Most people visualize nurses working in the hospital only. Although hospitals typically employ the majority of nurses around the globe, there are many other career paths to stroll down. I will give you four of the nursing jobs I've had before:
- School Nurse. Despite what you may have heard, this is not just about band-aids. School nurses face the special challenge of being the "only game in town", medically. They are responsible for a large number of children with a variety of physical and emotional health issues.
I worked as a school nurse for seven years. Among some of the diseases I worked with were Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes, Asthma, and ADHD. Another facet of school nursing is the medical emergency. I tended to compound fractures, heart attacks of adult staff members, and severe allergic reactions.
School nurses often have no back-up when awaiting 911 assistance. Perks you ask? First, you are never lonely or in want of a smile! I was also fortunate enough to coach basketball and sponsor a volunteer club for students in the school I worked in. The work is tough and challenging, but definitely rewarding.
- Clinical Research Nurse. I worked in a Phase I clinical research facility. This involves pharmaceutical companies testing their potential product on humans for the first time. These are drugs being tested for approval by the FDA. The work involves receiving a protocol from the pharmaceutical company and identifying research participants fitting the protocol criteria. The project is planned in great detail. This type of research involves blood testing at certain intervals. For example, you may have 20 participants that need blood draws completed exactly 15 minutes after the new drug is administered. This involves precise timing between the drug administration and the blood draws. Protocols often call for many blood draws at certain intervals over a 24 or longer hour period.
The facility I worked at was a 24 bed facility for pharmaceutical protocols requiring close supervision, certain diets, and multiple blood draws over several days. The challenge of this job is obvious. Although the drug has been tested on animals, one does not know the reaction it will have on humans. Dealing with rapidly changing situations is part of this job description.
- Plasma Center Nurse. My first job out of nursing school was at a plasma center. My work involved doing initial and annual physical exams and drug screens on plasma donors and handling medical emergencies. Like school nursing, you are often the only medical staff there – other than the phlebotomists - and must react quickly to medical emergencies.
- Occupational Health Nurse. I have worked in this capacity for the past four years of my career. This position involves nursing in a business environment. This could be a factory, an office building, a financial center, or any other business that employs Occupational Health Nurses. I have worked at Motorola, Perdue Farms, and Ford. All three positions differed in their challenges and duties. You will need to know OSHA policies and procedures, Worker's Compensation laws in the state in which you practice, and FMLA regulations – for starters.
Which of these options would you consider working as? Leave a comment below.