How do I explain to interviewers why I want to work in a nonclinical position?

By | 2022-02-15T17:47:29-05:00 January 9th, 2012|0 Comments


Dear Donna,

I’m in my mid-20s and have been a nurse for six years. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and anxiety last year. At the time, I was working in the ICU and ended up leaving the hospital setting because of the position’s physical and emotional demands. (I was out under FMLA, and my manager was not being understanding. I was not happy and decided it was time for me to look at more opportunities.) I was offered a position to work in a dementia unit, which is my passion. Unfortunately, I resigned after a month because the fibromyalgia flared up, and I couldn’t handle the stress. This past year, I’ve been frustrated and even thought about giving up nursing — I don’t want to, but I want to be healthy. I am looking into a doctor’s office or other nonclinical nursing positions. How do I handle a question about why I want to leave the clinical side of nursing, if it’s mainly for health reasons?


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Di,

If anyone asks why you want to transition out of the clinical arena (and they may not) simply say you love the pace and atmosphere of office and community nursing or you’d like to expand your experience and work in the ambulatory care setting for a change.

In the meantime, start volunteering in a clinic or public health department. Volunteering is a great way to gain some recent relevant experience, expand your professional network and hone your skills. It can build confidence and work stamina, help you ease back into the workforce and get your foot in the door somewhere. Remember, volunteering often leads to paid employment. Be sure to have nursing liability insurance even for volunteer work.

Consider attending local chapter meetings of the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nurses ( When there’s something you want to do it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. And networking is a very effective way to find and get a job.

There is no need for you to give up nursing because there are plenty of options. If you want to further explore nontraditional options, consider attending my Career Alternatives for Nurses seminar. There are always nurses who have disabilities at these events. See what’s planned at Explore vocational training options from your state. Some nurses have been able to have the seminar tuition covered by such programs.

Best wishes,


Discover how can help you find your next dream job.
Just sign up and wait to be paired with your perfect match.

About the Author:


Leave A Comment