Do you feel like you’ve seen more nurses with side hustles lately? Does it seem like more nurses are going per diem or getting additional education?
You aren’t imagining it. Between nurse burnout, the rising cost of living, and professional and personal growth concerns, nurses are getting creative to make ends meet and feel fulfilled in their careers.
This is why connectRN, a leading nurse staffing community that offers flexible shifts and resources to clinicians, partnered with The Nursing Beat to poll over 1,300 nurses. The sample population included certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, and registered nurses, and revealed today’s nurses are interested in pursuing non-traditional career paths in pursuit of professional satisfaction.
In other words, the new nurse isn't willing to settle. They understand the expertise they bring to healthcare as multi-faceted, talented and powerful nurses. They work hard and prioritize excelling in their career, but they don't sacrifice their mental health in the process.
Most importantly, the new nurse is not afraid to try new things.
What did over 1,300 nurses say?
Even though nursing burnout and changing attitudes among nurses are a concern, few academic studies cover these topics. connectRN’s poll provides key data on the elusive subject. The survey cements what many already suspected: Nurses are interested in departing from traditional nursing and traditional nursing schedules.
The survey breaks down into three main categories: perceptions of nursing side hustles, traditional hospital work, and work-life balance.
Nursing side hustles
Emma Geiser, BSN, RN, the founder of Nurse Fern, a remote nursing job board and resource hub, says the results of this study are disappointing but not surprising.
“Nurses should want to leave nursing for entrepreneurial ventures because that was their plan… not because they’ve been forced out.” While nurses shouldn’t need side gigs and additional per diem roles on top of full-time work to support themselves, she added, “Nurses are scrappy and innovative. If traditional employment doesn’t support our needs, we’ll figure it out ourselves.”
Side hustles aren’t only for additional revenue; they are also a rewarding personal outlet that’s often inaccessible within the traditional nursing model.
- Half of the nurses polled have side hustles outside of nursing.
- Over 25% of nurses with a side hustle plan to make it their full-time job. However, that proportion jumps to nearly 50% among those who have been a nurse for less than three years. Newer nurses may have a greater sense of career freedom that allows them to explore taking a less traditional path. Those that have been nurses for less than three years are more likely to want to pursue health coaching or aesthetics.
- The majority of nurses cite their reasoning for side hustles as a want or need for additional income.
Work-life balance and personal growth
Diana Page, ACNP-BC, a nurse mentor and founder of Self-Care Catalyst, says that nurses taking on non-traditional roles is not only about burnout prevention but also signifies growth in the healthcare community.
“When we enable nurses to balance their career growth, mental and physical health, and family life, we promote the retention of these invaluable professionals. As a nurse practitioner and nurse entrepreneur, I see how this approach is vital in building a sustainable healthcare system and revitalizing nursing culture for the better.”
- Between 60% to 70% of nurses feel that their job interferes with their ability to perform other responsibilities, with top concerns including health/fitness, household management, traveling, and relationships.
- 42% of nurses polled said they care for children without support.
- While 25% of nurses are pursuing additional educational opportunities, more than 50% are interested, but their current schedule makes it infeasible.
Supporting this generation of nurses
Nurses who value work-life balance, professional development and creativity will likely experience cognitive dissonance as they work in traditional nursing jobs.
To support today’s nurses, the nursing community and healthcare businesses can employ a few strategies:
- Provide nurses with growth opportunities. Many health organizations need more professional mobility for nurses and need to provide nurses with non-traditional supporting roles in healthcare settings.
- Allow nurses to have more autonomy. Creative scheduling and contract options would allow more nurses that want to spend time on other entrepreneurial pursuits to stay involved in their local hospital systems or healthcare community.
- Implement competitive pay and proper staffing. Nurses who feel compensated and supported in their work will feel that the 36 hours they put in a week for a full-time nursing role are worth their time and mental load.
- Openly celebrate nurse innovators and entrepreneurs. Nursing needs a culture that supports nurse influencers, side hustlers and inventors. Healthcare organizations can take advantage of the opportunity to utilize and collaborate with their nurse creatives.
As more nurse entrepreneurs focus on solving problems, providing resources and entertaining the nursing community, there will continue to be a need for more nurses willing to work with traditional nursing schedules and roles. connectRN is a leading staffing platform that gives nurses the autonomy they crave with flexible work schedules to support them in all their endeavors, without having to choose between nursing and other career and personal aspirations.
About the author
Payton Sy, BSN, RN, is a writer with years of clinical experience in the hospital, outpatient care, home health, primary care and insurance.
connectRN is the leading nurse community reimagining a healthcare system where nurses and healthcare partners thrive. Created to provide nurses with flexible work opportunities, and help eradicate the healthcare staffing crisis, connectRN is a trusted advocate and workforce ally for nurses and healthcare partners alike. For more information visit www.connectrn.com.