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Charting a New Course: The Journey from Bedside to Business

"How did you land that job??" This is the most common question nurses ask me when I introduce myself as an RN who works as a Clinical Training Specialist in Medtech.


You've seen Clinical Training Specialists in your ORs, hallways, break rooms, ICUs, etc. We don’t punch in or out, but then, our presence is by appointment only (mostly). We are there to help staff and to use our expertise to help improve patient outcomes, but we aren’t providing direct patient care. In fact, our first rule of practice is: put your hands in your pockets and don’t touch anything that isn’t yours, especially the patients.


In the spirit of being an RN and oversharing, which I think was in my BSN curriculum, I wanted to provide some perspective for you today and share what it's like to be a nurse on the business side of healthcare delivery.


The Shift from Hospital Employed RN to Clinical Training Specialist

As a nurse, my days were filled with direct patient care, multitasking, and being on my toes to address whatever came next. Transitioning to a Clinical Training Specialist, the direct patient interactions ceased, and my focus shifted to educating physicians and staff on using medical devices effectively and safely. This role allowed me to dive deep into the specifics of the technology, a significant change from the generalist approach in nursing.


Embracing a New Work Environment

Working as a Clinical Training Specialist is a more business-y work environment, quite different from the (let’s call it) unique atmosphere of nursing. Representing a company, I often find myself as the sole point of contact for our products, which means I am seen as the embodiment of the brand. This role brings a unique type of freedom and responsibility, allowing me to leverage my clinical experience to support healthcare professionals in a new way. However, there is a language shift not only in literal terms but also in needing to be a bit more polished when representing a company.


Adapting to Business Culture

Adapting to the business side is just different, particularly in terms of professional norms and everyday communication. Business interactions are often more structured and goal-oriented, focusing on strategic objectives rather than the immediate, reactive nature of nursing. This requires a shift in mindset but also offers a refreshing new perspective on working within a team.


The Benefits of a Career in MedTech

Giving up direct patient care can be tough. The value that nursing brings to society is immeasurable and I commend all those who do it. But if you're interested in switching to a Medtech role, here are the two most common reasons to do so:

  1. One of the most compelling reasons to consider a move to the Medtech field is the promise of a better work-life balance. Escaping the grueling schedule of night shifts, holidays, and weekend work can be a game-changer.

  2. The opportunity for career advancement and higher earnings in the business sector is a strong draw, especially for those feeling capped by the hourly wages structure in traditional nursing roles.

Tips for Transitioning to MedTech

For nurses curious about exploring a career beyond the hospital, I recommend:

  1. Engaging with Industry Professionals: Don't hesitate to ask visiting medical device reps and Clinical Training Specialists about their roles and experiences.

  2. Leveraging Your Clinical Knowledge: The devices you're familiar with in your nursing practice are the same ones you can become an expert on in the business world.

  3. Attending Trade Shows: These events are excellent opportunities to network and discover the vast array of roles available to nurses outside of direct patient care.


Conclusion: Finding Your Path

Embracing this career change was a pivotal moment for me, revealing a world where my nursing skills could be applied in innovative ways. My career feels open, free, and I get to explore cutting-edge medical technologies. For those feeling the strain of traditional nursing or simply seeking new horizons, remember, your skills and experience are invaluable assets in many fields. Finding what truly makes you happy and pursuing it with courage can lead to wonderfully unexpected places. -- Bennett Skaggs, BSN, RN

 

 

Bennett Skaggs, BSN, RN, is the founder of Next Step Nurses. His transition from RN to a Clinical Training Specialist in MedTech gave him an insider perspective on leveraging nursing experience for career fulfillment. Through Next Step Nurses, he shares insights and support for nurses looking to grow within or beyond the nursing field, ensuring they find fulfillment and balance. Discover supportive advice by scheduling an appointment on www.nextstepnurses.org, or by connecting with him on LinkedIn or Instagram .

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