When most people think of a nurse, they think of the compassionate, attentive men and women who care for us during hospital, emergency room, and doctor’s visits. Traditionally, these clinical settings are where registered nurses have worked and continue to find the most job opportunity. Today, over 60 percent of RNs work in hospitals. If you are an aspiring nurse, or even a seasoned nurse looking for a change of scenery, you may wonder what other opportunities are out there for RNs. Where can registered nurses work in the modern medical field, beyond hospital walls?
By 2026, there will be near 3.4 million registered nurses employed in the United States. For you, this means a bright career outlook and a myriad of options when it comes to your workplace. Within the field of nursing, there are hundreds of different specializations you can pursue, including areas like pediatric nursing, oncology nursing, even addiction and substance abuse. There are also certain types of nursing careers that go beyond clinical functions, such as research nurses, insurance nurses, and medical journalists. Ultimately, the career path you pursue will define where you will work as a registered nurse.
Graduates of Goodwin College’s nursing school have found successful careers in a range of different settings, including hospitals, hospice settings, as well as private practices. But this is just the beginning. Below we’ve outlined some exciting, yet not-so-obvious workplaces for registered nurses today.
- Schools – While schools aren’t necessarily a surprising workplace for nurses, they are often overlooked by those considering a nursing degree. RNs are needed in schools throughout the nation to provide care to infants, children, and young adults. School nurses provide basic care such as checking vital signs, treating injuries and sickness, and referring urgent care as needed. Many school nursing positions today require a Bachelor’s in Nursing degree.
- Patients’ Homes – Home health care nurses work directly in patients’ homes. They help patients who are bedridden and cannot leave home, as well as those who struggle with physical or developmental disabilities, who need help with basic living skills and personal care. Patients may be elderly, disabled, or chronically or terminally ill.
- Courts of Law – Registered nurses can play a very important role in the U.S. court system, in cases where biological evidence needs to be assessed. Forensic nurses evaluate victims of crimes who have been subject to physical violence, as well as assess any biological evidence needed to present in court.
- Military Bases – Military nurses are always needed within our armed forces, to care for the sick and wounded at military bases and war zones. This is a uniquely challenging, yet rewarding career path in nursing that may require a BSN degree.
- Prison – The number of inmates in the United States continues to rise, along with the need for quality healthcare in our correctional facilities. Registered nurses can work in prisons and other areas of the criminal justice system, treating those who are incarcerated and needing medical care. These nurses may provide regular check-ups, or address injuries and illness, such as HIV.
- In a Third-World Country – Whether you become a missionary nurse, working on acts of faith, or a public health nurse working to help larger populations, there is the option to work abroad. Nurses in third-world countries provide vital care to patients who otherwise may not get the healthcare and treatments that they need. On top of providing care, nurses who work abroad can also expect to educate different cultures and populations about proper healthcare and disease prevention.
- Health Insurance Company – While insurance nursing may not sound exciting at first, it is a very popular career path among nurses who have a knack for numbers, technology, and wish for more behind-the-scenes work. Part of an insurance nurse’s role is to assess claims from medical providers, in a non-medical setting. However, they also play a key role in designing and analyzing health benefits, to help a company fine-tune policies and packages.
- Addiction Rehab Facility – Especially amidst the opioid epidemic in America, the need for addiction and substance abuse nurses is growing. As a licensed RN, you have the option to work in a treatment facility providing clinical care and longer-term attention to those in recovery.
- Board of Leaders – If you do not wish to work directly with patients, there is also the option to get involved on the administrative side of the nursing field. Nurse administrators and nurse managers, for example, are two crucial leadership professions that help to ensure nursing departments and healthcare facilities run smoothly. Most nurse leadership careers such as these require a Master’s in Nursing degree.
For those who don’t like to stay in one place too long, there is also the option to become a travel nurse – This means you will move frequently, across the U.S. and throughout the world, to provide care in places where there are not enough nurses or healthcare workers.
“Where do registered nurses work?” is one of the most common questions we hear from aspiring nurses. The short answer is, just about anywhere! Just as healthcare is needed in organizations and communities all over the world, so is the need for skilled registered nurses who can provide that care.
To become a registered nurse today, it is required that you have at least an associate degree in nursing. For some nursing careers and workplaces, however, you may be required to hold a Bachelor’s of Nursing (BSN) or a Master’s of Nursing (MSN) degree. For any nursing job, your RN license is also required to practice in the field.
Start preparing for your versatile career as a registered nurse today. Contact Goodwin College at 800-889-3282 to learn about our nursing programs online and in Connecticut. Or, request more information about our nursing degrees online.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.