What are some non-physical nursing jobs for an RN with back issues?

By | 2022-02-21T17:45:31-05:00 October 27th, 2014|0 Comments

Dear Donna,

I have my BSN and have worked in geriatrics, dialysis and school nursing. I’ve been away from school nursing due to a back injury, which required surgery. I continue to have residual problems with my back and I’d like to find out about career alternatives that are not physical.

Needs Something Less Physical

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Needs Something Less Physical,

You have so many options I barely know where to begin. You might look for home care positions called “intake,” where you do not provide any direct care but do patient and home assessments to determine what type of services and equipment a patient will need while receiving care in the home. Your geriatric background will serve you well here. Home care also offers many other nonphysical positions for nurses these days.

Then there is telephone triage or telephone advice line work offered by insurance companies and private telehealth companies. There also are case management, care management and disease management jobs, where you primarily use the telephone and computer. Do not think for one minute these types of positions are not challenging or rewarding. There are many ways and places to make a difference. This is only a small sample of what’s actually available.

In addition to contacting employers directly about these opportunities and others, contact some nursing and healthcare agencies that do nontraditional placement. This can be a good way to gain some experience, get a foot in the door somewhere and try out a specialty to see if you like it.

Also attend local chapters meetings of the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nurses (www.aaacn.org) as a guest if not already a member. Networking is known to be an effective way to explore options, learn of job leads and get hired. Ambulatory care is where you’re likely to find the largest volume of opportunities that do not require physicality.

While I won’t be offering my Career Alternatives for Nurses seminar again until the spring of 2015, the program is available in a home-study version, which is a video of a live seminar. So it’s the next best thing to being there (http://ce.nurse.com/Professional-Development).

It’s important to remember that nurses possess a great body of knowledge and experience that is transferable into many areas of healthcare beyond the traditional. You already are qualified for the specialties I mention above and then some. You may find these articles helpful: “Can this career be saved?” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Career-Be-Saved) and “How to find your forte” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Forte).

Best wishes,


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