I have a PhD in nursing and work for a children's hospital. An increasing number of us PhD nurses are choosing to work in hospitals rather than become faculty members in schools of nursing. That's one of the reasons there is such a faculty shortage.
Before returning to school at the age of 36 for my PhD, I had been a Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist for 10 years. (I got my MSN at the age of 26.) After graduating with my PhD at the age of 42, I found it difficult to find a job. Universities usually require that new faculty members "start at the bottom" which means teaching undergraduate med-surg clinicals. I was not qualified for that because I had never worked in any clinical areas other than neonatal. Because I did have some OB coursework in my Master's program, I took a job teaching an OB/newborn rotation. That didn't work out because they also needed me to teach med-surg part of the year and I refuse to teach something I know nothing about.
So .... I went back to being a Neonatal CNS for a couple of years. The pay was much better, the work hours better, and I was treated much better than new faculty members are treated anywhere. But after a couple of years, really needed to "move up the ladder" to keep myself stimulated. I got lucky when the Nurse Executive created a new position that is almost perfect for me. That's how a lot of us hospital PhD's find our jobs. It's not that there are empty positions being advertised and we seek them. Most of the time, we are in the environment and someone sees that we have something to offer for which no existing postion fits -- so, a new position is created so that the hospital can use all of our skills for the benefit of the hospital rather than take an existing position that underutilizes us.
Currently, I work on special projects for the Nurse Executive, most of which have an "academic" bent to them. I research issues for her, investigate things, etc. I also teach a few classes within the hospital on things like precepting, staff development, experiential learning, and mentoring. Last year, I established a new program for summer externships for nursing students -- and I run that program each year now. I am also our liaison with all the local schools of nursing that use our hospital for clinical rotations. I also collect and analyze our nursing recruitment and retention data.
It's a great job for me because it combines my academic background and interest in nursing issues with my practical streak that wants to actually get things done. I work very flexible hours of my own choosing and don't have to worry about how many people called in sick on Saturday night -- but I contribute to the overall mission of the hospital and have the opportunity to help make things better for nusing students and staff. I am free to find/develop my own areas of interest and "sell" them to the administration. A job such as mine requires a lot of education and practical experience to navigate the politics and the complexities of developing and implementing new programs -- and doesn't pay any more than a normal CNS salary -- but is very satisfying and not nearly as stressful as a lot of other jobs.