Nurses Choose Side Hustles for Extra Income

According to a recent survey of 1,300 nursing professionals, half of those surveyed have a second job or “side hustle” to generate extra income. About 26% of those respondents plan to take that side hustle full-time at some point. 

The survey also reported at least 60% of full-time nurses feel their job interferes with their personal lives, increasing the chances of burnout. 

Per Diem and Side Hustles 

Working extra shifts on a per diem, PRN, or “as assigned” basis in a hospital, is a common way nurses make more money. According to the survey conducted by connectRN, a nursing staffing website, and The Nursing Beat, PRN nursing has become more popular due to nursing burnout. With fewer nurses working, hospitals are willing to hire on a per diem basis to keep their nursing coverage up to standard. 

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Patient Safety Network says mistakes in nursing care are more common when nurses are overworked and fatigued. Having per diem nurses on call helps alleviate this risk since they aren’t working as many long shifts.

Norwich University reports PRN nursing is also growing because more nurses are retiring, and an older U.S. population needs more healthcare services. Another advantage is per diem nurses can work at other hospitals besides their full-time facility. 

If their “home” hospital doesn’t offer per diem work, another facility nearby might need someone. The pay rate is usually higher because of the last-minute nature of the job, and a PRN nurse can also pick and choose the schedule that suits them that day. 

The downside is that per diem work isn’t guaranteed, so the income may be spotty. Plus, most hospitals don’t offer benefits to their temporary staff. For a nurse who has a full-time job at another facility, this may not be a problem thanks to benefits from their home hospital. However, not paying benefits makes per diem work attractive to many facilities. 

Some nurses with certification as Emergency Medical Technicians may also pick up a shift with an ambulance company. 

Nurses with obstetric certification and experience might consider some work as lactation consultants. While it may require extra training, nurses who enjoy working with moms and babies may find this is an ideal lower-stress side hustle. It can be done in healthcare facilities, doctors’ clinics, or in patients’ homes, with the nurse attached to a hospital or doctor’s office. 

One upside of the COVID-19 pandemic is the increase in remote and work-from-home opportunities, including for those in the medical profession. A nurse needing a side hustle may consider being a telehealth nurse. This isn’t as stressful as being in a healthcare facility or covering an EMT shift, but it does offer the same flexibility as per diem work.

Nurses who don’t want to deal with people in their side hustles may wish to take a medical transcription course. This position is frequently a work-from-home job and can be done whenever the nurse finds it convenient.

Side hustles can include the jobs done mostly by women in the past. These may include selling kitchen gadgets and cosmetics. In recent years, people have sold scented candles, nail wraps, or home-crafted items. Delivering restaurant food or groceries, tutoring, and blogging are also popular for nurses needing extra income

There are suggestions on numerous websites for ways nurses can earn extra money using their particular skill sets. 

A Profession in Crisis

An April 2023 survey analysis by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) reports nearly 100,000 nurses left the profession during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even more alarming, as many as 800,000 nurses may leave the field by 2027. 

NCSBN found 41% of the RNs who dropped out of the profession had been working for less than 10 years. Another 15% said they plan to leave in the next five years. Almost 45% of RNs with more than 10 years in the profession plan to leave in the next five years.

Maryann Alexander, chief officer of nursing regulation at NCSBN, says, “The data is clear: the future of nursing and of the U.S. healthcare ecosystem is at an urgent crossroads.”

The American Nursing Association (ANA) agrees. According to its website, nurses leave the profession due to burnout, fatigue, lack of experienced leadership, workplace bullying, and high patient-to-nurse ratios. 

The ANA further cites several benefits of adequate staffing levels: reduced mortality rates, shorter patient stays, and a reduction in the number of preventable events, such as falls and infections.

The organization recommends nurses get as much education and training as they can and be allowed to practice to the fullest extent of their education. This will help reduce staffing overloads in hospitals, since nurses will be able to do more as their training permits.

Gayle Morris of Nurse Journal urges nurses to advocate for themselves and their profession and recommends healthcare facilities offer emotional wellness and mental healthcare to their nurses to help combat burnout. She also recommends working towards a nationally mandated patient-to-nurse ratio. 

Heather Sweeney, a nursing staffing recruiter, told Morris, “[RNs] should be paid appropriately for the invaluable work they are doing and more importantly, willing to do for humankind.” 

Keeping The Team Together

According to connectRN, with nurses seeking a better work-life balance and insisting on better pay and benefits, healthcare administrators can work to improve workplace conditions and attitudes, including offering better compensation, or they can continue to lose staff.

About 50% of nurses in the field are working a side hustle. If they’re burned out with nursing and decide to pursue that hustle full-time, healthcare facilities will continue to see their nurses leave.

This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.