10 Best Jobs for Nurses with Bad Backs

nurse with a back pain

If you’ve sustained an injury to your back, you might feel your days as a nurse are numbered, and you’ll need to find work in another career field.

Luckily nurses can work in many other nursing specialties besides clinical nursing.

Here are some alternative nursing career ideas where you can use your skills while preserving your back.

*Disclosure: This article on jobs for nurses with bad backs may contain affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. For more info, please see my disclaimer.

Best Jobs For Nurses with Bad Backs

In the video above, I go over the best jobs for nurses struggling with either back pain or who just want to protect their back.

If you don’t want to watch the video or need more information, keep reading below.

1. Public Health Nursing

nurse visiting a patient

Public health nurses take care of their community’s health. As a public health nurse, you will prevent disease and promote health within your district.

And after all, isn’t prevention the best cure for all illnesses?

You will also motivate patients to participate in health initiatives and develop health programs for the communities you serve.

As a public health nurse, you will contribute to the systems for monitoring crucial health indicators such as environmentally caused illnesses and immunization levels to identify any threats to public health and develop effective interventions.

If you choose this career, you won’t have much contact with individual patients, but it will be perfect for you if you see yourself researching public health problems and setting plans in motion to prevent diseases.

Expected Salary: According to the Indeed website average base salary for a public health nurse is $67,436 per year.

Find Your Next Nursing Job

Use our nursing job board to start looking for and applying to great nursing jobs near you.

2. School Nursing

nurse talking to a student

If you hate 12-hour shifts but like working with patients, perhaps school nursing could be the career you turn to when your back is giving trouble.

You will have to tend to some emergent situations during your days, but mostly, you will work in your office.

In the old days, school nurses’ main duties were to look after children’s illnesses to ensure that any contagious disease was isolated and treated with as little spread to the general population as possible.

However, these days the role of the school nurse is far broader, and the nurse provides practical and emotional support to school children and their parents.

You are often in charge of creating a safe environment for children at school. Developing special plans for children with disabilities is also part of your duties. 

Expected Salary: According to the Indeed website average base salary for a school health nurse is $30.14 per hour. (Actual remuneration varies by state.)

3. Occupational Health Nurse

nurse with other occupations

Like children, adults (especially in large factories) need someone to look after their health in the workplace.

If you don’t mind getting an occupational health and safety certification, then this career may be a godsend to your achy back. 

Occupational health nurse helps maintain employee health and well-being at work.

They provide health services to employees with chronic diseases, health education programs, and monitor potential health hazards in the workplace.

If there are any injuries, the occupational health nurse provides emergency care and helps employees get well and return to work. 

Expected Salary: According to the Indeed website average base salary for an occupational health nurse is $59,402 per year. (Actual remuneration varies by state.)

4. Telephone Triage Nurse

nurse attending to phone calls

When your back is sore, you may want to stay off your feet as much as possible.

Working as a telephone triage nurse will mean that you sit throughout your shift, providing patient assistance over the phone.

Usually, you will work in an emergency room, clinic, or call center. The telephone triage lines are open 24 hours a day, so you will be expected to do shift work (even the night shift) in this post.

You need great communication skills and elicit relevant information from patients about their symptoms to determine the severity of their illness before making the necessary recommendations for care needed.

Expected Salary: According to the Indeed website average base salary for a telephone triage nurse is $67,232 per year.

Find Your Next Nursing Job

Use our nursing job board to start looking for and applying to great nursing jobs near you.

5. Nurse Case Manager

nurse with a patient

Case managers oversee the care of chronically ill or high-risk patients. They coordinate patient care between hospitals, ambulatory settings, and home care.

Working with the multidisciplinary team, the case manager develops a care plan for the best health outcomes for each patient.

They usually follow up with multiple patients and act as patient advocates who ensure that patients’ health needs are met efficiently and effectively.

A case manager must identify patients’ needs and available resources.

On top of that, they need to link patients to the necessary services, follow up high-risk patients from admission through discharge, and even monitor their medication use while ensuring their health care goals are met.

Expected Salary: According to the Indeed website average base salary for a case manager is $73,332 per year.

6. Utilization Review Nurse

nurse talking to patient with data sheet

As the health care budgets get tighter, there is a need for a nurse to manage healthcare costs while ensuring the quality of patient care.

The utilization review nurses study the patient records to justify healthcare expenditure.

The main objective of the utilization review is to provide essential information to the insurers for authorization of health services.

By critically examining patient records, utilization nurses rely on their experience and education to compile accurate clinical pictures to the third-party payers for patient care.

If you love charting and ensuring all the information is organized for easy reporting, then this career choice will get you off your feet and behind a desk.

Expected Salary: According to the Indeed website average base salary for a utilization review nurse is $74,937 per year.

Pro-Tip
An insurance company will be the typical hire for an insurance review nurse.

7. Medical Sales Representative

Medical representative explaining

You can become a sales representative for a medical company with your nursing education.

Depending on the company you join, you can expect to sell medications or be a device and equipment representative.

Medical companies seek after nurses as they have the intimate knowledge of disease processes and can deliver the product information to surgeons and doctors like experts.

The workload will depend on what you’re selling, and if you opt for medical devices, you may expect to spend some days in surgery or doing sales calls. 

Expected Salary: According to the Indeed website average base salary for a medical sales representative is $66,296 per year.

Find Your Next Nursing Job

Use our nursing job board to start looking for and applying to great nursing jobs near you.

8. Nurse Educator

Nurse teaching a student

A nurse educator is a responsible job that requires a master’s degree. Your duties will include improving and adapting the curriculum to ensure a new cohort of capable nurses.

Passing on your knowledge and seeing new nurses grow in skill is rewarding and satisfying.

So if you already have the master’s qualification or are planning to get it, nurse education may be the place where you continue living your passion for nursing. 

Expected Salary: According to the Indeed website average base salary for a nurse educator is $75,470 per year.

Please Note
Something to note about this particular nursing job is that many nursing programs are starting to require a Ph.D. or a doctorate in nursing practice to be a nursing school faculty member.

9. Nursing Informatics

nurse with info data hologram

Nursing informatics is a specialized nursing service you can do sitting behind a desk.

This job combines nursing knowledge with computer and information sciences to develop data and systems to improve patient care outcomes and support nursing practice.

In your work, you will analyze data from multiple sources like diagnostic tests, patient records, and computerized provider order entry.

This is all to ensure the electronic medical record systems provide accurate and easily accessible information for all health care professionals.

Expected Salary: According to the PayScale website average base salary for a nursing informatics practitioner is $75,939 per year.

10. Nurse Writer 

hand with a pen

If you want to help your patients, and you can string together a sentence or two, perhaps a career in writing may be for you.

It is one of those occupations you can do at any time or any place-even your living room.

Writing for medical magazines or even providing a popular magazine column that deals with everyday patient problems will take care of the bills while giving you the rest you need.

Nurses are best qualified to share patient education information. You can either work for yourself as a freelance nurse writer or join a medical publication as their staff writer. 

Expected Salary: According to the Indeed website average base salary for a nurse writer is $68,623 per year.

Final Thoughts

The nursing degree gives you many skills that can easily translate to careers outside the hospital.

So, if you’re suffering while trying to provide care to patients in hospitals, there are better options for you.

Find Your Next Nursing Job

Use our nursing job board to start looking for and applying to great nursing jobs near you.

Have You Read These Yet?

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can be a nurse even if you have back problems. There are a lot of nursing jobs out there (direct patient contact or not) that are easy on the back.

Yes, you can be a nurse even if you have a herniated disk. There are a lot of nursing jobs out there (direct patient contact or not) that are easy on the back.

Nurses can get back problems because of poor body mechanics related to lifting, turning, standing, sitting, and just about everyday tasks related to their patient care nursing role.

Overexertion is one of the most common back injuries in the country.

To help your back pain you need:

  • To make sure you’re sitting and standing with good posture
  • Applying heat and cold therapy when necessary.
  • Make sure you’re wearing the right shoes
  • Work out core muscles.

if the back brace is needed and if it’s prescribed by a physician nurses should wear a back brace while they’re working.

Back injuries affect about 38% of nurses in the United States.