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50% of nurses have a side job — and many want to make it their full-time gig


According to a new survey from connectRN, around half of U.S. nurses have an additional job outside of nursing to earn extra income, and, of these nurses, over 25% say they plan to leave nursing to focus on their side job full-time. 

Survey details and key findings

In the survey, connectRN polled over 1,300 U.S. nurses. Among the respondents, 39% were certified nursing assistants, 27% were licensed practical nurses, and over a third were RNs.

According to the survey, almost 90% said these top five factors were extremely important to them:

  • Maintaining their mental health
  • Being present for their friends and family
  • Maintaining a work-life balance
  • Maintaining their physical health
  • Excelling at work

However, 60% of nurses said parts of their lives were negatively impacted by their nursing work. Over 40% of nurses said their work interfered with their household management, health and fitness goals, relationships with their loved ones, and their desire to travel. In addition, 51% of nurses want to continue their education but are unable to because of their work schedules.

"I sacrifice so much now, but it's not because I love to go to work. Instead, I have to sacrifice time in order to keep my head above water," said one of the survey's respondents. "I have to sacrifice my own personal needs to achieve goals so I'm not in my 50's trying to reinvent myself because I can't retire."

According to the survey, 50% of nurse respondents currently have a side hustle outside of nursing to earn additional income, and 80% of these nurses want to start their own business. Although some nurses are working additional jobs because of a need for extra money or because they are pursuing a passion, 20% said that nursing alone is too stressful for them.

"I want to be able to save money, not just for a rainy day," one of the respondents said. "I want to be secure and comfortable knowing I have multiple backup plans."

Among nurses who are working side jobs, 26% said they plan to transition away from nursing and make their side jobs their full-time careers. Among new nurses who had been in the profession less than three years, this figure was even higher, reaching 50%.

Commentary

According to connectRN, per diem nursing has grown increasingly popular as more nurses feel burnt out and seek more flexible work options.

"Today's nurse - the 'new nurse' - has a multi-dimensional life and is entrepreneurial," said Ted Jeanloz, CEO of connectRN. "A side hustle allows them to explore interests outside of nursing and to take care of themselves and their families."

"For the 'new nurse' side hustles provide financial support and the space to pursue the interests and relationships that contribute to their well being," Jeanloz added. "Side hustles allow nurses to thrive and keep them in the profession."

However, Tamara AL-Yassin, a former bedside nurse and CEO of The Nursing Beat, said that "the amount of new nurses who surveyed that they plan to leave permanently for their side hustle is alarming."

"There is an enormous amount of work to be done in order to better support our young nurses who are a different generation, requiring different standards," AL-Yassin said. "If we don't begin to listen and solve archaic institutional employment requirements, we will ultimately [lose] our nursing workforce." (Carbajal, Becker's Clinical Leadership & Infection Control, 8/4; connectRN, PR Newswire, 8/4)


Cheat sheet: The characteristics of a flexible nursing workforce

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