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Though hospitals are the largest employer of nurses, they are not an ideal fit for everyone. There is a variety of organizations — some healthcare related and some not — that requires skilled nurses, so you have several non-hospital employment options to consider. Since some of these positions require applicants to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), earning this degree can significantly increase your odds of obtaining employment outside of the hospital.

What Are Some Non-Hospital Nursing Careers?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately six out of 10 nurses work in hospitals. However, nursing can be a field of immense opportunity for those who have the education, experience and interest to look further than traditional hospital careers.

Here are some career options for those who do not want to work in a hospital:

Nursing homes. After hospitals, nursing homes and residential care facilities are the next largest employer of nurses in the United States, accounting for around 7 percent of the workforce — nearly 200,000 nurses. In these settings, nurses provide bedside care and often fulfill managerial or supervisory roles.

Physicians’ offices and clinics. Similar to nursing homes, approximately 7 percent of nurses work in physicians’ offices. Add in freestanding clinics, such as those offering after-hour care, and the number increases. In addition, there are clinics that provide highly specialized services, including mental health, dialysis and outpatient surgery, to name a few.

In-home care. Home health, hospice and palliative care also offer careers outside of the hospital. While hospice nurses may provide care in a number of settings, including hospitals, hospice centers and nursing homes, the majority of care they provide is in the patient’s home. Medication administration, pain management and light housekeeping are common job duties.

Schools and colleges. For nurses who enjoy working with children or young adults, being a school nurse may be particularly rewarding. Nurses are needed at every level of the education system, from elementary school to college. They are responsible for tasks such as treating sick and injured students and conducting hearing and vision testing. School and college nurses are strongly encouraged to earn a BSN. The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) recommends that interested candidates obtain a BSN degree and complete state-specific board of nursing licensing requirements.

Community care centers. The government employs roughly 6 percent of the nation’s nurses. Often working in community centers and local and state departments of health, these nurses assume roles similar to public or community health nurses. They provide no- and low-cost care and vaccinations to underserved individuals, while spreading awareness on a wide range of topics, from family planning and disease management to nutrition and substance abuse.

Are There Any Benefits Associated With Non-Hospital Careers?

There are unique benefits associated with nursing careers outside of the typical hospital setting. Many of the positions follow a more traditional work schedule, which means day shifts with holidays and weekends off. Shifts are usually only eight hours, compared to 12-hour shifts that are common in hospitals. Finally, these careers can lead to more frequent interaction with the same patients, allowing nurses to develop long-term relationships.

Looking Outside of the Hospital

Nursing offers a wide range of employment opportunities beyond the hospital walls. Since many of these positions require a BSN, nurses interested in non-hospital careers may find earning this degree gives them an advantage over other applicants.

Learn more about the MC online RN to BSN program.


National Association of School Nurses: Education, Licensure, and Certification of School Nurses

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Registered Nurses

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