It’s no secret that nurses tend to be well paid, but we all could use some extra money. Especially nurses who have a small flock to attend to. One of the most beautiful things about nursing is how versatile and valuable your skillset is. This gives you plenty of opportunities to earn some side or full-time income. You also have a good foundation from which you can springboard to more lucrative positions. Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to make more money as a nurse.
Ask for a Raise
The simplest way to get more money as a nurse is to get a raise. If you feel like you’re underpaid, nothing is stopping you from going to management and asking for one. You have to go about it the right way, however.
The process of getting a raise should start way before you actually ask. You first have to work on your brand as a nurse and have something to bring to the table.
Experience will be the most important part, but there are things that you can do to increase your value. Increasing your availability is one of them. Look at how your salary stacks up against your peers and assess if you’re getting paid fairly. This is the kind of information that will make the negotiation process easier and ensure that your demands are realistic.
Get Better Credentials
Another way to increase your income in the nursing industry is to up your credentials. This is something most nurses know already. The only part they don’t have down yet is how they’re going to execute.
The first thing you have to do is look at where you are now and where you want to go. If you’re an RN, there are many options open to you. You can get a bachelor’s in a specialization of your choice, for instance, or go for a bridge program that could allow you to get something like a master’s much faster.
If you already have a master’s, you have the option of going for a DNP or a PhD. But, before you take that route, you have to know that both are not the same, and one might be better suited for you depending on what you want to do with your career.
Simply put, a PhD is more about research and a DNP is about work on the ground. A DNP is better for nurses who still want to be directly involved with patient care. A PhD is better for those who’d like to work in a lab or academia. So, look into the DNP vs PhD in detail so you can get an idea of which one would be the best for you.
Either way, know that you can get your classes online if you wish. This is usually the most accessible way for working nurses to get their advanced degree and is perfect if you already have a foundation. Bridge programs like the ones we mentioned earlier are also much more common online and online programs as a whole usually allow you to finish your studies much faster, so you should definitely give them a look.
If you feel like you have the energy for it, you can also take on some more work. There are strong chances that there are plenty of opportunities of doing overtime where you are. If you haven’t been approached yet, go see your manager and ask if there’s overtime available. Some will have a list of people to call if they ever need to plug holes, so volunteer to be on it if they have one.
You can pick up extra shifts or pick up longer shifts if you want to. Some may see little difference between working 8 and 12 hours, so instead of working extra days, you could go for this option. This could be better for you if you have a family to attend to or don’t want to work weekends. Some employers will even offer extra cash on top of your hourly pay just to encourage nurses to work overtime, so check if they have this kind of program where you are working.
Start a Side Hustle
There are many side hustles that you can try if you’re a nurse. These can be loosely or directly related to nursing. You could also offer a service to other nurses and start with the ones you’re working with.
One thing you could do, for instance, is buying scrubs wholesale and sell them back to members of the staff. If you manage to find great-looking high-quality scrubs for a good price, you should have no trouble finding some clients. You could even go a step further and start a small website or sell your items in places like the Facebook Marketplace.
You also have nurses who will offer personal grooming services. Or you could get a side job as a pharmaceutical rep. Reps can make a lot of money and can work as much or as little as they want. That could be a great way to monetize your advanced knowledge of medical treatments, so consider the option.
Another thing that you could do is start an online business of some sort. One of the easiest ones to start would be a blog. You could have a blog chronicling your life as a nurse. This usually works best if you’re in a little-known specialization, or if you have a unique perspective. Maybe you have an unusual job or are part of a group that is underrepresented in nursing. This could allow you to find a niche and start building an audience.
Make Better Purchasing Decisions
No matter how good you are with money, all of us overspend in at least one area in our lives. You may be eating out more often than you should, or maybe you have issues drafting or sticking to a budget. The first thing is keeping tabs on your spending and see where you could save.
If you’re buying food at the cafeteria or a small takeout place close to where you work, switch to bringing lunch. You shouldn’t be spending a dime on fancy coffee either. If your place offers free coffee, take advantage of that.
Buy everything in bulk and don’t be afraid to buy things second-hand. Many things can be bought used such as toys, jewelry, musical instruments, or fitness equipment, and you’ll hardly see the difference. Forget buying a car new either. Try to go for a vehicle that is at least two to three years old. This way, you’ll have avoided a lot of depreciation and get the chance to drive a vehicle under warranty that is likely to retain a lot of value until you decide to sell it.
Another thing we would suggest is that you take advantage of all the special discounts offered to nurses. Some companies will make their discounts public, but you can also get discounts if you join certain nursing organizations.
Brands like Asics, Adidas, and Clark’s all offer exclusive discounts for medical personnel and first responders, and these aren’t small either. Asics, for example, offers a 40% discount on all full-priced merchandise while Adidas offers a 30% discount. This could add up to huge savings when it’s time to buy clothes for the whole family.
Another thing you could consider is moving. You might think that you’re getting a good deal where you are, but you could become instantly richer by moving to a state with a lower cost of living. You can’t just look at how much you’re getting paid. Nurses in California might be some of the best paid in the country, but they also happen to live in the state with the third-highest cost of living.
So, when you look at the states that pay nurses the best, make sure that it’s adjusted to the cost of living. We would also suggest that you look at the states where nurses are the happiest since high salaries can hide tough working conditions and understaffing issues.
Work as a Travel Nurse
Travel nursing is a great way to earn extra cash if you don’t mind moving around and working in unfamiliar environments. The variety and ability to move is what attracts many nurses to travel nursing, but money is by far the top reason.
Facilities around the country are dealing with staffing shortages and are ready to pay big bucks to fix them. Travel nurses play an important role and are well compensated for their services. Not only will you get paid better, but you might have many of your living expenses covered too. Not to mention that you’ll get some valuable experience that you can parlay into greater pay and better positions later.
As you can see, there are tons of ways that you can make additional income as a nurse. It’s all a matter of going out there, trying different things, and not being afraid of doing the work.