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Suggestions for careers similar to nursing?

by staciega staciega (New) New

Hi all! I am still taking my pre-reqs in order to apply to nursing school, but I am trying to make sure I am going for the best career for me. I KNOW I want to do something in the healthcare field. My question is: to all of you working in hospitals, are there other professions within healthcare that require similar pre-reqs as nursing? I have thought of radiology, respiratory therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy...are there any others that are not widely known? Just trying to make sure I have explored every avenue before I take the plunge into nursing school (not crazy about the long wait to get into school, and the potentially long wait to find a job). Thanks in advance!!

radiation therapy, nuclear medicine, medical assistant, surgical tech, paramedic, EMT

...it depends on what you want to do in healthcare.

To say you want to work in healthcare is so broad. There are literally 1000's of areas you could work in


Specializes in Pulmonary, MICU. Has 5 years experience.

To be directly involved in patient care, you've listed a good chunk. There is also Speech Therapy, Master Social Workers, Master Pyschologists (the Master between the degree required), Pharmacists, Pharmacy Techs. Of all the above, RN's are the highest paid and most in demand, however. The RN is sort of like the glue that holds all of these together. While the RN will do a little of the other professions job some of the time, it will many times be the RN (who is with the patient 12 hours per work day) who will recommend consults to the MD. The RN is trained to recognize when the other medical professions are required and then make the recommendations to the doctor for consults. But as such, RN's are also much more...accountable, per say...for the care of the patient. Much more involved, much more accountable. While the respiratory therapists know all things respiratory about X number of patients, you are expected to know nearly everything (including be able to know and understand) what RT/ST/OT/PT/MSW is saying about your patients. The ancillary professions see parts of patient care, it's the job of the RN to see the whole and to be the patient advocate.

But there are also tons of jobs in health care that are outside of direct patient care, but still an integral part of the system. Coding, Billing, PR, Janitors, Cafeteria workers, Medicare/Medicaid specialists, Pharmacists, Pharmacy Tech's, Human Resources. As the above poster said, there are thousands of jobs that you could have and still say you work in "health care."

PA - not similar to a regular RN but similar job function to a RN-NP.

Cardiovascular tech

EEG Tech

Polysomnographic Tech

Actually you should look for a website that lists all the allied health occupations. You have many options. Some do pay as much as nursing. Also not all nurses make a whole lot of money. Floor nurses in unions who work lots of OT have made lots of money in the past however the global economic crisis is likely to change all that.


Specializes in Pulmonary, MICU. Has 5 years experience.

It is also worth noting that of all the above, nursing is the only one with multiple avenues for career/practice advancement. As any of the given choices you have the option of going into management, or teaching other people to do what you do. But as a nurse, you have those options plus the option of becoming a nurse practitioner (Acute Care, Family, Pediatric, Geriatric), a Clinical Nurse Specialist (usually becomes an educator or helps write protocols), Nurse Anesthetist. There are tons of nursing advanced degrees that will change your job description, some of them drastically. This is something you won't see so much in the other jobs listed.

And about salary. As an RN you can expect to make 35-60k per year without working any OT...which while it isn't a "lot" of money, 60k is still double the average salary for a single-earner in this country. Coming out of school as a new grad and making 50k+ would be expected, with the biggest factor being geographic location.

Thanks so much for all of your replies...this is exactly what I was looking for! I will definitely check out some of these ideas. Something tells me though that I will arrive back at nursing like I always do. I also very much appreciate your explanations about the nursing profession, the "glue that holds it all together" aspect. I now understand it better and you make a lot of great points.

The chance for advancement, or multiple avenues for the future is one of the things that make nursing most attractive to me. No matter what, I want to be directly involved in patient care.

Thanks again for your help!!

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