The Top 7 Side Hustles for Nurses Wanting to Make Extra Money
By: Portia Wofford
In January, the American Journal of Nursing posted a question that garnered hundreds of responses: "Nurses, do you have a side job, whether for fun or to make ends meet?" Many nurses work two jobs, have a side hustle, or have ventured into entrepreneurship.
Although nursing is a great career that yields a decent salary, extra money is always a plus. Here are seven ways to use your nursing degree to secure the bag — and your financial future.
1. Blogging and Healthcare Writing
Do you enjoy writing? Do you have a specialty? Freelance writing is a great way to bring in some extra income without having to leave the comfort of your home. Freelancers set their own hours and rates and choose their clients. You don't need an English or Journalism degree, either — your nursing credentials and experiences are enough.
There are tons of clients searching for your invaluable knowledge, skills, and experience. It's best if you steered clear of giving medical advice, but you are well within your scope of practice to educate others on particular topics or specialties.
Many companies seek healthcare writers to write:
- Website content
- Patient-focused education articles
- Educational courses
Many facilities have writing projects (employee newsletter, staff education, etc.) and will sometimes recruit internally, so see if anything is available at your facility. There are no limits to the types of writing you could do.
Blogging is a great way to earn extra cash. Companies often seek and reach out to nurses to promote their products and services (i.e., scrub, stethoscope, watch, essential oils, NCLEX prep, and much more). Why not earn cash blogging about products you use every day?
- Start a blog and give honest reviews on companies
- Be sure to tell your audience how the products or services are helping you with your everyday nursing career or as a nursing student
- Not only will you build a social following (social following= dollars) you'll also have the opportunity to earn affiliate marketing income and receive some free merchandise.
- You can promote affiliate products and services or use advertising that pays per click
- Just remember, to be transparent with your audience by letting them know you are being paid for your reviews
Getting Started as a Freelance Writer
Before jumping into the freelance writing pool, you should get your feet wet. Try guest blogging or writing articles for smaller organizations before pitching your services to larger companies. The goal is to build a reputable portfolio. Once you have a portfolio, the internet is a great place to find clients. Use keyword searches that target your niche or preferred client.
Experienced freelancers can make between $30-$100+ per hour! That's some serious side hustle coin! Several platforms help nurses to navigate the freelance writing and blogging world.
Savvy Scribe Collective, co-founded by an RN, is an excellent resource for nurse writers - especially those just beginning in healthcare writing. Savvy Scribe Collective's Facebook group is a very strong and unique community for resources, networking, and advice. This network offers learning-focused accountability and connection with health writing resources that take businesses to the next level.
If you want more resources, how to's, and connections, check out their podcast.
Carol Bush, a co-founder of the page, states, “The Facebook community is very strong, but we are also a business. We are a freelance collective. We have a talent pool where people can apply and be vetted to work with us. We connect health brands with high performing health writers. We are not a job platform, but a collective of professional health writers. It is a great opportunity for people who are new to writing to begin earning. We have beginner gigs to full-on, very complex content management projects. In 2018, we paid out over $175,000 to over 80 of our talent pool.”
2. Pick Up Per Diem Shifts
Per diem shifts allow you to pick up shifts when and where you want. As a per diem nurse, you will work day by day or as assignments open. You are essentially making your schedule and getting paid more than regular full-time employees. Expect your pay to be dependent on shift and location.
Although you won't be receiving benefits such as vacation time or health insurance, most per diem nurses make at least $5/hour more than their colleagues who are full-time employees at the same facility. You can find shifts as a per diem nurse through agencies or directly through your employer. Some agencies pay on a weekly or even daily basis.
3. Sell Your Scrubs
We all have amassed too many scrubs. Whether it's from changing jobs or your job changing your colors, we need to get rid of the pile of unused scrubs we have lying around. Instead of throwing them out, why not sell them? Platforms such as Poshmark and Facebook Marketplace are great ways to sell your gently used scrubs. Try having a yard sale or asking your coworkers if they are looking for scrubs at a discounted price. eBay, where you earn up to 70% of the selling price, is another excellent platform to use.
4. Start Your Own Store
Etsy — if you are crafty Etsy is the way to go. Try making custom badge reels or nurse related t-shirts.
5. Become a CPR Instructor
The CPR instructor position had a projected growth of 8% from 2014 to 2024. The average hourly salary for a CPR instructor, in the United States is $29/hour. The American Heart Association has the most accepted CPR instructor training course. Your coworkers and other healthcare colleagues are the perfect clients to build your business.
6. Seasonal Flu Clinics
Administering flu shots can be a great side gig. Doctors' offices and immunization and specialty clinics (such as those inside of Walgreens, Walmart, and CVS) often need nurses to administer flu vaccines during the flu season. Nurses can make anywhere from $25 to $40 per hour. Check with staffing agencies or your local health department for these opportunities.
7. Obtain a Certification
If another degree isn’t in your plans, try earning a certification. Many certifications can help you land higher-paying positions that can raise your salary and increase your marketability. Earning an additional certification in your specialty or area of interest will help you secure a job in some of the highest in-demand specialties.
How To Invest Your Extra Income As A Nurse
Now, that you have all of this extra cash, how can use you use to secure your future? I spoke with Michel Valbrun, CPA on ways nurses can secure their financial future.
PW: How can nurses ensure they have financial stability?
MV: Nurses can ensure financial stability by having an emergency savings account, eliminating their debt, building their long-term savings, saving for retirement, identifying investments, and working with a financial planner or CPA.
PW: What are a few ways nurses can invest their money?
MV: Nurses have a couple of options when it comes to investing their money. I highly recommend contributing to a retirement plan such as a 401k and an IRA. They are a great vehicle for tax savings and can grow significantly when it comes time to retire.
There are also a lot of cool apps out there such as Acorns which allows you to invest your “spare change”, Robinhood, which is a free-trading app lets you trade stocks, options, exchange-traded funds, and cryptocurrency without paying commissions or fees, and Stash which works similar to Acorns.
Lastly, I personally believe that the biggest investment you can make is in yourself whether that’s through education, personal care, or health. These things pay big life dividends and cannot be taken away.
PW: What are a few ways nurses can increase their savings?
MV: Saving is not sexy but is the foundation of a strong financial plan. I recommend nurses to automatically save at least 10% of their income in a separate savings account at a separate bank. You need to make sure that access to that savings account is inconvenient and will only be used for a predetermined purchase or emergency. Overtime may be an option for some nurses which can increase your savings, but as long as you save consistently you don’t necessarily need to go that route.
PW: Why is it important for nurses to build emergency savings?
MV: Emergency savings can protect you from a financially devastating scenario. The purpose of an emergency saving is to ensure you have enough savings which are typically 3-6 months of living expenses. This savings account should also be separated from your checking account and long-term savings account. As the name implies it should only be used for emergencies such as a job loss or an unexpected necessary payment.
PW: What is your main piece of personal financial planning advice for nurses?
MV: It is critically important for nurses to put themselves in a position to get their money to work just as hard (if not harder) than they do. I recommend that nurses become aware of their fiscal (financial) health like their physical health. The way to do that is to first get a clear picture of your current financial situation. This means knowing how much you have in your bank accounts, retirement, debts owed, and your credit score. Once you gain awareness of your current financial position, identify what your financial goals are and make a plan to achieve them.
Want to contact Michel?
Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube: @michelvalbrun
Portia Wofford is a nurse, content strategist, healthcare writer, entrepreneur, and nano-influencer. Chosen as a brand ambassador or collaborative partner for various organizations, Wofford strives to empower nurses by offering nurses resources for development--while helping healthcare organizations and entrepreneurs create engaging content. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter for her latest.