Nurses work in highly demanding, highly challenging environments. As nurses get older, some of them choose to leave the 12-hour shifts behind to pursue career options that have some flexibility and autonomy. Fortunately, because of their vast experience and educational backgrounds, there are lots of career options for older nurses. To help you get started, here are some of the ones we consider to be the best.
Nurses who prefer to continue working in a hospital setting can transition into administrative positions. Their responsibilities in these roles can vary from managing other nurses, formulating policies, running their own nursing departments to teaching and mentoring young nurses. Depending on where they work, their title might be Case Manager, Nurse Manager or Nurse Service Training Officer.
Older nurses who want to get into administration must have a Master’s degree. Nurses in administrative positions are usually better compensated than other nurses.
Being a school nurse is fun, but it can be very challenging. This is because the assessment of sick children and each decision a nurse makes in this environment bears a lot of weight. However, being a school nurse can be very fulfilling for older nurses as their days are filled with youthful enthusiasm and younger people.
Being a school nurse is also a lot less physically demanding than working in most other settings, with the independence this career option comes with fitting well with older nurses’ experience and expertise.
Psychiatric nurses work with patients with various mental health issues to help take care of their emotional and mental needs. Communication, empathy and understanding are all very important in this role.
Older nurses who want to work with psychiatric patients might find this career a great fit. Additionally, the assessment skills they have gained over the years can come in handy in the thorough assessment of their patients to ensure they are providing the best care. Communication and thorough assessment are critical because a lot of underlying health problems in mental health patients are often missed due to them being hidden under the state of a patient’s mental health.
Family nurse practitioners work with all patient populations and demographics, from infants to geriatrics. Family nurse practitioners have a lot of autonomy, earn higher incomes than many other nurses and are highly respected in the healthcare industry and their communities.
The care they provide is always patient-facing, with many of them also engaged in community education depending on the communities they serve. Family nurse practitioners are usually primary care providers for families, treating injuries and illnesses as well as teaching about disease prevention and healthy lifestyles. They also diagnose conditions, treat them, and administer medication.
Becoming a family nurse practitioner requires a lot of experience and an advanced degree. It usually takes 8-10 years to become a family nurse practitioner, but the degree you need, usually a Master’s or doctorate, takes 2-3 years. Nurses can choose to pursue their degree full time or enrol in an online family nurse practitioner degree program. These online programs are offered part-time and are great for nurses who would like to keep working as they earn their degrees.
Nurses need a lot of training, both in the classroom and as they are starting their careers in nursing. Nurse educators and clinical instructors are tasked with teaching nursing students in nursing schools so they can start their nursing careers as competent and knowledgeable nurses. Older nurses who have a lot of experience and expertise in different aspects of nursing find this role satisfying as they get to pass on everything they have learnt in their careers to younger nurses.
Their roles can vary depending on the type of factory, plant or company they work for. Generally, they implement wellness and health programs for employees, carry out medical examinations for potential employees, run vaccination programs and offer first aid at work sites.
Private duty nurses are tasked with taking care of only one patient. The tasks they do vary depending on the patient’s needs, with some days being longer and more tiring than others. However, private duty nurses are paid on a per diem basis making their salary packages very attractive.
Clinic nurses have to handle a lot of paperwork but they also get to handle some nursing tasks such as changing dressing, monitoring physical signs, physical assessments and more. Although the amount of clinical work is reduced, clinic nurses still get to interact with patients from time to time.
Medical transcription is like any other transcription work, with it mainly involving medical materials. Medical transcription requires people with extensive knowledge of clinical and medical jargon, as well as lots of experience working with medical material.
Older nurses are a great fit for these positions. Medical transcriptionists are responsible for transcribing oral reports, medical reports, handwritten documents and other medical documents and records as may be required.
Although it might seem there are lots of career options for new and younger nurses and few for older ones, that is not true. Older nurses can leverage their experience, knowledge and expertise to get into new careers. While they may need advanced degrees or certifications, older nurses will find these new roles challenging, exciting and fulfilling.