One thing the nursing profession can’t avoid is the statistic that the average age of nurses in the workforce is nearing 50. With more and more nurses nearing retirement age and perhaps tiring of the bedside nursing routine what are the options for these valuable members of the healthcare community in other areas of health care and the community? Here are some ideas for nurses based on the numerous interviews I’ve done for my various shows over the years.
1. Patient Care Nurse Manager
With management of the chronically ill patient continuing to tax the U.S. healthcare system, more and more insurers are looking to nurses to help manage their subscribers with chronic health issues. According to one article, health plans across the country are enlisting nurses to fill the health manager role with lots of success. You can make a real difference not just for patients but for the whole healthcare system by keeping these patients from preventable hospitalizations.
2. Corporate Health Oversight
Nurses with broad experience in the hospital may be surprised that their skills are sought after by corporate America. Many workplaces have positions for nurses in their facilities to provide immediate care for minor health problems and implement healthy workplace programs to improve employee health and drive down health benefits costs.
3. Patient Tele-Health and Medication Monitoring
Many patients taking maintenance medications are managing their illnesses at home with the help of tele-health nurses working for online pharmacies. Patients need a resource to call for assistance with side effect management and to report adverse events regarding their medications. These phone lines are often manned by nurses or pharmacists. A nurse with well-honed assessment skills can find a challenging and engaging workplace while helping patients all over the country.
4. School Nursing
School nurses are often the only primary care resource for students around the country in both rural and urban areas. These nurses act as counselors, medication managers, public health nurses, and friends for our nation’s students. Many schools systems are chronically underserved by nurses in these positions even though it may be mandated by statute. The bonus is you get to work a normal work week without nights or weekends!
5. Parish Nurse
Another place nurses are finding a home for their services later in life is working or volunteering in their community churches as a parish nurse. This valuable public health resource provides a host of services including blood pressure screenings, diabetes education, addiction and alcohol counseling and medication management education. These nurses define their own hours and the types of services and resources you provide are limited only by your own imagination!