Best Side Gigs for Nurses
As the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale once said, "Let us never consider ourselves finished nurses. We must be learning all of our lives." Luckily, there are numerous ways for nurses to continue their learning and expand upon their skills while benefiting from extra income.
This guide explores a variety of potential side hustles that can help nurses earn extra income. While there are advantages and disadvantages to each, the various options allow nurses to earn additional income in an area of health that interests them while providing a schedule that meets their needs.
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The Top Side Gigs for Nurses
Nurses who practice telehealth are typically able to do so from the comfort of their homes. They communicate with patients all over the world 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 homecare.
The American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing recommends prospective telehealth nurses become certified in ambulatory nursing through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Telehealth employers typically require 3-5 years of clinical experience.
- Pros: With increasing technological development and the rising desire for easier access to health resources as a result of COVID-19, telehealth opportunities are plentiful.
- Cons: Some companies require their nurses to work in a call center.
Vaccine or Immunization Nurse
Immunization nurses provide the vaccinations required for work, school, or public health issues. This position is available for registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs). Positions are typically available in hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies.
- Pros: Nurses can choose to work part time, seasonally, or as needed. 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 finding work during off seasons.
Medical Biller and Coder
Medical billing comprises inputting invoice information, communicating with insurance providers, and collecting payment. Coders translate information into language that is understood by 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. Nurses can make approximately $43,500 a year.
- Pros: Working hours are steady and predictable, and medical biller and coder jobs are available anywhere medical services are offered, providing easy access to either position.
- Cons: While nurses typically perform hands-on tasks, working as a medical biller or coder requires spending long hours in front of a computer screen.
Freelance Nurse Writer
Many online organizations are eager to have writers with direct experience in the medical community to provide advice and insight into their profession. Whether it's website content, web-based magazines, blogs, or social media, there are a variety of freelance writing options for nurses.
Upon building a writing portfolio and reputation, freelance writers can charge more for their work. Opportunities also exist for nurses as expert contributors; in this position, professionals review nursing articles to determine the accuracy of the content. General freelance writers are paid an average of $40,500 a year.
- 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 must be able to provide a portfolio of written work for high-paying positions. Without any previous written work, it can take some time for nurses to assert themselves within the medical writing community.
Options for nurses wanting to work in childcare include starting or working 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.
- 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 secondary means of income may not be worth the time commitment.
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. Tutors in general earn approximately $37,000 a year.
As a first aid/CPR instructor, 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 typically 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 is also typically done outside of regular business hours.
PRN or Per Diem Nurse
Per diem nurses work with staffing agencies or search job boards to find temporary employment. Typically, nurses are hired for 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.
Private Duty or Home Health Nurse
Home health nurses help the elderly, sick, or disabled complete everyday tasks they cannot complete on their own 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 $64,300 a year.
- Pros: As the population ages, the need for home health nurses increases. There is more 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.
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 months. 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 typically be too much of a time commitment. The majority of positions are also only available during the summer months, which can limit opportunities.
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 in order to save time.
There is some training needed to be a medical transcriber; however, a background in nursing is advantageous due to the familiarity with specific terminology. Nurses can also become a registered medical transcriptionist or a certified medical transcriptionist, 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.
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.
Due to their medical training and experience, nurses can choose from a variety of side gigs for nurses to supplement their income. These jobs offer the flexibility nurses need to complement the schedule of a full-time nursing position while providing the ability to work remotely or seasonally.
These opportunities provide nurses with the ability to advance their current skill set and pursue other fields of interest. Many of the positions can be lucrative, which can help nurses turn these side gigs into their main gig.
Whether the motivation is to earn additional income, gain more experience, or assist the medical community, nurses can utilize their skills and passions to foster the health and well-being of others.
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