If you made it to this article, you probably know that all nurses do not work at the bedside in a hospital. But you’re probably wondering what else is out there.

Hopkins nurses have pursued opportunities in community health, pharmaceutical sales, research, and witness testimony. So if you’re wondering what’s your niche in nursing, take some advice from Summer Thompson, “Keep an open mind when an extra job or duty presents itself. It could take you to a fascinating program.”

On that note, meet Katie Graap, a Research Nurse Specialist at the National Cancer Institute, Melanie Rogers, a Public Health Nurse at Jefferson County Health in Colorado, Rachel Jamora, a Pharmaceutical Territory Manager at Optinose in New York, and Summer Thompson, a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Expert Witness for the state of California.

Read on to learn about their careers and find their tips for pursuing a unique career in nursing.


Left to right: Katherine Graap, Melanie Rogers, Rachel Jamora, Summer Thompson



Katie Graap, a Research Nurse Specialist at the National Cancer Institute


At the National Cancer Institute, Katie Graap enrolls human subjects in clinical trials and gets each phase of the study approved by the FDA. Katie got into the position with a BSN and Oncology nursing certification.

What she likes about it:

In oncology you get to know the patients and families. It is nice to see the drug development process where your product goes from phase one (where you actually know the patient) to become FDA approved and commercially available. The work has a bigger impact on more patients.

Katie’s advice:

Take every opportunity, and let yourself figure out what you like and don’t like. Every job you have, you learn- everything is an experience that builds.



Melanie Rogers, a Public Health Nurse at Jefferson County Health in Colorado


At Jefferson County Health, Melanie Rogers is a community health general practitioner supporting patients with birth control, treatment for sexually transmitted infections, immunization, communicable disease control, and more.

What she likes about it:

There’s a lot of variety and autonomy. I help people take charge of their health, connect them to community resources, and get to see the impact on the whole community instead of one person at a time.

Melanie’s advice:

  • Say yes to weird things and it will lead you interesting places.
  • Be active in a professional organization- it will open up doors that you never knew existed.
  • Get involved with professional social media- there are a lot of opportunities to find people on Twitter and LinkedIn who are doing what you are interested in doing. Get your own malpractice insurance.



Rachel Jamora, a Pharmaceutical Territory Manager at Optinose


At Optinose, Rachel Jamora started as a Clinical Nurse Educator, and now is a pharmaceutical sales representative. Rachel promotes the drug to emergency medical technicians and providers.

What she likes about it:

I can touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients instead of just one person at a time. I also love the flexibility, stock options, and other perks, like a car. There is room to grow, too. I can become upper management, like a VP of sales, or I could go the clinical route to become a regional education director or a medical science liaison. They work one on one with physicians to show the scientific route.

Rachel’s advice:

Take risks and reach out to alumni on LinkedIn and with the alumni network. Alumni are always eager to help you out. It’s an exciting time to be a nurse!


Summer Thompson, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Expert Witness


Summer Thompson is working on setting up an LLC to be a full-time expert witness- they comment on cases to see if the nurse adhered to the standards of practice. “It’s very lucrative, you can earn $600 -$1000 per reading and $2000 for being called into court,” she says. In California, you must have at least five years of nursing experience, board certification, and a Master’s degree to become an expert witness.

What she likes about it:

I really enjoy helping nurses  be sure that they made the right choice and being able to correct misconceptions about a nurse’s perceived wrong doing, but I also like being able to protect the public from bad nursing decisions.

Summer’s advice:

Take opportunities when they present themselves. Most people miss their opportunities because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work, but that extra “work” could really help you understand what you want to do.


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Brought to you by the Career Lab


The Career Lab fosters exploration and learning related to professional development. To access helpful resources, register for career events, schedule career coaching appointments, and view job postings, please visit Handshake. Alumni interested in sharing their career journey can contact the Career Lab at SON-CareerLab@jhu.edu.