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I'm considering a change away from direct patient care. What options do I have?

Monday January 14, 2013
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Dear Donna,

I have eight years acute care experience in a med/surg unit and I'm considering a change away from direct patient care. I'm a self-starter and I like to work independently. I think I need a challenge to avoid becoming bored. I have a quieter personality, so I wouldn’t want any sales-related positions. I read your column and I'm starting to get organized to begin networking and doing informational interviews. What options do I have?

Wants to Leave the Hospital

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wants to Leave the Hospital,

I smiled when you said only eight years of hospital of experience — that is very substantial. You have so many options I barely know where to start.

It is helpful to start with a self-assessment and reflect on what you are good at and what interests you. If you read “How to find your forte” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Forte), that will help you get started.

Your options — all of them challenging and allowing autonomy — include case management, occupational health, school nursing, utilization review and nurse drug information specialization. These are just a few and the list goes on.

I recommend you attend my Career Alternatives for Nurses seminar to fully explore your options, identify transferable skills, and learn how and where to network to maximize your time and efforts. See where I'll be at www.Nurse.com/Events/CE-seminars/. The program is also available in a home-study version at CE.Nurse.com/Professional-Development.

It is important for you to attend career fairs and professional association meetings (even as a guest if you are not a member). Networking is the most effective way to explore options and find a job — face-to-face networking is the most powerful. You never know where a spark, idea, information, contact or opportunity will come from. See what’s coming up in your area at www.Nurse.com/Events/Career-fairs/

Move forward with faith and confidence and the right path will eventually reveal itself.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.