How can I find a nursing job in the insurance industry?

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Dear Donna,

I saw on you have an upcoming Career Alternatives for Nurses seminar in Chicago. I am looking for a nonclinical job. I was employed the past two years as a school nurse, but my contract was not renewed because of workforce reduction. Before school nursing, I was a stay-at-home mom for 14 years. I worked for about 14 years in med/surg, as a nurse manager and in GI. While I was a stay-at-home mom, I volunteered and held leadership positions. I also did part-time work giving health assessments and flu vaccines at various businesses.

I am interested in working in the insurance industry, in pre-cert nursing, case management or utilization review. I have applied for several positions online, but I am told there are more qualified people. Every position is for nurses with experience in case management/utilization review. How can I get experience if only experienced people can get hired? I need to find something soon because my benefits and salary stop at the end of the month. Could you recommend any certifications that would help?


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Paige,

One of the things many nurses dont know is the classified ads, including online ads, represent only a small percentage of all available jobs. There are much more creative and effective ways to find and get a job and to uncover hidden jobs in the industry. I go into all of that in great detail in the seminar.

Contrary to what some nurses believe, companies do not hire only experienced nurses. If that were the case, all the experienced people eventually would die out and there would be no one left to work. What you want to look for are entry-level positions, which often are not advertised in the paper and are filled by word of mouth, aka networking. Start talking to people in your network and let them know what you are seeking. The power of networking is people know people who know other people. Just for the record, insurance companies do hire nurses without previous experience in that field to work in various positions. Certifications are not needed for entry-level positions, and they wont substitute for experience when that is required. Also, there are many other positions in this industry for nurses beyond the ones you mention.

Contact some local hospitals and insurance companies. Ask to speak to the utilization review (or other related) nurses such as disease manager, health coach, telephone triage, telephone advice and so on. Tell whomever you speak with that you are not calling about a job but you are doing some research on different nursing careers (which is true). Then do an informational interview ( with these nurses. Find them by attending local chapter meetings as a guest or by calling the national office of associations such as the American Association of Managed Care Nurses ( or the Association of Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists ( to name a few.

Beyond that, your resume, cover letter, networking and interviewing skills, along with your personal presentation are a big part of effectively marketing yourself. Consider reading The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career ( to help you with the entire process of making a successful transition. The information and resources presented in the Career Alternatives for Nurses seminar also will help you land your dream job.

Best wishes,Donna

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