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15 Side Gigs for Nurses Looking to Make Extra Money

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Updated June 20, 2023

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.
15 Side Gigs for Nurses Looking to Make Extra Money
Credit: SDI Productions / E+ / Getty Images
  • Nurses likely already have the training to take on a side hustle — or two.
  • Remote work opportunities increase flexibility for side gigs for nurses.
  • Many of these nursing side hustles still allow for direct contact with patients.

Nursing may be fulfilling, but nurses may be looking to add to their bank accounts. For those seeking to make a little extra money, we put together this guide to side gigs for nurses.

Some of these side hustles can be done from home, and some still involve in-person patient care, but all of these gigs are secondary sources of income.

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15 Side Gigs for Nurses

1. Telehealth Nurse

Nurses who practice telehealth can often do so from the comfort of their homes. They communicate with patients via webcams or over the phone. The duties of a telehealth nurse can include providing medical advice, explaining treatment options, and assisting with questions regarding home care.

The American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing recommends prospective telehealth nurses become certified in ambulatory nursing through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Telehealth employers often require 3-5 years of clinical experience.

Telehealth nurses make an annual average salary of around $57,500, based on limited Payscale data from October 2022

  • Pros: Telehealth opportunities are often plentiful due to increasing technological development and the rising desire for easier access to health resources.
  • Cons: Some companies require their nurses to work in a call center.

2. Vaccine or Immunization Nurse

Immunization nurses provide vaccinations to meet work, school, or public health requirements. This position is available for registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs). Positions are often available in hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies.

  • Pros: Nurses can choose to work part time, seasonally, or as needed. Some good times to earn extra income as an immunization nurse are during flu season or prior to the beginning of the school year.
  • Cons: It can be difficult to find work during the off-season.

3. Medical Biller and Coder

Medical billing involves inputting invoice information, communicating with insurance providers, and collecting payments. Billers translate information into codes for medical providers and insurance companies.

Some companies prefer to hire medical billers and coders who have earned a specific certification. Available certifications include the certified professional coder, certified coding associate, and registered health information technician.

According to Payscale data from March 2023, nurses with this side hustle can make approximately $47,350 a year.

  • Pros: Working hours are steady and predictable, and medical biller and coder jobs are available anywhere that offers medical services, providing easy access to either position.
  • Cons: While nurses are accustomed to performing hands-on tasks, working as a medical biller or coder requires spending long hours in front of a computer screen.

4. Freelance Nurse Writer

Many online organizations are eager to have writers with direct experience in the healthcare community. These writers can provide advice and insight to better inform content. Whether it's for websites, web-based magazines, blogs, or social media, there are a variety of freelance writing options for nurses.

After building a writing portfolio and a reputation, freelance writers can charge more for their work. There are also opportunities for nurses to become expert contributors.

As expert contributors, these medical professionals review the accuracy of nursing articles written by other people. General freelance writers earn an average of nearly $40,000 a year, according to Payscale data from March 2023.

  • Pros: Freelance writers are not permanently employed by an individual company, so there is more flexibility as to when and how much they work.
  • Cons: While freelance writing can be lucrative, nurses may need to provide a portfolio of written work for high-paying positions. Without any previous written work, it may take some time for nurses to build experience. Generally, freelancers must pay a self-employment tax.

5. Childcare Provider

Options for nurses seeking work in childcare include assisting at a daycare center, becoming a consultant for a childcare business, and providing home-based care for a child.

Nurses can also choose the more flexible route of becoming a babysitter, as parents often feel more comfortable leaving their children with someone who has medical training/experience. On average, childcare workers earn approximately $34,000 a year, according to March 2023 Payscale data.

  • Pros: There is always a need for childcare services, so there is rarely a time where nurses will have difficulty finding these opportunities.
  • Cons: The money earned working as a childcare provider as a side gig may not be worth the time commitment.

6. Health Tutor or Instructor

Nurses interested in health education can pursue positions as tutors and first-aid/CPR instructors. Nursing tutors can find students independently or work for a third-party organization, such as community colleges and learning centers. Third-party companies may include certification requirements. Generally, tutors earn approximately $37,000 a year, according to Payscale data from March 2023.

As first-aid/CPR instructors, nurses can work for various groups, including businesses, communities, social groups, and events. Nurses can complete the two-day CPR certification process through the American Red Cross.

  • Pros: While working independently as a tutor, nurses often have online and in-person options that allow them to set their own hours and prices. First-aid/CPR instruction can provide nurses with a quick way to earn some extra money.
  • Cons: Working as a tutor or first-aid/CPR instructor can test a nurse's patience and persistence. Nurses have to adapt their teaching style and find ways to meet the needs of their students. Tutoring and teaching first-aid/CPR are often done outside regular business hours.

7. Adjunct Nursing Instructor

An adjunct nurse is an educator. They are responsible for nursing education for the school term. They are a school faculty member with responsibilities that mirror a clinical nurse educator.

Faculty positions are often part-time and work in settings like community colleges or clinical training environments. Education departments prefer applicants to hold a bachelor of science in nursing and a current RN license. Lesson planning is a large part of this role.

  • Pros: This role allows nurses to teach the next generation of nurses and could be a good fit for retired nurses and practicing nurses or to complement other side gigs.
  • Cons: This side gig may not be ideal for nurses who don't already have a year of teaching experience. Adjunct teaching could be difficult to juggle with a full-time nursing job during the school year.

8. Private Duty or Home Health Nurse

Home health nurses help the elderly, sick, or disabled complete everyday tasks at home. While there is no formal training necessary to become a home health nurse, most who choose this position as a side job meet the requirements based upon their field experience.

However, if the work is through a federally funded agency, the government requires a personal care assistance license, which comprises a skills evaluation and proven completion of 75 hours of field work. Homecare nurses can earn about $68,000 a year, according to Payscale data from March 2023.

  • Pros: As the population ages, the need for home health nurses increases. There is more job independence as an in-home provider, which allows nurses to choose their patients and treatment options. Homecare nurses also have an opportunity to focus in a specialized area.
  • Cons: While some nurses may see independence as a benefit, others find that they excel when they have easier access to various support systems.

9. Camp Nurse

Nurses can find employment at various camps, including day, summer, and residential camps. Responsibilities include providing medical care for campers who have injured themselves or become ill.

The time commitment can range from weekly to monthly, with most camps taking place in the summer. Positions can also vary from daytime-only hours to required overnight stays. While there are no specialized certifications required, nurses should have an active license and clinical experience.

  • Pros: Being employed at a camp provides nurses with a unique environment, benefiting those who do not want to work in a traditional medical setting.
  • Cons: For those who are employed in a full-time position, becoming a camp nurse would likely be too much of a time commitment. The majority of positions are also only available during the summer months, which can limit opportunities.

10. Medical Transcriber

Medical transcribers convert audio files from doctors and other health professionals into written documents. Once doctors complete an examination of a patient, they often record their notes instead of writing them down to save time.

Becoming a medical transcriber requires some training. However, a background in nursing is helpful due to the familiarity with specific terminology.

Nurses can also become registered medical transcriptionists or certified medical transcriptionists, which can provide them with additional qualifications.

  • Pros: Transcriptions can be remotely done with the use of a computer and headset, making the work easily accessible. Nurses can also work from home and choose their own hours.
  • Cons: For nurses who are used to completing hands-on tasks, the role of a medical transcriptionist can be quite sedentary.

11. Nurse Influencer

Nurse influencers focus on providing expert insight into the field of nursing. They guide and motivate current nurses or those looking to enter the profession. Nurse influencers earn additional income by providing sponsored content, selling advertising space, and reviewing medical equipment.

  • Pros: Being self-employed as an influencer allows nurses to create content that is of interest to them. Influencers also take pride in knowing that the information they provide can make an impact in the medical community.
  • Cons: While being an online influencer can be quite profitable, it does take a lot of time and effort to become successful. As an influencer, nurses need to continuously provide new content and build and sustain an audience.

12. PRN or Per Diem Nurse

Per diem nurses work with staffing agencies or search job boards to find temporary employment. Often, nurses fill these positions due to a gap in coverage caused by workers taking sick and/or vacation days or if there are an unusually high number of hospital admissions.

Per diem nurses can fill a variety of roles, including working in hospitals, clinics, hospice, and/or schools. Nurses are on call but can choose not to fill the offered shift.

  • Pros: Outside of earning additional money, working per diem can benefit nurses by providing them with an opportunity to expand their skills, gain experience in a new specialty or facility, and gain more control over their work-life balance.
  • Cons: Since work availability is often difficult to predict, per diem nurses are not guaranteed hours/work. The work available is dependent upon the employer's need.

13. Paid Medical Survey Panelist

Nurses can put their clinical knowledge to use in medical market surveys. Healthcare research firms conduct studies to help clients understand the industry and rely on panels of nurses, doctors, and other healthcare practitioners to fill out surveys.

Nurses with this side gig can sign up for as many survey portals as they want and get paid for the surveys they take. There are free portals, and some survey portals give money just to register. Others allow nurses to take the surveys on their phones and pay them via PayPal.

Here are three portals to get started:

  • Pros: Taking paid medical surveys is a flexible way to get some money for your skills.
  • Cons: Survey availability is unpredictable, and payment fluctuates depending on the portal. Some portals may not have an immediate need for someone with a nursing background.

14. Traveling phlebotomist

Become a traveling phlebotomist and get a change of scenery with some extra pocket change. This side gig can pay around $35,130 a year, according to ZipRecruiter.

Traveling phlebotomists can work in hospital settings, blood banks, nursing homes, and even blood drives. As a side gig, "travel" might mean staying a bit closer to home, but that makes it easier to know which state board to check with for licensure requirements.

A traveling phlebotomist is different from a mobile phlebotomist. Traveling phlebotomists are like traveling nurses, working in hospitals or clinics without being on the main staff. Mobile phlebotomists do house calls.

  • Pros: Nurses with a side gig as traveling phlebotomists can choose where to work and may control their own schedules.
  • Cons: Nurses may need to take some continuing education courses to renew their certification to start this side gig.

15. Clinical research nurse

Clinical research nurses help with clinical trials, acting as liaisons between volunteer patients and researchers. These nurses monitor patient safety conditions and collect data for the trials.

Being a clinical research nurse sometimes falls under the role of nurse researcher. Full-time research nurses make an average salary of $81,500 a year, according to limited Payscale data from February 2023

  • Pros: With this side hustle, nurses get to participate in clinical trials that can potentially lead to medical discoveries that directly impact patient outcomes.
  • Cons: The quality of pay is tied to which cities are conducting the trials. Larger metropolitan areas may pay more for clinical research nurses.

Due to their medical training and experience, nurses can choose from a variety of side gigs for nurses to supplement their income. Some of these jobs offer the flexibility to complement a full-time nursing position while providing the ability to work remotely or seasonally.

Side gigs provide nurses with the ability to pursue other areas of interest. Some of these positions offer high pay, which can help nurses turn these side hustles into their main gig.

Nurses can channel their skills and passions into non-clinical roles to earn additional income, gain experience, and assist the healthcare community.

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