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Side Gigs for Nurses

Side Gigs for Nurses

Did you get a little too excited for summer this year? After being cooped up and alone for most of last year, it’s easy to see why America spent a little more than usual this summer season. In fact, 2021 hit records for being some of the most Americans spent since 2010, with an average of about 2,000 dollars on travel and summer fun.  

Honestly, we don’t blame you, but it’s time to take a hard look at that bank account and think about how you can get on track. If you aren’t ready to reign it in, here are some steps you can take to keep it coming!

Of course, one of the easiest things you can do as a nurse… is well…. nursing! If you want to start small, consider picking up a few extra shifts. It might be nice for your manager to not have to beg. If you are in overtime, this money racks up fast, but be warned, that time and a half may bump you into a higher tax rate.  

Let’s review because it’s complicated.  If you usually make 30 dollars an hour and work 40 hours, you end up with 1200 dollars pre-taxed. That likely puts you in the 22% tax bracket (you can find a handy calculator for that here). Now, if you keep adding to that number, the extra money may put you in a higher earning bracket, meaning you will get taxed at a higher rate. Fun fact, only the amount of money you make into the next tax bracket is taxed at that rate; everything else will still be at the standard 22% where you started. 

So more is good, but a lot more means your estimated taxes will be higher. This feels like you are getting robbed but remember- the goal of your paycheck taxes is to equal the amount you would owe at the end of the year. More money made= more money in taxes. By estimating higher during the week instead of at the end of the year, you are less likely to owe Uncle Sam money, even if it does take a chuck out of your fun-money overtime pay.

So what if you are burned out on nursing?

Well… all nursing or just your usual nursing? Maybe try something on the other end of the spectrum for a while. You could try a different floor in your hospital or try something radical like working for a school part-time, a nursing home, or even a pharmaceutical company. Shoot, you can make between 30-70 dollars an hour to administer vaccines for any number of health departments or pharmacies.

Do you like to teach? Nursing schools are often looking for well-qualified nurses who don’t mind running a clinical once a week. This is usually pretty lucrative, but you have to be willing to spend time with brand new nurses. Are you a supportive teacher? If so, maybe pick up a clinical class and help out the newest generation of nurses while padding your pocketbook.

What else are you good at?

If you just can’t stomach the thought of more nursing, consider some other options. Your friendly neighborhood bar may need a server if you don’t mind long hours on your feet. What about food, grocery, or people delivery services? Just about every industry is hurting right now, so picking up a little extra is easy to do. Is now the time to get that Target discount? 

Remember though, the less “skilled” the work, the longer you will have to work to make the same pay, which is why nursing side jobs are usually where it’s at. 

There is nothing wrong with moonlighting as a shelf stocker, bartender, or pet sitter as long as you enjoy what you do. If it’s torture, it’s time to find a different plan or stick to picking up a few extra hours at your real job. We shouldn’t have to remind you that working somewhere you like to spend (*ahem* or drink) isn’t a wise choice. You may find yourself deeper in the hole.

We promise the vacation you took this year was worth it. Just remember to bank a little of that extra cash for next year!

Amanda Ernst, DNP, RN, CEN

Amanda Ernst, DNP, RN, CEN


Amanda is an ER nurse with 10 years of healthcare experience. She currently works as a nurse educator and as an adjunct professor for several schools. She also works as a freelance healthcare writer in her spare time. Amanda thinks the greatest thing about nursing is the endless possibilities and opportunities to learn. What have you learned today?


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