Day in the Life of a Freelance Nurse Writer

I enjoyed clinical nursing. I truly did. What finally drove me away was the noise. Go ahead and laugh. Nurses Entrepreneurs Article

In the PACU, my day started early with a 7:00am report time. By the time my shift ended at 7:00pm, I'd spent most of the day clamoring to be heard above the high ambient noise levels of the cavernous unit. Air exchangers, telemetry units, 50 or 60 people talking all at once -- the sheer cacophony became too much for me to take. My ears would ring for hours after going home. I'd wake up hoorifice the next morning from literally shouting discharge instructions at my patients the previous day. And then I'd go right back and do it all over again the next day.

Contrast that scenario with my life now, as a freelance writer.

I wake up around 7:30am and often drink my first cup of coffee on the patio, where I can enjoy the scenery of my backyard. I'm an avid birdwatcher, so it always brings me joy to start my day by sighting a crimson cardinal on the fence or watching the neighborhood hawk wheel through the sky.

After my first coffee, I amble upstairs to my home office to check email and browse a handful of sites. Then I get to work on my assignments for the day. On any given day, I might be crafting a short informational article on a specific disease or I may be writing newsletter copy for family caregivers. My work always offers variety.

I break for a leisurely lunch with my elderly mother (who lives with me), and then I head back to my office and turn my attention to the "me" work. That's stuff I do to feed my creative soul -- things like writing this blog post or outlining my book.

By mid-afternoon, my brain's tired so I head to the gym for an hour of cardio and weights. One of the great things about freelancing is the ability to set and control (to a degree!) my own schedule. I admire nurses who manage to squeeze in a workout on their hectic work days. I sure never could do that! But as a freelance writer I now work out at least three days a week, and often five.

After the gym, I head home and take a nap. Don't tell anyone! I find a 30-minute recharge after my post-workout shower gives me extra energy into the early evening, which is a work period for me.

Dinnertime comes, I cook for Mom and my husband, and then I head back to my office for a couple more hours. Evening isn't a particularly creative time for me, so I usually devote those hours to administrative tasks -- making sure my self-employment taxes are filed, cleaning up my contact list, tinkering with my business plan.

Finally, I retire to the TV room and snuggle with my hubs on the sofa. We love watching home improvement shows, so that's frequently on the menu. When I worked as a nurse, I generally returned home after a shift and collapsed into bed. I didn't even have enough energy to watch TV!

My life is so serene now, compared to the days I worked in the noise and chaos of PACU. Other perks of freelancing? I never get vomited on, and no one ever codes in my office. LOL

Yet I'm still helping patients. Just the other day, a man took the time to find my email address and write me a nice note: "Thank you for your easy-to-understand explanation of insulin pens on XX website! I spent 40 minutes searching for an answer to my question, and yours was the only one that made sense. I really appreciate it!" THAT makes my day.

Yes, I loved clinical nursing. But I've never regretted leaving the bedside for the desk. It's great to continue helping people from the comfort of my (quiet) office!

Specializes in Freelance Writer, 'the nurse who knows content'.

Hi singsandi!

Starting a blog is super simple. I recommend WordPress. It's really simple to set up and use. You can start a blog at or use the WordPress content management system on your own website.

Blogging offers a great way to showcase your writing talents for editors and prospective clients. It's hard to make money directly from a blog, though some people certainly do that.

Do you have an idea of what topic you'd like to blog about?


Specializes in Nutritional Therapy, Functional Health.

Great article, Beth! And congrats on pursuing your passion. How much in demand are your services? Not to be too nosy, but is this a viable source of income for someone that is the sole bread-winner?

Specializes in Freelance Writer, 'the nurse who knows content'.

Hi, Paleo!

Thanks for the kind words. You're not being nosy at all. You ask a very good, important question.

The answer is: freelance writing is totally viable as a full-time career. One of my very good nurse-writer friends is a single mother and supports herself and her kids with her writing. I know many, many other non-nurses who make way more money as writers than any of us make as nurses.

I always hasten to add writing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. The good thing is it's a career you can start in your spare time and then gradually replace your nursing income with writing income. That's what I did, and it's the method I recommend.

I also should add when I talk about 'freelance writing,' I'm talking about marketing writing and journalism. I don't think fiction, essay, memoir or other types of creative writing can form the basis of a sustainable career.

I hope the questions keep coming! I'm very passionate about helping nurses become writers.


Specializes in Mental Health.

Thanks for the reply, Beth! I'll check it out.

Specializes in Nutritional Therapy, Functional Health.

Hi Beth- Any tips on how to set rates for services? Do you calculate an hourly rate and then estimate the time you will spend on a project? Also, do you find that sites such as Elance undermine the value of what you can offer as a nurse writer?

Specializes in Pediatrics, developmental disabilities.

Hi Elizabeth,

Great article.

Gotta love a great nap!

Specializes in Communication, Medical Improv.

Great to read your post and very validating. I totally get the "Noise" factor realized later in life that as an introvert, that all the noise and interruptions were taking a toll on me, but didn't seem to bother my colleagues or at least some of them as much. When I'm writing, especially something of some depth, I sometimes find my left hand reaching up into the air as if I'm trying to prevent an interruption! :)

Specializes in Psychiatric Nursing.

Hi Beth. This is very informative for me. I have a Masters in Psychiatric Nursing, am working on a memoir and have taken many writing classes. I would like regular writing work in between my locum tenens jobs. I do well with assignments- for example 1000 words on xyz. Have never been paid for writing though I work hard at being clear and descriptive when I have jobs where I dictate. Any thoughts of how I can reach out for regular writing gigs. Thank you

Hi psychcns what writing classes helped you improve on writing?

Specializes in Ambulatory Care, Rheumatology.
Psychcns My unasked for two cents. Tell me about where you have submitted letters of inquiry for paid jobs?

Very interesting article. It has given me a new idea to pursue.

Specializes in Psychiatric Nursing.

@ eat-pray - love. : i took several writing classes at Gotham writing workshop in New York. Some were in person and some were on-line. All excellent

@social media coach BSN -have not submitted at all for paid jobs. I wrote an article a few years ago for a travel nurse magazine and I do have a blog but I rarely update any more. I think my next step is to have a few pieces and start submitting. I need some direction on this. I am not sure exactly what to do.