From Scrubs to Suits: Using Your Nursing Degree Toward a Business Profession

Woman wearing half nursing scrubs and half business attire
Woman wearing half nursing scrubs and half business attire

Becoming a college student was one of the greatest achievements you made in your life. You were able to gain knowledge and experience about the nursing and healthcare field where you will be able to serve others and bring an increased quality of care to people of all ages.

Yet there may also come a time later in life when you still want to provide care to others, yet you want to work outside a hospital, clinic, family health practice or nursing home.

People can now seek a non-traditional nursing degree that they can use in a host of business settings where they can provide quality care in other unique ways within their work position, like an MSN-MBA dual degree.

If you are a young college student who is making the leap into transitioning from nursing to business, or you are middle-aged adult seeking to obtain a second degree in nursing, there are a variety of business and corporate professions in which you can use your nursing degree.

Medical Technical Writers and Journalists

Medical technical writers and journalists prepare a wide range of content for a variety of businesses and industries. These professionals use their communication and analytical skills to create white papers, how-to manuals, research reports, grant proposals and textbooks. They gather, research and disseminate technical information while using their specialized medical and nursing background to relay healthcare information and related news to people through different communication channels.

To become a technical writer, you’ll generally need a bachelor's degree in communication, English or journalism – in addition to having a degree in a specialized technical field such as nursing. In 2015, technical writers can make a median annual wage of $70,240 a year as the job outlook is expected to grow by 10 percent from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nursing Instructors

By obtaining clinical knowledge and experience in the nursing and the healthcare fields, people can help prepare other students to seek out their own career professions in the medical industry. Professionals with a nontraditional nursing degree may pursue teaching to provide instruction to college students in career and technical schools.

There were 57,390 nursing instructors in the United States in 2015 with a median annual wage of $73,150. While some 4-year educational institutions will seek instructors that have a Ph.D. in their chosen field of study, other colleges will hire instructors who have a nursing education master's degree, bachelor's degree and even an associate degree.

These instructors will teach the college program in which they attained their degree level, such as teaching courses in a bachelor's degree program. Having hands-on work experience in the nursing field can also give you an advantage if you choose to become a nursing instructor.

Health Insurance Agent

Health insurance agents work in companies that provide medical coverage for people based on their lifestyles and medical situations. Those with nursing degrees and communication skills are at an advantage when transitioning from nursing to business, as they have knowledge about the medical care that is covered by the insurance offered to people. They can therefore offer customized insurance programs for clients and provide advice on policy changes.

To enter the insurance field, most companies look to see if you have a high school diploma or equivalent, as they offer on-the-job training. So having a non-traditional nursing degree may give you an advantage over other job applicants. You will need to take state classes to obtain a license to sell insurance products in the state you work.

The median average salary for insurance agents was $48,200 in 2015, with the job outlook for this field projected to increase by nine percent from 2014 to 2024.

Healthcare Management Consultant

Management consultants work with a wide range of businesses to help improve healthcare for patients, employees and the medical industry. Consultants are hired to improve a company by offering advice designed to solve a specific problem, offer an alternative business system, or to improve a procedure, policy or process. They may also educate healthcare professionals on certain medical products and procedures, or work on a leadership team in a hospital.

As a healthcare management consultant, a person may be hired by the company itself or work for a consulting firm. They may also work as a team on projects or independently. Most employers require a bachelor's degree, although some look for a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA). People who have a non-traditional nursing degree may be sought after to become a healthcare management consultant by certain medical or healthcare organizations because of their experience and hands-on-training.

Consultants earned a median average salary of $81,320 per year in 2015.