Providers increasingly are leveraging their medical expertise to take on "side gigs," or paid work outside of their full time job, that in some cases allow them to earn more money with more flexibility than their jobs in traditional care delivery settings, Anne Kadet reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Health care workers are picking up side hustles
As a full-time job, Melissa Fraher, 29, works as a pediatric nurse practitioner at a private clinic in Connecticut, but on some days, Fraher spends her afternoons performing ear piercings at clients' homes in Manhattan.
Fraher is one of many nurses who signed on with Rowan, a startup that sends nurses around Manhattan to pierce earlobes for children, teen, and adult clients.
According to Kadet, the nurses can earn about $85 per visit, and Fraher said she enjoys the flexibility of the job. "You can work as little or as much as you want to," she said.
Fraher's side hustle is part of a growing trend across the country in which health care companies hire health care workers as independent contractors to assist with care delivery part time.
For example, I.V. Doc hires nurses as independent contractors to administer I.V. drips to patients in their homes or doctors' offices. Another company, called Swift Shift, connects nurses to part-time home-care opportunities.
Then there's ParaDocs Worldwide, which sends emergency personnel to monitor events, such as music festivals. According to Alex Pollak, CEO of ParaDocs, a large summer festival might have 200 medical personnel treating more than 700 patients daily in a temporary ED. Health care workers get paid industry averages for the gig, with EMTs receiving about $17 per hour and doctors making more than $200 per hour.
According to Pollak, part of the draw for staff is the ability to attend the events. Pollack noted a doctor recently filled a slot as an EMT for the chance to go to an event featuring Jimmy Kimmel.
Bryan Llorente, an EMT who works with the company, said, "The pay is OK, but what makes it great is enjoying the events."
Health workers turn to virtual gigs to make money—in their own time
Other appealing side gigs for providers are startups that offer virtual care. While some virtual companies have struggled to deliver health care through independent contractors, citing regulatory issues, the field continues to grow with the help of investors.
The mental health app Talkspace, for instance, contracts with thousands of licensed therapists who provide video and text-based therapy. Paloma Health, which provides care virtually, connects thyroid doctors with hypothyroid patients. Patients are charged $99 for at-home testing kits and another $99 for video consultations.
Syed Mohammed, founder and CEO of Enable My Child, which provides video-based speech, occupational and mental therapy to children, noted the pay isn't particularly high but that therapists enjoy the flexibility of staying home and conducting a session on their time, outside of conventional business hours.
As Fraher noted when describing her part-time ear piercing work, "You don't find that opportunity that often" (Kadet, Wall Street Journal, 1/21).