Can you help me get out of direct patient care and into non-traditional nursing?

By | 2022-02-11T11:14:57-05:00 November 19th, 2009|0 Comments


Dear Donna,

I feel burned out on nursing after seven years. I’m ready to get out of direct patient care and do some non-traditional nursing. I actually like doing paperwork and telephone answering. Although I have some med/surg and pediatrics, most of my background is in psychiatry. I don’t have my BSN yet, (I graduate Decemeber 2010), and most jobs want you to have previous experience or an extensive background. I don’t know what to do. I can’t leave the nursing field.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Brandy,

It’s not unusual to want/need a change after so many years in clinical practice. The great thing about nursing is that there are so many different ways and places to make a difference and virtually endless opportunities.

When making a transition, it’s natural to start doubting your qualifications and assuming no one will want to hire you. We all go through that. But the reality is that you have a great background and are working toward your BSN. Excellent!

Be careful not to lock into generalizations such as “everyone wants experience.” These are never true across the board and can be very self-limiting. Most obstacles are in our own mind and of our own creation.

You have many opportunities working for an insurance company, including case management, disease management, utilization review, health coaching, telephone advice line, and so much more. Many insurance companies hire nurses with no prior related experience and provide training. Look in the yellow pages of your phone book under Health Maintenance Organizations and make direct contact with their human resource department.

You should also start doing some informational interviewing ( with nurses working in all of the above specialties (or any other nurses you know of/learn of that have “desk jobs”) whether at an insurance company, hospital, or private review company. This is a great way to learn about a specialty, make contacts, and occasionally learn of job openings.

There are many other things you can do and many other places to work, as well. You might consider contacting a nursing agency that offers non-traditional specialties to try out a few things. Attend nursing career fairs when you can. You’d be surprised at the non-traditional employers, including insurance companies, that often exhibit there. In other words, do more networking.

You certainly would benefit from my Career Alternatives for Nurses® seminar. I’ll be in New Jersey on Feb. 22 ( The program also is available in a home study version (

Best wishes, Donna


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