Options for Nurses Who Are Ready to Leave the Bedside

April Rowe (RNtoPen)
5 min readJul 3, 2022


There is definitely a surge of nurses who are planning to leave their jobs this year. It seems that living through a pandemic was the tipping point. However, burnout and compassion fatigue have been ongoing issues in the nursing field. It is a stressful job. It is often a thankless job. It can be backbreaking and exhausting. Before a nurse decides to leave the field completely, they should dip their toes in a non-clinical position first to see if they can salvage that RN/LPN behind their name.

The High-Stress Levels of Bedside Nursing

Working as a bedside nurse is a great way to master nursing skills, assessment, medications, and time management. It does, however, come with long hours, weekends, night shifts, and holidays. In most departments, you will find yourself on your feet for twelve hours, with minimal breaks, and in a high-stress environment. We take on a lot of responsibilities as nurses and it weighs heavily on us. This is why nursing burnout is so prevalent.

We can at least alleviate some of this weight by choosing a different type of nursing setting. All types of nursing jobs are stressful, but there are different levels of stress. Choose which stress level you are willing to submit yourself to. Working 8-hour shifts instead of 12 may greatly alleviate family stresses. Not working on your feet all day may solve the problem of body aches. Constantly dealing with the adrenaline of codes, alarms going off all day long, having to tell family members that their loved one is dying, all take a huge toll on our bodies and psyche.

There’s an Entire World of Nursing Beyond the Bedside

Luckily, nurses are never doomed to work in one setting/specialty for the rest of their careers. This is one of the benefits of becoming a nurse. It opens many doors and gives us a great deal of options to choose from.

Types of Non-Bedside Nursing Jobs

  1. Quality/Utilization Review/Informatics: Follow patients through their care and review the chart/EMR to assure clinical documentation of healthcare providers demonstrates appropriate utilization of services. This determines reimbursement from insurance. Very important!
  2. Risk Management: Manage patient claims and develop a plan of care to prevent risks and mitigate losses. Collaborate with leadership/healthcare team/safety department.
  3. Telehealth: Provide remote nursing care and education to patients via phone or video calls.
  4. Infection Control: Work within a healthcare setting and provide up-to-date education on diseases/infection prevention. Track/monitor infections/infectious diseases.
  5. Case Managers: Oversee the plan of care for patients. Collaborate with the healthcare team to coordinate care, discharge, community resources, etc. Some case managers provide direct patient care like in home health and hospice.
  6. Nurse Writers: Create their own business or work for companies/agencies to write medical content, health journalism, research/scientific articles, etc. Can be editors/copywriters/bloggers.
  7. Legal Nurses: Also create their own businesses or work as an employee. Work directly with attorneys/insurance companies. Research and analyze the medical records of patients involved in medical malpractice cases.
  8. Remote Patient Monitoring: Supplements patient care by remotely monitoring vital signs, glucose levels, etc. Assessment and education through telemonitoring.

Nursing Jobs with Better Schedules

Are you tired of nights, 12-hour shifts, weekends, and holidays, but still enjoy providing hands-on nursing care? Consider these nursing specialties:

  1. School Nursing: Off on weekends, holidays, and school vacations. Don’t think this job is a piece of cake. I’ve known several school nurses and their job is difficult and stressful, but so rewarding. You don’t just put band-aids on boo-boos all day. It’s so much more than that.
  2. Community Nursing/Public Health: Provide vaccinations, health screenings, education, etc. Can get county or state benefits depending on where you work.
  3. Pre-op/PACU/Same-Day Surgery Centers: Usually on-call is required. Start-times, end-times, and the length of hours worked can vary.
  4. Pre-Surgery Assessment: Shhh. This area of non-clinical nursing is the best-kept secret! I know, because I worked there. Some places require you to get vitals, draw labs, perform tests and assess. In other places, you barely touch the patient. The idea is to assure that a patient is healthy enough and ready for surgery. You order or complete tests that have been ordered by the surgeon or through anesthesia protocol. Medication reconciliation and pre-op education is provided. Usually, it’s a Monday-Friday job, 8 to 10 hours.
  5. Ambulatory Centers like Endoscopy, Pain Clinics, Wound Centers, Doctor’s offices: The patient comes and then leaves not long after. The hours can vary, but most places do not require weekends/holidays.
  6. Home Health/Hospice: On-call for nights and weekends/holidays is very common and varies between companies. Normal working hours are Monday-Friday. You manage your patients and your schedule. Most patients don’t want someone coming to their house at 7 am. If your child has a school play at 1 pm, you can schedule your day around it so that you can go. It’s fabulous! Don’t think working in this area is a breeze. It’s difficult and challenging, but it beats those 12-hour shifts on Christmas day!
  7. Private Duty Nursing: Provide one-on-one nursing care in the patient’s home. Usually, you only see one patient a day. You may have the same patient all day, every day. I’ve known my share of pediatric private duty nurses and they loved their jobs. If you like getting to know your patients well, this job is a good fit.
  8. Aesthetic/Injector Nurses: Medical Spas are a common workplace. You will build your clientele and help give them those plump, kissable lips and take away their frown lines and wrinkles!

Don’t Quit Nursing Yet! Try Something New

As you can see, there is a myriad of options for nurses who want to step away from the bedside. We worked so hard to get through nursing school and to pass the NCLEX. It would be a shame to give it all up. First, take a shot at something new. Change your nursing environment. Choose a better schedule. Rest those throbbing feet and aching backs! You just may end up finding something you absolutely love.



April Rowe (RNtoPen)

Registered Nurse and freelance health writer. NICU, peds, home heath, hospice. Loves books, travel,and languages🇪🇸🇮🇹