Recently I penned a post about why nurses should join the gig economy. I don’t deny I’m high on gig work for one simple reason: I’m a gig worker, myself.
Specifically, I’m a freelance writer. And I love showing other nurses the possibilities of a writing career to:
Earn great money
Free up valuable time to spend with family
Use their nursing knowledge and skills to positively impact massive audiences of people
Fall in love with their career again
If you’ve ever wondered how you could earn a living (or make extra cash) as a writer, here are two possibilities that can be considered tailor-made for nurses.
1. Healthcare Content Marketing
This is the type of writing I do, and it’s an excellent choice for nurses to pursue. Content marketing writing might be aimed at patients (such as a health system newsletter for patients with diabetes) or at executives (such as a technology blog for CNOs). Nurses can excel at this type of writing because they bring to it an insider knowledge of healthcare that other writers just don’t have. Clients prize this added insight because it helps them achieve their business objectives: acquiring new patients, selling more products or expanding their influence in a community (among other things).
The umbrella term ‘healthcare content marketing’ covers many types of writing, including:
Ghostwritten blog posts for clinicians and thought leaders
Brand journalism (reporting on health for a healthcare company instead of a news organization)
Brochures and pamphlets
…and lots, lots more. Some of the clients you might serve as a freelance healthcare content marketing writer include:
Hospitals and health systems
Healthcare technology companies
Medical device manufacturers
Medical supply companies
Private medical practices
I’ve been involved in this industry for nearly 10 years, and I can tell you the demand for healthcare content writers continues to build, year after year. Yet the vast majority of healthcare writers aren’t nurses or clinicians of any kind. That means now is a great time to finally explore that idea you’ve had of becoming a writer – and making an excellent living at it!
2. Medical Communication
Do you geek out over reading research studies? Love digging into the MOA of drugs? Then you might love a career in medical communication.
Professional medical communicators work with research scientists, institutions, pharmaceutical manufacturers, the government and others to produce hard-core scientific assets like:
Manuscripts for publication in research journals
Policy and regulatory documents for institutions and the government
Continuing medical education modules
Marketing materials related to new drugs
…and, again, much more.
Nurses make excellent medical communicators because of their educational background in the biological sciences, among other attributes. This type of writing typically pays very well, due to the level of scientific expertise required for accuracy.
Can a Nurse Really Make Money at This?
Nurses pursue freelance writing for many reasons. For me, the main reason I became a writer was because I loved personally educating patients and felt frustrated that I could only work with maybe five or six people a day. Listening to me kvetch about this one evening after a shift, my late husband commented, “You know, with a single article on a website like WebMD you could reach literally a million people all at once.”
Lightbulb moment. And a career was born.
But, yes, as it turns out you can make excellent money as a writer. Personally, I routinely gross over six figures per year. It didn’t take me long to reach that level, either: five years. I had a previous background in freelancing, though, so I understood the ropes a bit better. That said, I’ve also mentored nurses who had zero background in freelancing and achieved six figures in less than two years.
So, yeah. You can make money at this.
What Kind of Investment is Required to Become a Freelance Nurse Writer?
Unlike other types of business opportunities, becoming a freelance writer requires zero investment. It’s a zero-risk endeavor, because you can work from home, on your own computer, on your own hours, in your spare time to develop a client base. Later, you can decide if you want to leave the bedside for good and make your living as a nurse writer. Many nurses prefer to freelance on the side instead of making their business a full-time job.
That’s the beauty of gig work like this: You can mold it to suit your own preferences and needs.
Where can I Learn More?
If you’re intrigued and want to find out more about freelance writing as a career, check out these resources:
American Medical Writers Association
Association of Health Care Journalists
American Society of Journalists & Authors
Content Marketing Institute
I’m happy to answer any questions, too!