Many registered nurses (RNs) practice in traditional work environments like hospitals, ambulatory care units or home health. But there are many unusual, nontraditional job sites. Explore these five unique environments for nurses — movie sets, amusement parks, cruise ships, camps and national parks.

  1. Movie Set Nurse

Movie set nurses can provide direct patient care or consult. More recently, RNs provide on-site coronavirus testing. Nurses are on standby to ensure safety as film sets can be dangerous, chaotic places with potentially hundreds of people. Stunt performers, actors, the behind-the-scenes crew and even the catering employees must be safe. Anything can happen, from tripping on wires to vehicle crashes and pyrotechnic effects gone awry.

Also, nurses may consult on medical accuracy either on or off set by reading scripts, for instance. Think beyond a traditional movie set and consider working with a medical education company that uses on-site consultants to help with scientific direction. Nothing ruins a show or video more than a scene with a medical error.

  1. Theme Park Nurse

Yes, nurses can work at the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Larger amusement parks like Disney or Universal Studios hire on-site nurses to treat various conditions like nausea and vomiting, sunstroke, severe dehydration, and cuts and burns. Since visitors come in all shapes, sizes and ages, nurses must be comfortable working with children and families.

Theme parks usually have seasonal extended hours, staying open close to 18 hours a day, which requires a pool of nurses to cover the park hours. They often hire some full-time nurses, then fill in the gaps and high-volume days with part-time placements.

  1. Cruise Ship Nurse

There is naturally a need for healthcare at sea — not only for illness and injury but chronic medical conditions such as diabetes as well. Ships prepare for the unknown, even a quarantine. A ship nurse provides care as needed to all guests and crew members on board. Nursing responsibilities depend on the size of the ship and total number of people aboard.

Large cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean have aircraft carrier-sized ships accommodating up to 8,000 people, including passengers and crew. Medical services run as a small hospital with multiple team members, including doctors, chief nurses, ship nurses and technicians. Smaller ships and even large yachts may employ a single nurse, relying heavily on telehealth services. In these cases, the goal is to provide urgent medical care until help can arrive.

Some cruise ships set up a rotation where nurses work a shift, serve on call for the next shift and then have a whole day off. Others use an airline type schedule for several days off while in port. A cruise ship nurse position may provide travel and opportunities to visit new sites.

  1. Camp Nurse

If you enjoy the outdoors, consider camp nursing. The Association of Camp Nursing (ACN) sets standards. It offers resources and education courses such as Physical Assessment at Camp, Camp Orthopedics or Diabetes Management at Camp. Check out its job board, which helps connect nurses with camps.

To find the best place for you, think about your interest and your preferred camp patients. Maybe you attended a camp like the Girl Scouts and want to give back. Determine if you wish to engage in various activities like water sports, crafts or camp skills, or specialized training as for band, soccer or horsemanship. Perhaps you want to focus on the camper. For example, consider Camp Kesem for children of adults with cancer. Or consider camps for specific illnesses or disabilities such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Summer Camp or True Friends. There are even corporate retreat centers and mindfulness centers that employ nurses to care for adults.

Positions may be full-time, seasonal, temporary paid work or volunteer. You may provide direct care or work with administration to help plan and implement safe activities. Whatever your passion, be sure to apply early as camp posting can be eight to nine months in advance.

  1. National Park Nurse

Perhaps you are looking for a job where you get plenty of sunshine and the chance to see America’s beautiful sights. Several national parks, including Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Glacier Bay and Yosemite, hire nurses. The role varies from covering a single clinic to multiple clinics. You may provide urgent care as well as some primary care for local residents and employees. Some parks employ a year-round physician and supplement with Advanced Practice Providers during peak hours, with nursing staff according to the volume of visitors. Limited point-of-care lab testing and X-rays are typically available.

For many, the title “nurse” evokes the thought of a hospital, doctor’s office, clinic or nursing home. But there are many unconventional work environments. Nontraditional job locations can provide many rewarding opportunities and unique experiences. The possibilities in nursing are endless, particularly when you have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

Learn more about Nevada State College’s RN to BSN online program


Association of Camp Nursing

Camp Kesem: About Us

Girl Scouts: Program

Location Medical Services Ltd.: Film & Television Medical Support

Muscular Dystrophy Association

National Park Service: About Us 12 Incredibly Cool Nursing Specialties You’ve Never Heard Of

Royal Caribbean International Medical Shipboard Careers

True Friends Camp Courage: Our Story

ZipRecruiter: What Is a Movie Set Nurse and How to Become One