When I served as a perioperative nurse, I loved educating patients about how to care for themselves or their loved ones. It felt great to answer their questions with confidence, knowing I was making a real impact on their quality of life.
At the same time, I felt frustrated I could help so few people in a given shift. Best case scenario? I might be privileged to work with 20 patients and their families. I wanted to use my nurse knowledge to help millions of patients, not dozens.
Then I decided to combine my nursing knowledge with my writing ability to become a freelance nurse-writer. In leaving the bedside, I made the best decision of my career. My health articles for outlets like PBS and WebMD have been read by thousands of people.
Freelance writing makes a great second career for nurses. Here’s why:
Work from home. All you need to start a career as a freelance nurse writer is a home office with a computer.
Make serious money. I can honestly tell you I make more money each year as a writer than I ever did as a nurse.
No back strain. Unless your office chair isn’t adjusted right.
Supreme schedule flexibility. No more call. No holidays. No weekends. Heck, you can work part-time hours and earn a full-time salary.
Help thousands—if not millions—of people. Nothing satisfies me more than receiving an email from someone who read one of my articles and found it useful.
Of course, writing requires some actual skill. You have to be able to compose a sentence with correct grammar. And freelance writing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. You can make good money, but as with any career, you have to hone your craft.
Becoming a Nurse Writer
You don’t need any special certifications to become a nurse-writer. If you need to brush up on your grammar, you can get help from many trustworthy websites that offer free training in basic writing skills. I suggest checking out Poynter.org and Purdue University’s OWL Lab at https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/.
While there is no organization specifically for nurse-writers, many associations exist for freelance writers in general. One to check out is the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) at http://www.healthjournalism.org.
Many healthcare companies need professionals like nurses to write patient education materials, website copy, hospital newsletters and other interesting collaterals. In fact, the demand for healthcare writers exceeds supply. There has never been a better time to become a nurse-writer.
Best of all, you can touch the lives of thousands of patients and families coping with chronic conditions like diabetes or acute situations like heart attack. If you find joy in sharing your nursing knowledge with patients, you will love freelance writing.
Have you ever considered a second career as a nurse-writer? What do you find appealing about it?