Can I get a non-patient care job as a new RN, ASN?

Dear Nurse Beth Advice Column - The following letter submitted anonymously in search for answers. Feel free to join the conversation. Nurses Nurse Beth Nursing Q/A


Hi Nurse Beth!

I wanted to get some guidance for you as I am less than 1 year away from graduating. I really don't like patient care and it makes me extremely uncomfortable, my nursing program doesn't require very much clinical hours so I don't have that much experience. I wanted to ask you how hard it would be for a new grad nurse to get a job that is not directly patient care. Is it realistic to get a non patient care job as a new grad RN, ASN? I have looked at other non patient care jobs and have been interested in forensic nursing, lactation consulting, and sales.

I need help staying motivated through my nursing school as I have clinicals and they stress me out so much, it's taking everything in me to try and stick it out. Let me know what you think!

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Career Columnist / Author

Nurse Beth, MSN

157 Articles; 3,213 Posts

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear Uncomfortable,

Understandably, direct patient care is not the right fit for everyone. You are wise to consider alternative roles within nursing.

Here's some  options:

 Forensic nursing involves working at the intersection of healthcare and the criminal justice system. It may include collecting evidence from crime scenes, providing care to victims of violence or abuse, and testifying in court. To pursue this career, you may need additional training or certification, but it can be a rewarding field for those interested in both healthcare and law enforcement.

 Lactation consultants help new mothers with breastfeeding and lactation-related care. After completing specific education and clinical hours, it allows you to support new mothers in a different way. However, not all hospitals use Registered Nurses as lactation consultants.

Sales If you have good communication and interpersonal skills, you might explore roles in medical sales. These positions often require knowledge of medical products and may involve selling medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, or healthcare software to healthcare providers.

Again, medical sales jobs do not always require an RN. However, vendors often use RNs on the educational end to educate nurses on how to use their products.

As a new grad RN with an ASN, it can be challenging to land a non-patient care role immediately. Most entry-level positions tend to be in direct patient care. Many jobs specify one year of patient care experience, and many specify a BSN.

However, it's not impossible. Networking and building connections in your desired field, obtaining relevant certifications or training, and tailoring your resume to highlight relevant skills and experiences can improve your chances.

In the meantime, here are some tips to help you stay motivated through nursing school and clinicals:

Find a Support System. Connect with classmates who share similar interests and concerns. Sharing your experiences and providing mutual support can be encouraging.

Talk to Your Instructors. If clinicals are causing you significant stress, speak with your instructors or academic advisors. They may be able to provide guidance resources, or even suggest alternative clinical experiences that align more with your interests.

Set Short-Term Goals. Break down your nursing school journey into smaller, achievable goals. Celebrating these accomplishments can boost your motivation.

Seek Counseling or Guidance. If your stress and discomfort with patient care persist, consider talking to a counselor or therapist who can help you cope with your feelings and develop strategies to manage them.

Another consideration is to gain 1-2 years of experience in patient care as a stepping stone to the next level. Keep in mind that feelings of discomfort lessen with exposure. All nurses are uncomfortable with one aspect of the job or another. Give yourself time.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth




allnurses Guide

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

4 Articles; 4,832 Posts

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life).

I'm going to ask an obvious question which is why would you become a nurse if patient interactions make you uncomfortable?

the way me grow personally and professionally is to push past the things that are uncomfortable. So you need to examine what makes you uncomfortable. It could be that more experience will help with this. Most of good money non patient care jobs require at least a BSN if not a Master's degree. 


2,711 Posts

Specializes in oncology.
Nurse Beth said:

I wanted to get some guidance for you as I am less than 1 year away from graduating


Nurse Beth said:

I really don't like patient care and it makes me extremely uncomfortable

You are still some months away from graduating. You will probably have some opportunities to put everything together in a meaningful way. I remember the lightbulb moment I truly felt like I was a nurse and able to synthesize the knowledge needed to solve the patient situation. Although this is almost 50 years ago (I'm old!) I still remember that moment. You will have your moment. 

Nurse Beth said:

I have looked at other non patient care jobs and have been interested in forensic nursing, lactation consulting, and sales.

Doesn't lactation consulting involve 2 patients at the same time?

Specializes in Occupational Health.
londonflo said:

Doesn't lactation consulting involve 2 patients at the same time?

possibly...if they're twins 

Specializes in med-surge,developmental disabilites.
sleepwalker said:

possibly...if they're twins 

I think she meant mom and baby:)


3 Posts

If patient interaction makes you uncomfortable you could always look into becoming a Circulating Nurse for the OR. You have one patient at a time and very little facetime with the patient. Typically I spend about 5 minutes or less with my patients when they are awake. And that time is spent introducing myself, ensuring consents are signed, confirming that they know what doctor and surgery they are there for, allergies, any metals in the body and if they ate/drank anything. 

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