Answered by Dana, Hiring Expert at ManpowerGroup, on Thursday, October 16, 2014
What a great question! The first thing I would do, is identify what you like and don’t like to do. Are you looking to stay within healthcare, for example, or leave it entirely?
If you are looking to remain within healthcare, what aspects of healthcare do you enjoy most? If it’s interactions with patients that delights you, then let this guide you towards roles which are inclusive of that function. If it’s interactions with other medical professionals that motivates and excites you, then you might be better suited to an internal role that serves the business side of the industry. I’ve actually met a few former nurses who now recruit nurses themselves, and work within hospital HR teams. I have also met former nurses who went into hospital administration and operations, or training and development. In addition, I have seen nurses who stopped working in clinical environments, and instead began working from home as nurse-advisors, strictly doing virtual patient care (talking to patients over the phone only).
I think the most important thing is to determine what you want, and what you don’t want, in your next career evolution. Once you have a good idea of what appeals to you, I would leverage your current healthcare connections as referral sources, and also speak with someone in HR about potential transfers in your current organization. They might actually have several plans in place for nurses who want to get out of that role. Or there may be training or re-education opportunities available.
And if healthcare isn’t for you, I would take a hard look at your work history and skills, and identify what’s transferable to other industries and roles. You may find that your background lends itself well to other caregiving professions, or teaching, or technology, or customer service. I would also creatively search on sites like LinkedIn for examples of former nurses who left the field. You may come across some excellent ideas regarding potential employers and possible positions in your area.