3 Non-Traditional Job Opportunities for Nurse Practitioners

Looking for a job? Finding a nurse practitioner position can be frustrating in some markets. Expanding your job search horizons can help. There are a few types of employers that find themselves constantly in need of NPs. These positions are often in different settings than your average family practice clinic and can be an excellent opportunity to expand your skill set.

If you’re on the hunt for a nurse practitioner position, consider the following types of job opportunities.

1. Correctional Facilities

Everyone needs healthcare, inmates included. Many nurse practitioners are hesitant to apply for positions in prisons as their patients could be a tough crowd. But, healthcare workers who have been employed in prisons tell us differently. Most nurse practitioners working in correctional facilities find the inmates are overall respectful. They may lose privileges if they are not, and they want you to give them the best care possible so they are generally on good behavior. Security is always standing by in case a problem arises.

Prison health systems deal with a wide range of injuries and illnesses so they make an excellent learning environment for nurse practitioners. From chronic illness to infectious diseases and acute injuries, NPs will build a solid medical foundation working in a correctional facility. Job postings for these positions are abundant and are a great option for new grads trying to the their foot in the door in the NP job market.

The drawback of working in a correctional facility? In most cases, you will have to go through security on your way into work. This can add time to your commute. And, of course, there is always the small risk of a security lapse.

2. Home Health Visits

Similar to working in a correctional facility, visiting patients in their homes also has somewhat of a ‘sketchy’ conception. Although many nurse practitioners are reluctant to embrace the home health movement, NPs employed in the area tell us that in most cases these notions are unfounded. Many ‘home health’ visits take place in assisted living facilities or retirement homes as this is where many Medicare beneficiaries reside. Nurse practitioners report that they feel safe during their visits, even those that do take place in private residences.

Working as a home health nurse practitioner can resolve many frustrations that NPs feel in the clinic setting. The average workday often has some built in flexibility, not to mention excellent earning potential. Patients and families are happy to be treated in the convenience of their own home and are grateful for NP’s time and efforts. Nurse practitioners working in home health are able to follow-up with patients more closely leading to better outcomes.

As a result of new Medicare legislation, home health nurse practitioners are in great need. These positions are a good option for NPs looking to do something new with their careers and to get out of the clinic. The drawback? Nurse practitioners working in home health see patients on their own and may not get as much support as NPs in the clinic or hospital setting. If you are a new grad applying for a home health position, ask what kind of support system will be in place before accepting the job.

3. Locum Tenens Assignments

Think of locum tenens like travel nursing. The locum tenens industry places nurse practitioners in temporary assignments across the country. NPs can designate when and where they want to work. Placements range from a few days to weeks, months, or even end up as a permanent positions. Travel and accommodations are covered. Nurse practitioners tending to be homebodies can opt to accept assignments close to home, or within their current state, while adventurers can land themselves anywhere in the country, or occasionally, internationally.

The drawback of working locums? If you have strict criteria as to where you are willing to work, it may be difficult to string together consistent assignments to constitute a full-time gig. If your search criteria are flexible, however, you can make locums a full-time career option.


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