward way.

What an informational interview is: http://fortune.com/2013/04/04/what-to-ask-in-an-informational-interview/

Be gentle with any advice!! :shy: PM me with leads!! :yes:

Thank you!!!!!

Have you thought about case management? I am also a second-degree new grad and was approached about a case management position. They usually look for experienced nurses, but since I was a teacher they thought the position would be a good fit. There is also home health, which would really fit with your teaching experience.... Good luck, there are tons of opportunities beyond the bedside. You will be an asset with your previous job experience, so don't settle for what you will hate.

shamrokks, ADN, ASN, RN

Specializes in HIV, Psych, GI, Hepatology, Research. Has 10 years experience.

Clinics or doctors offices, specialty satellite offices of hospitals, psych nursing, home health, telephonic nursing positions... They do exist. I don't want to do bedside nursing either. I was a LPN at a GI clinic, moved to clinical research as a RN... Looking into a local psych hospital currently.

Thank you so much for responding being in favor of my decision! I've experienced some negative responses in person and am really worried about it! I think that some nurses feel like everyone has to pay their dues whether they are cut out for it or not.

I would love to case management but have only seen nurses with years of bedside get the jobs, at least in the big university system that I worked for. I think that teaching is a good foundation for it. It's strange that I was organized as a teacher but not so much with the nursing/aide stuff. I was always good with patient education though!

I have worked with psych patients in the past so I have a soft spot for that as well!!

shamrokks, ADN, ASN, RN

Specializes in HIV, Psych, GI, Hepatology, Research. Has 10 years experience.

Also surgery centers... You get iv experience as well as other skills but a smaller setting and a little more laid back.

How about teaching nurse leadership courses in nursing school? You sound like a natural!

@shamrokks Thanks for replying! Hmmmmm..... surgery centers. Never thought of that! I will keep it in mind! Thanks!

@scaredsilly Thanks for replying! I don't think that I could teach nurse leadership courses since I haven't been one BUT I could definitely teach leadership courses in general since I've done it in several capacities.

You sound like you would be great at working with public health departments, I had to do a public/community health clinical rotation and my clinical instructor was always telling us that she would try to help us if any of us were interested in public health. You could try to reach out to a former instructor (or just search on your own). Good luck, I hope you find something you like. I feel the same way as you sometimes.

Edited by Missy7801

How about a nursing position in a non-profit agency (outreach-type program), developmentally disabled individuals or community health clinics? These are rewarding non-bedside positions. Non-profits may give you a chance with your background (this sounds like what you're already doing). In my area, the more rural organizations for developmentally disabled will sometimes give new grads a chance (and the necessary training). Community health centers are great too and offer the opportunity to move up, if that's what you want to do someday. I am not starting out in a hospital because it's barely an option here for new grads. However, I agree with you. I'm not sure bedside nursing is for me either and may end up in something like community health or a non-profit.


Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology. Has 2 years experience.

Public health nursing!! Check out your county's website, as well as the state, and look at usajobs.gov. Craigslist can give you some great out-of-the-box jobs as well. I have a very laid back position doing health fairs and flu clinics, and another doing home infusions. I also recently accepted a SNF job while I'm looking for hospital work, but I have been able to pay my bills on the first two for a couple of months now.

Also look at community health centers, outpatient psych programs, even working with insurance companies or pharmaceuticals, if those interest you at all. I know the local community health center is doing a lot of home visits now, which is great for reaching out to pts who can't get to the clinic.

I'm sorry to hear you've received negative feedback. Not all nurses are destined for hospital work, nor should they be. There are a lot of avenues to explore in nursing, and we all have our niche. Best of luck to you! :)

I, too, am interested in jobs that don't require a break-neck pace, and where there's a little time for human interaction, and fluffing the pillow now and then. I've settled on home health for the time being and will be starting with one day a week, adding other patients as they become available. This will give me time for studying and learning before being dumped into the fray, I'm hoping....

Thanks for the post. I will keep it for future reference.

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

There's a basic underlying 'Catch-22' in those non-bedside jobs. In order to to function effectively, the incumbent must have expertise in nursing care (normal processes & protocols, interactions with various professions, diagnostic testing protocols, disease management . . etc). This is applicable to nursing education, case management, infection control, quality improvement .... and especially nursing management. At this time - with so many nurses scrambling to work anywhere but the bedside - there is no shortage of applicants for non-clinical jobs. Employers can pick and choose so they're going to select the most qualified.

Best advice? The most effective way to prepare yourself is by "ticking off all the boxes" (that employers are looking for) to fill out your resume as quickly as possible. Learn as much as you can. Become a preceptor. Become a CPR instructor. Serve as a charge nurse. Get a nationally recognized clinical certification. Volunteer for task forces & committees. This will set you apart from the rest of the herd that is stampeding away from the bedside.