One solution to this could be to start working as a freelance nurse.
Whether it’s a way to break into the healthcare industry or a change of pace after years of full-time wok at a hospital or clinic, freelancing might be just the ticket for you.
Here are some of the plusses and minuses to a few aspects of freelance nursing:
Independent Contracting: Pros
An independent contractor, formerly known as a private duty nurse, can diagnose and treat a patient in the client’s home and is paid directly by the patient or a representative of the patient.
Nursing care must follow the nurse practice act of whichever state you’re working in, just like that provided by a staff nurse. (In some states, physician collaboration or supervision is required.)
The advantage here of being in business for yourself is that you set your own hours, charge a rate slightly above the amount a staff nurse would make, and your earnings are only limited by the number of hours you work in a day.
Independent Contracting: Cons
The services of an independent contractor nurse are not covered by most health insurance carriers, and if you work for a staffing agency, the IRS considers you an employee, not an independent contractor, which could make you responsible for possible back taxes and penalties.
- Difference between contract and per-diem nursing
- Is independent nursing going away?
- Outlook for independent nurses this year
Per-diem nurses literally work day-to-day, filling-in for shortages and easing work demands on a temporary basis.
They can work at a single facility in a specific department, at a number of different hospitals, or be employed by a staffing agency that sends them to wherever a need exists.
The upside of per-diem nursing includes an extremely flexible schedule – per-diem nurses choose their own hours, working as much or as little as they want.
The pay is another plus, as a per-diem job usually has a higher hourly wage than a staff position.
And if you want to check out a variety of facilities before (or while) applying for permanent work, per-diem nursing is the way to go.
The downside is poor job security.
With no guaranteed minimum hours, you can be working full-time one week and only put in a few shifts the next.
This can contribute to serious fluctuations in income.
Additionally, per-diem nurses are usually not entitled to insurance, benefits, or paid time-off (including sick leave, educational leave, or leaves of absence.)
Travel Nursing: Pros
For adventurous types who crave a change of scenery, travel nurses choose where they want to work throughout the U.S., with a guaranteed contract for a 13-week assignment in your area of specialty at a single facility.
Travel expenses, a completion bonus, and housing are generally paid, although some agencies provide a housing stipend if you decide to secure your own place to stay.
Health insurance, 401Ks, liability and workers’ compensation are also regular perks, along with a high wage, and – of-course – travelling the country.
Travel Nursing: Cons
Travel nursing can be tough if you have to be far away from family for months at a time.
You’ll be expected to jump right in with minimal orientation in a new environment where hospital policies differ from what you know, and there’s not much time for co-worker bonding.
There’s also little flexibility to a travel nurse’s schedule, which means you’ll likely work a lot of holidays and weekends.
- A great travel nursing newsletter
- Is travel nursing for you?
- Salaries for travel nurses
- Travel nursing “toolbox”
Any types of freelance nursing we forgot? Have a story of how a freelance nursing gig worked out for you? Have your say in the Comments section below.