I always tell people that I love being a nurse because as a nurse, you can literally do anything. If you don’t want to do bedside anymore, no problem. If you want a per diem job that is not bedside nursing, no problem. You want to work a 9 to 5, no holidays? NO PROBLEM! To save you some time, I’ve added a list of non-bedside nursing gigs and you can scroll straight to the bottom (when I first became a nurse I had no idea that some of these options even existed) to check it out OR you can keep reading to find out how I’ve made a career by combining both bedside and non-bedside nursing.
Most of you know that I am a NICU nurse; that is my primary job. Outside of that, I run my own small business and I am a Clinical Nurse Educator, also referred to as a Nurse Consultant.
What is a Clinical Nurse Educator?
Per the definition provided by bsnedu.org, a Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE) is a “Baccalaureate- or Master-prepared nurse who has acquired significant experience in the field as a registered nurse (RN). Unlike traditional nurse educators who work in a university or college setting and must possess Master’s degrees, Clinical Nurse Educators often possess BSNs and work in healthcare facility settings.”
The most common thought when people see the title Clinical Nurse Educator, they think that the individual must be a clinical instructor for nursing students. Well, surprise! That is not the only option. I personally have no interest in being a clinical instructor, but I love being a CNE! I am a medical device CNE. This means that my job requires me to travel to various healthcare facilities– hospitals, outpatient offices, rehab facilities, doctor’s offices, etc. and provide education to healthcare providers on an array of medical devices. The devices we educate on can be anything from IVs to defibrillators, urine collection systems, blood collection tubes, IV pumps, central line dressing kits, PICC lines, aka just about anything!
How I discovered the role of Medical Device Clinical Nurse Educator:
At a previous job, my hospital made the decision to switch from our old-school IV pumps to the latest and greatest IV pumps and every nurse had to attend an inservice to learn how to use the new pumps. The classes were lead by nurses, whom had flown in just to teach these classes. When class was over I simply asked one of the nurses, “Hey, how do I get in on this teaching thing?!” I am going to give you the same advice she gave me: Next time you are at work, take a look at every single product that you use during your shift. Make note of the manufacturers, go to their websites, navigate to the career page, and search “nurse.”
Jobs will come up! Alternatively, you can also go to any job board, I used Indeed.com, and perform a search.
Job Titles To Search:
- Clinical Nurse Educator
- Medical Device Clinical Nurse Educator
- Nurse Consultant
- Nurse Liason
In my personal work experience, depending on the contract I am working, I am either called a Clinical Nurse Educator or Nurse Consultant. Most of the time my job refers to me as a Consultant, so I will use Consultant and CNE interchangeably.
What Does A Typical Day Look Like?
Depending on the facilities preference, I either wear business casual, scrubs, or scrubs with a lab coat. Shifts are between 8 and 12 hours. When I arrive for my shift, first I meet with my team. There can be anywhere from 2 to 6+ other Consultants present, depending on how large the hospital is (how many beds it has). The team comes up with a game plan, divide the units, stock our rolling carts (pictured above) with demo supplies and proceed to walk from unit to unit performing in-services on the new product(s). Sometimes we do have to drive to off-site locations to provide teaching as well and of course the company provides a rental car. That’s really it! We do no patient care whatsoever and are actually forbidden from touching any patient at all (for legal purposes). We are there to teach the product, not care for the patient. We also do nothing in sales whatsoever; which I love! I am not a salesman, I am a Nurse Educator, providing peer to peer education. I simply show nurses and doctors how to use new devices. I love my team and my supervisors + it’s a great way to earn some extra money. Being a CNE is a great way to stretch myself in a different area and, for me, it’s easy work (unless you have a fear of public speaking). Of course, you also have to deal with those grumpy nurses who don’t like change and all they do is complain about how they liked their old stuff better, but that’s nurses *shrugs*.
Full Time, Part Time, and Per Diem
Some nurses work as Medical Device CNEs full time and many of our supervisors started off in my role and now work full time from home managing accounts (securing deals, making sales, etc.) and booking Consultants. Personally, I only work as a CNE per diem and I’m able to choose my own schedule. And yes, it’s travel work and of course the company pays for all travel and all meals while you are on assignment. You go where the contract is and there are contracts all over the country. That being said, if they ask you if are you available to go to Iowa, you can simply say no! Assignments last anywhere from 2-14 days and you are able to choose your availability.
You are standing on your feet muuuuuch more than I anticipated! I stand the same amount, if not more, as a CNE that I stand as a bedside nurse. You stand and talk all day. It’s stand, speak, demo, walk to the next unit. Stand, speak and demo again, and walk to the next unit. But, we can flex our hours and we do get an hour lunch. Just make sure you wear your good shoes!
Some career ideas for nurses away from the bedside:
- Clinical Instructor
- Nursing Instructor (in a classroom setting)
- Case Manager
- Telephonic Case Manager
- Telephonic Triage Nurse
- Forensics Nurse
- Health Coach (often for insurance companies)
- Home Health Nurse
- Practice Manager at a physician’s office
- Hospital Administration
- Jobs in the Medical Technology field
- Clinical Research Nurse
- Legal Nurse Consultant
- Nursing Informatics
- Utilization Review Nurse
- and my favorite: Clinical Nurse Educator
Check out the most popular blog post from October—> RIGHT HERE!
And the most popular post from 2019 so far—> RIGHT HERE!
5 Comments Add yours
Love this post! I never knew this was possible. Do you work as a bedside nurse full-time and a CNE part time?
Yep! I work as a bedside nurse full time and as a CNE per diem
Great post! What was the interview process like for the CNE position?
Do you have to have a nursing degree or some type of medical experience? I’m currently working as a special education teacher. I have experience in teaching and public speaking…. can that crossover in the medical field?
Thank you for such valuable information. I have always wanted to work at the bedside and still not feel restricted.I love variety. So glad I do not need a masters to be CNE. My goal is to still do my Masters and be a Nurse Practitioner and CNE. With the information you shared, I can start my educator with my BSN. You have really enlightened me.Thank you again. Keep being a blessing.