I'm Tired of Working with Patients: Now What? 8 Non-Bedside Nursing Jobs to Consider

nurse working jobs not bedside
Written by
Ana Gotter
Reviewed by
Miranda Kay, RN
March 30, 2023

There are so many great reasons to get into nursing, and when you ask most nurses, they’ll list the ability to help people as one of their top motivators. After a few decades (or even just a few years) into working with patients, however, some nurses are ready to hang up their stethoscopes and their scrubs so that they never have to work directly with a patient again.

Tired of working with patients as a nurse? Fortunately, there are several nursing career paths still available to you that won’t require you to leave the profession altogether. 

So if you want to stay in the nursing profession but are over the hardships that sometimes come with direct patient care, consider some of these non-bedside nursing jobs. 

Bedside vs. Non-Bedside Nursing Jobs: What Are They? 

Bedside nursing jobs are any jobs in which nurses provide direct care to patients in medical facilities, including clinics, surgical centers, nursing or assisted living homes, and hospitals. You may have job roles like taking a patient’s history, taking their vitals, drawing blood, helping administer medications or procedures, and monitoring a patient’s health.

Non-bedside nursing jobs are those in which nurses aren’t working directly with patient care in a hands-on role. You’re not administering medications, checking their blood pressure, or placing intravenous devices (IVs). 

Non-Bedside Nursing Jobs Involving No Hands-On Patient Care

Want to avoid patient care and interaction as much as possible? These are the eight jobs that will help you do exactly that. 

1. Nursing Informatics 

Nursing informatics is all about monitoring programs, systems, and patient care initiatives to determine what’s working and what isn’t. These nurses analyze extensive data to provide recommendations for the following:

  • New workflows
  • New technology selection and implementation
  • Changes to improve data quality 
  • Improved patient care procedures 

Most nursing informatics positions are within large healthcare organizations.  

2. Legal Nurse Consultant 

Legal nurse consultants are registered nurses (RNs) that provide attorneys with essential expertise regarding medical issues for legal cases. Many work in independent consulting practices, though some also work for insurance companies or legal firms specializing in injury-specific lawsuits. 

This job is paperwork-heavy, as you’ll review extensive data. You may also conduct interviews, review medical literature, understand legal standards of practice, and potentially even serve as an expert witness on a jury. 

You may be working on a number of different cases, including (but not limited to) medical malpractice, personal injury, product liability, elder law, and worker’s compensation lawsuits. 

3. Nurse Educator 

Nurse educators teach clinical skills, care methods, and team collaboration practices to nursing students and, in some cases, nursing professionals. They may be employed by nursing programs and colleges, though some may work either as employees or third-party contractors to teach a hospital’s nurses new skills. 

Nurse educators may also be responsible for conducting hospital research, including assessing the competency of nurses in the hospital or the standard of patient care. 

To become a nurse educator, you’ll need at least a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN)

4. Healthcare Risk Manager 

Healthcare risk managers have crucial roles in medical organizations. They manage clinical and administrative processes, procedures, and reporting structures that are designed to protect patients by monitoring, mitigating, and, ideally, preventing common risk factors.

They may, for example, realize that an abnormal number of falls are happening and that an organization’s “fall-risk” criteria need to be modified or that fall-risk patients need stronger education about risk. 

While healthcare risk managers try to protect patients through improved processes, they also seek to reduce malpractice concerns. 

5. Utilization Review Nurse

It’s not uncommon for healthcare organizations to wind up stretched to capacity when it comes to their resources. That’s where utilization review (UR) nurses come in.

UR nurses are responsible for ensuring that patients in a healthcare setting receive the appropriate level of care, which means getting the treatment they need without receiving treatments or care they aren’t actually eligible for. 

Core job responsibilities include carefully examining a patient’s medical records to determine how appropriate different healthcare efforts are. While you will often have to speak directly to patients and their care providers, you won’t be administering care.  

6. Nursing Administrator 

Nursing administrators work in medical facilities to supervise nurses, certified nursing assistants (CNAs), and other members of the care team. They are often responsible for recruiting, hiring, training, and overseeing nurses.

In addition to hiring responsibilities, they’ll also act like managers. They’ll create work schedules, improve team collaboration, and conduct performance reviews. 

If you still want to be in a hospital or healthcare facility setting but do not want to provide hands-on patient care, this is a great role to consider. 

Most nurse administrator roles will require at least a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN)

7. Nurse Writer 

Nurse writers are nursing professionals who write different types of content about healthcare, nursing, patient care, or the treatment of medical conditions. Their role is often to create content that educates readers about different healthcare topics, so they need to have a strong medical background in addition to writing and editing skills.

Nurse writers may work on a wide variety of projects, including the following:

  • Online content discussing common conditions, treatments, or procedures patients may have questions about
  • Newsletters to keep patients up to date with the latest treatments, new research, or new organization practices
  • Brochures or patient education resources that physicians can share
  • Journalistic articles regarding the medical profession
  • Book manuscripts or movie scripts, either as credited writers or ghostwriters 

8. Pharmaceutical or Medical Device Research or Sales 

Want to get away from healthcare administration? Consider moving into pharmaceutical or medical device roles, which may involve sales or research roles. 

Many pharmaceutical and medical device companies hire registered nurses to participate in the following:

  • Clinical trials 
  • Research protocols
  • Consultations with pharmacists, healthcare organizations, and prescribing physicians 
  • Support for physicians with questions about products 

Non-Bedside Nursing Jobs Involving Some Patient Interactions

If you’re interested in moving away from standard bedside nursing roles in large healthcare organizations but still want to work with patients in some capacity, you may want to consider the following roles:

Do I Need Bedside Nursing Before Working Non-Bedside? 

In the majority of cases, you do not need to be a bedside nurse before becoming a non-bedside nurse. 

There may be some jobs for which you’d be expected to have hands-on experience or for which it may at least be beneficial. Working as a nursing administrator or nurse educator, for example, will often be much more effective if you have that first-hand experience and really know the challenges bedside nurses face.

However, there are plenty of non-bedside nursing jobs that you can begin immediately upon graduation, as long as you have the degrees, licensure, or certifications required for the position.

The best part of non-bedside nursing jobs is that you can still do meaningful work that significantly impacts a patient’s quality of life, whether you never intend to provide (or desperately need a break from) direct patient care.  

What do you think? Have you ever considered taking a break from direct patient care and bedside nursing jobs? Take part in our community discussions, and let us know!  

Blog published on:
March 30, 2023

Meet Ana, a contributing copywriter at Nursa who specializes in content about nursing finances, career pathways, and nursing education.

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