15 Side Gigs for Nurses Looking to Make Extra Money

Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
Updated May 6, 2024
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    Review the pros and cons of some of the most popular side gigs available to nurses that can help them earn additional income and experience.
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    Are you a nurse looking for a side gig that doesn’t involve direct patient care? You’re in luck — nursing skills are in high demand. You can pursue side work as a telenurse, freelance nurse writer, or nursing tutor. Or you can shake up your routine and become a camp nurse or nurse influencer.

    Learn about the best side hustles for nurses so you can explore other interests while boosting your income.

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    15 Side Hustles for Nurses

    1. Telehealth Nurse

    The rise of telemedicine means new job opportunities for telehealth nurses. These nurses provide care remotely using videoconferencing, phone, or chat technologies. They may conduct virtual health assessments, communicate with patients about medical conditions, and recommend when to seek in-person care.

    The average telehealth nurse salary was $83,000 in Feb. 2024, according to Payscale. You need a nursing license to work as a telehealth nurse, with additional opportunities for nurse practitioners. Strong communication skills and the ability to use technology also help.

    While patients report several pros to telenursing, there are potential downsides to nurses, including regulatory requirements.

    • Pros: Flexible schedules, with the possibility of working from home; side gig opportunities that offer a commission structure; less exposure to infection risks.
    • Cons: Regulations may restrict you to working only with patients in your state; depending on the job, you might work irregular hours, including nights and weekends.

    2. Vaccine or Immunization Nurse

    Nurses are critical in administering vaccines and protecting people from infectious diseases. Vaccination clinics, community health organizations, and local health centers hire nurses to give immunizations. Vaccination and immunization nurses also educate the public about the importance of immunization.

    Vaccine and immunization nurses keep children up-to-date on their vaccines while administering flu and COVID-19 shots to adults. They use safe handling practices and keep records of vaccinations. Whether working in an immunization clinic, a pharmacy, or a mobile vaccine unit, these nurses promote public health.

    • Pros: Impactful work that makes a difference in the community; flexible schedules since most vaccine clinics operate during business hours.
    • Cons: Patients may express hesitancy or fear of shots; Side gig opportunities may be more plentiful during cold and flu season.

    3. Medical Biller and Coder

    Nurses use electronic health records to communicate patient information. As a medical biller or coder, you’ll use your knowledge of medical terminology to manage health records. That might include entering medical information into patient files, managing health insurance records, or flagging potential inaccuracies.

    When it comes to side hustles for nurses, the medical billing and coding salary potential is lower. Medical record specialists earn a median annual pay of $47,180, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s less than most RN jobs. However, the field does report strong job growth projections.

    • Pros: Strong demand for medical billers and coders means more opportunities; you may be able to pick up additional hours at your current workplace.
    • Cons: Lower earning potential than other side gigs; some employers prefer to hire candidates with medical billing and coding certifications.

    4. Freelance Nurse Writer

    Nurses with strong writing and communication skills can find work as freelance nurse writers. These nurses write content for websites, news outlets, and magazines that communicate health information. You can draw on your specialized clinical knowledge to stand out as a freelance nurse writer.

    Depending on the job, you might work with an editor to hone a pitch, conduct interviews, and revise based on editor feedback.

    In addition to writing side hustles for nurses, you can become a full-time nurse writer. And if you’re interested in freelance roles, you can also consider other nurse freelancer opportunities.

    • Pros: Flexible schedule and numerous opportunities with many organizations looking for experienced healthcare professionals to write content.
    • Cons: Tight deadlines and inconsistent work can make it a stressful side gig; you’ll likely need to negotiate your pay.

    5. Childcare Provider

    A background in nursing can help you break into the in-demand childcare field, especially if you have any pediatric nursing experience. Many childcare facilities and parents look for caregivers who can go beyond meeting children’s basic needs to promote their health and safety.

    Depending on the age of the children, you might support infants and toddlers working on fine and gross motor skills or help school-aged children with homework. You may also implement lesson plans, report on each child’s day to parents, and create engaging activities.

    • Pros: High demand for childcare providers, including childcare workers and nannies; opportunities to pick up babysitting work around your schedule.
    • Cons: Many childcare jobs offer low salaries; you’ll need patience to manage the stress of working with children.

    6. Health Tutor or Instructor

    Nursing school can be challenging. But if you’ve already graduated and earned your RN license, you can become a tutor and help other nursing students succeed.

    As a health tutor or instructor, you might help a student prepare for a quiz, review material for the NCLEX-RN exam, or brush up on basic clinical skills. Nurses can also tutor many undergraduate health and science classes.

    To become a health tutor, you’ll likely need a strong GPA and teaching skills. You can look for opportunities through nursing schools, local tutoring agencies, or websites where tutors market their services directly to students.

    • Pros: Flexible schedule with the ability to set tutoring sessions around your other work; a sense of fulfillment when your students succeed.
    • Cons: Pay can be inconsistent depending on demand and work setting; you’ll need patience and persistence to help frustrated learners.

    7. Adjunct Nursing Instructor

    Many states report nursing faculty shortages. That means side hustle opportunities for nurses with a graduate degree and an interest in teaching. As an adjunct nursing instructor, you’ll supervise nursing students during clinicals and evaluate their nursing knowledge. Nursing instructors also teach classes in hospitals, nursing schools, and other settings.

    Successful nursing instructors bring expertise in the field and a patient and encouraging learning approach. In addition to adjunct roles, you can consider several other nurse educator careers.

    • Pros: Demand for nursing instructors remains high; you’ll meet a critical need for educating nurses; teaching roles are often lower stress than bedside nursing roles.
    • Cons: Most nurse educator roles, including as an adjunct, require a graduate-level degree; adjunct pay can be low.

    8. Private Duty or Home Health Nurse

    Home health nurses care for patients in their homes. They monitor vital signs, administer medication, and operate medical equipment. Some people might even hire a private NICU or PICU nurse to help monitor newborns overnight. Depending on your license, you might work under the supervision of an RN, nurse practitioner, or physician. Demand for home care continues to grow, meaning many opportunities for home health nurses.

    These nurses provide palliative care, care for patients with disabilities, and help patients discharged from the hospital transition back into their homes. Learn more about how to become a home health nurse.

    • Pros: Demand for home health nurses is high; you’ll develop strong relationships with your patients; home care settings offer a less clinical setting than hospitals.
    • Cons: Home settings mean less medical equipment and support for urgent situations; you may need to travel between multiple homes.

    9. Camp Nurse

    Camp nurses work at nature camps, retreats, and other outdoor settings where they care for people attending the camp. These nurses administer medications, provide basic medical care, and advise people on when to seek additional medical treatments. Camp nurses often work independently in locations far from hospitals.

    As a camp nurse, you’ll work far away from the clinical environment. Instead, you’ll have nature at your back door, with chances to take advantage of your unique setting.

    • Pros: Relaxed, nature-filled environment to practice nursing; opportunities for adventure and travel; close relationships with patients; potential for discounted or free camp tuition for nurses’ kids.
    • Cons: Job opportunities may be seasonal, with fewer jobs in the off-season; you’ll often work without the support of other healthcare providers.

    10. Medical Transcriber

    Medical transcriptionists listen to voice recordings from healthcare professionals and transcribe them into electronic reports. They also review medical records to ensure their accuracy.

    As a medical transcriber, you’ll need to interpret patient information, results of physical exams, and discharge instructions. You may use tools such as speech recognition software to create drafts. You’ll bring a strong understanding of medical terminology and jargon thanks to your nursing background. You’ll also know how to follow confidentiality regulations.

    • Pros: Transcribers can often work on their schedule; nursing expertise means you’ll have an advantage when making drafts.
    • Cons: Demand for medical transcriptionists is declining, according to the BLS; the field reports lower salaries than nursing professionals.

    11. Nurse Influencer

    Blend education with entertainment as a nurse influencer. Nurse influencers share their knowledge and experience on social media platforms to improve public health and wellness.

    Whether sharing nursing school tips on TikTok or filming “day in the life” videos for Instagram, nurse influencers raise public awareness of their profession while communicating important information. However, you’ll need to watch out for potential HIPAA violations, including sharing any images or videos of patients without authorization.

    • Pros: Greatest flexibility for working nurses looking for side gigs; opportunity to build a brand and platform to share ideas.
    • Cons: Low earning potential; can be challenging to build a following; requires technical skills. Some medical centers have contract clauses about responsible social media posting, which may limit what nurses can post.

    12. PRN or Per Diem Nurse

    Per diem nurses work on a temporary basis for as little as one day. Hospitals or other healthcare facilities may hire PRNs to cover busy times or fill in for nursing staff. Depending on the contract, per diem nurses may work on call or for multiple employers.

    Taking a per diem RN job gives you some flexibility over your schedule. For example, you can filter jobs by location or hours. However, there are some downsides, including variability in schedule and a lack of benefits.

    • Pros: Per diem nurses receive an hourly rate, which can be high; the ability to pick up shifts gives these nurses flexibility.
    • Cons: Contract roles can mean little guarantee of work, and facilities may cancel shifts for per diem nurses; you’ll also likely not qualify for benefits. Per diem nurses are also usually the first to float to other units needing staffing and the first to be laid off if there are budget cuts.

    13. Paid Medical Survey Panelist

    Many organizations turn to healthcare professionals to take surveys. As a nurse, you can pick up side work as a paid medical survey panelist.

    Survey panels may require as little as 5-10 minutes or as long as a few hours. Pay also varies widely. However, this can be an easy side hustle for busy nurses since you can choose surveys based on availability. Depending on the opportunity, you can pick up a solid check for medical survey panels that require healthcare experience.

    • Pros: Flexibility to accept surveys on your schedule; opportunity for high-paying surveys that don’t require a high time commitment.
    • Cons: Some surveys may offer a very low rate of pay; nurses need to know how to identify reliable survey organizations.

    14. Traveling Phlebotomist

    Traveling phlebotomists, or mobile phlebotomists, draw blood samples in non-clinical locations. For example, they may work at mobile blood drives, travel to nursing homes, or visit patients’ homes to take blood samples.

    As a nurse, you likely already have the clinical skills to work in phlebotomy. Picking up side gigs in this field can mean extra money in your pocket. However, you’ll need to research opportunities for mobile phlebotomists in your area, which may be limited.

    • Pros: Organizations that hire traveling phlebotomists because of staffing shortages may offer high pay; you can find work in various settings and with diverse patients.
    • Cons: If you’re working on a contract basis, you may lack stability between contracts; you’ll need nursing experience to land jobs.

    15. Clinical Research Nurse

    Clinical research nurses conduct studies on nursing practice and patient care. They also work directly with patients involved in research studies. You can break into research nursing by contributing to studies conducted in hospitals or academic settings.

    In order to become a research nurse, you’ll typically need a BSN, while clinical research nurse jobs often require a master’s degree. Research roles also require strong analytical skills.

    • Pros: You’ll expand your knowledge of your field; research jobs can be less physically demanding; clinical research careers offer a high earning potential.
    • Cons: Research roles remove you from bedside care settings; you may need a graduate degree for many opportunities.

    Page last reviewed on April 25, 2024

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