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What can I, a seasoned nurse, now working as a nursing director in a hospital, consider for my next career move?

Wednesday September 11, 2013
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Dear Donna,
I am almost at a loss of what to do next. I have been a nurse for 21 years, have an MSN and am dissatisfied with my job as a nursing director in a hospital. I would like to go back to teaching; however, the pay is less than desirable. I am often told I am overqualified for the bedside. Do you have any ideas for what else I might consider?

At a Loss

Dear Donna replies:

Dear At a Loss,

You have so many possible directions to go in I barely know where to start. Because of your great experience and advanced degree, you could do almost anything you want at this point. Here are just a few suggestions: Do education, research, and/or surveying for the Joint Commission; become education director/educator for one of the social service agencies such as the American Red Cross or American Heart Association; work for a healthcare consulting company on healthcare management and nursing issues; become a licensed nursing home/assisted living administrator; do education/training/customer support for a medical product company including EMR and other software. Believe me this is just a short list of possibilities.

Since everything happens through networking, I suggest that you start getting out to local/state/national meetings of associations such as the American College of Healthcare Executives www.ache.org, American Organization of Nurse Executives www.aone.org, and the American Nurses Association www.ana.org. If you're not a member of any of these organizations, you can attend as a guest. You never know where the spark, idea, information, opportunity or connection will come. You just have to get yourself out there.

Additionally, you might contact a healthcare executive search firm and work with them to explore various non-traditional opportunities. To find these firms, ask your peers, do an Internet search or consult The Directory of Executive and Professional Recruiters.

You don't have to envision your final destination in order to start your journey. Start moving forward in the above ways and the right path will eventually reveal itself to you.

Best wishes,