10 Ways to Make Extra Money as a Nurse Practitioner While Working Full-Time

Written By: Lauren Jacobson MS, RN, WHNP-BC

If you are a nurse practitioner (NP) looking to supplement your income, you are not alone. In today's world, even full-time NPs may need (or want) some extra income. Having worked additional jobs to be financially secure at various points in my life, I am well versed in the hustle. Through this, I have come up with 10 ways to make extra money as a nurse practitioner while working full-time. While the idea of working additional hours may seem daunting, I am here to show you simple and sure-fire ways to make extra money as a nurse practitioner while working full-time.

Why Should You Make Extra Money as a Nurse Practitioner While Working Full-Time?

1. Financial security:

Financial security is paramount and a seemingly universal human goal. Having access to an additional source of income is one of the main reasons why people choose to make extra money as a nurse practitioner while working full-time.

Although NPs are oftentimes paid very well, everyone has unexpected expenses or even monthly bills - like our hefty student loans, the car that will inevitably break down, or taking your dog who won’t stop eating socks to the vet so that they can remove them from her intestines (yes this happened more than once).

Working outside of your full-time job can be your safety blanket. We know expenses are high and inflation is climbing. When the unexpected happens, you don’t want to be stranded in limbo wondering what to do next. Having additional income can give you some security and/or simply give you the opportunity to take that crazy vacation you have been dreaming of.

2. Climbing the ladder:

Making extra money as an NP can also help advance your career. While staying at a single job will make you seem dependable and loyal, it can result in missed opportunities and sometimes you can get so comfortable that you lose sight of some of the ways you would like to grow. Working with separate companies and organizations allows you to experience different career paths, learn skills you otherwise wouldn't, and broaden your professional network.

If you are anything like me, you’ll be diversifying your career endlessly. A broad network will only help your career advancement. This can make you a more attractive candidate for promotions or new job opportunities down the line. Not only will your CV get a boost, but you will also have a network of other professionals out there to recommend you for a job or provide a solid reference when you apply to one.

Having extra income will also give you the freedom to pursue your passion projects. For example, if you want to open your own practice or start your own consulting firm (like I did), you will need seed money to get started. Working in addition to your full-time NP job will allow you to save for these endeavors, while still maintaining financial stability.

3. Chase those personal dreams:

Making extra money as a nurse practitioner while working full-time can help you achieve personal goals outside of work. Not everyone’s dream is their day-to-day job. Whether you're saving up for a down payment on a house, paying off debt, or funding a passion project, your side hustle can help you get there. It can provide additional income, get you relevant experience, grow your network, and help your time be more cost-efficient so that you can dedicate your free time to enjoying your life outside of work.

What are the Best Ways to Make Extra Money as a Nurse Practitioner While Working Full-Time?

Here we provide you with personally tested ways to earn money. I have almost always worked more than one job and a number of these are ways I have earned money myself. The following are the 10 best ways to make extra money as a nurse practitioner while working full-time.

WAY #1: Freelance writing

Hello! It’s me, your NP - Freelance writing friend. If you are looking for proof that this is a way to make extra money as a nurse practitioner while working full-time, look no further. With patients wanting more and more empowerment and knowledge of their own health, and the online climate being rife with misinformation, people like you are definitely needed to contribute to freelance writing about health topics- but you don’t have to limit yourself to healthcare.

I can promise you there are loads of freelance writing opportunities out there. The best thing about freelance writing is that while you may have deadlines, you often will work according to your own schedule. You also get to do it from the comfort of your own home.

Income can vary so make sure to do a little research on what your expertise is worth. Some places pay per word, while others pay per project or per hour. What works best for you may be personal and/or depend on your client. You also may want to get credit for your work. As you can see here, nursingprocess.org gives credit to their writers. This is not the case everywhere though.

To get started, you can reach out to healthcare publications or blogs that you're interested in writing for directly. You can also sign up for freelance writing platforms such as Upwork or Freelancer to find clients who are in need of healthcare content. I found nursingprocess.org on LinkedIn!

WAY #2: Consulting

Healthcare organizations know your worth as an NP, and so should you. “Consulting” can be a big, confusing, broad buzzword, but really it just means you work as an advisor. The type of advice and format in which you give it can vary but by offering your services as a consultant, you can help healthcare organizations improve operations and patient care. Consulting also tends to pay well.

One way to give this a try is to be bold and contact healthcare organizations directly. If you work for a big hospital network, see if they have part-time medical consulting positions available. You will often get preference and/or priority access to job postings if you are already a member of the organization.

You also don’t have to limit yourself to clinical care organizations. Many organizations and companies that are related to healthcare will want someone with a scientific background. You can also of course search online using platforms like Indeed or Reliefweb to find consulting positions. I have successfully used both of these sites to get consulting work.

As a consultant, you may be asked to provide advice on clinical practices, healthcare policy, patient care, compliance with regulations, equity issues, and you may have the opportunity to conduct research. It is also possible that you will deliver these recommendations on a project-to-project basis or be hired for a long-term but part-time position. Your advice may be in the form of reports, telephone conversations, or a combination of the two.

I have been a freelance consultant and a full-time consultant at various times in my life (both before and after becoming an NP). It has been a phenomenal way to work on exciting projects in themes such as maternal health, leadership in international health, sexual and gender-based violence, and in conducting qualitative research.

If you are anything like me, you will find immense value and excitement in the diversity of work that consulting can provide you.

WAY #3: Online tutoring

You have a wealth of knowledge that people who are learning will value. If you enjoy teaching and have a passion for nursing education, online tutoring can be a fun and valuable way to put some extra money in your pocket. You can offer your services to nursing students or those preparing for certification exams such as the NCLEX.

Marketing yourself is an important first step. The first way to do this is to decide on your rate and advertise your services on social media and with your network. You can even create a small website with Squarespace. This will make it easy for you to share your new side job online and with colleagues and friends.

You can also sign up for tutoring platforms such as TutorMe or Wyzant to connect with potential clients. Most importantly, don’t forget to reach out to your Alma Mater! I am sure that they would love to welcome a former student as a tutor. You can also advertise your skills to healthcare schools near where you live.

As an online tutor, you will have the flexibility of setting your own rates, hours, and working from home. What’s not to love?

WAY #4: Clinical trial participation

I get emails DAILY asking if I want to participate in clinical trials. I have never done it, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t do it. I have always simply found another side job before accepting to be a part of a clinical trial. Participating in clinical trials as a paid subject can be a unique way to make extra money as a nurse practitioner while working full-time.

The clinical research team will value your insight as a healthcare provider. You are also more likely to understand the science behind the trial and thus be less worried about the effects of participation.

You can search for clinical trials in your area that are in need of subjects. You can also sign up for clinical trial matching services such as ClinicalTrials.gov or ResearchMatch to find opportunities. As a paid subject, you may be asked to participate in drug trials or other clinical studies, and one can lead to the next!

WAY #5: Telemedicine

If you are an NP who has worked during or shortly after the COVID pandemic, odds are you have some familiarity with telemedicine. This flexible option is an efficient and fun way for NPs to earn some extra money from the comfort of their own home.

One of the benefits to this is that aside from learning a new online platform, you already have the skills necessary to do this, so training and onboarding will be minimal. This is a unique way to reach patients in remote areas who really need healthcare as well. Around the globe, telemedicine is on the forefront of increasing access to care.

I first became familiar with telemedicine during COVID. I worked in an outpatient OBGYN department and was the most junior provider in the clinic, so I was of course not going to be prioritized to stay in the office. I started taking patient calls at home and following up on diagnostic procedures, prescribing, and ordering tests long before we even had a video conferencing system in place.

I learned a lot about how to assess patients as thoroughly as possible when you can not see them and when to really prioritize a physical exam and a referral. My phone triage skills improved and so did my ability to educate patients on how to care for themselves at home. I like to think of this experience as being empowering for both me and my patients in an incredibly difficult and scary time.

Fast forward 3 years and I am working as a global health consultant abroad while earning extra money on the side providing telemedicine back in the US.

If you want to give telemedicine a shot, you can start by either searching for telemedicine companies and seeing if they need NPs, or you can sign up with telemedicine platforms such as Teladoc or Amwell to connect with patients.

WAY #6: Medical coding and billing

I have been using Upwork for freelancing positions for over five years. Of course, one of the keywords I always search for is “medical.” This almost always leads to medical coding or billing freelancer positions that have been advertised.

Medical coding and billing are the process of translating healthcare procedures and diagnoses into codes that can be submitted to insurance companies for payment. If you are an NP, you can’t tell me that you don’t already know something about coding and billing. So, congratulations! This makes the transition a bit easier for you.

Some positions may require you to complete a medical coding and billing certification program. Don’t let this deter you though, this is not a full degree. Often, they are online programs and only a couple of months long. After doing this you can advertise your services to the healthcare institution where you work and search for opportunities online.

WAY #7: Grant writing

Grant writing is the process of applying for funding from government agencies, foundations, and other organizations to support healthcare programs and initiatives. Have you ever done this before? When I was in NP school and when I was working as an NP, I had a vague idea of what this was but really had no clue how to do it.

If you have not done this before, like me, you may need a little extra guidance. Fortunately, there are loads of websites that can provide you with some training in this area. Whether it’s a short stand-alone online course or a single course that can be a part of an advanced degree like Public Health, having some professional guidance can help you get started. You can also search for grant writing opportunities on job boards such as Indeed or LinkedIn or on freelance websites like UpWork.

Having grant writing skills under your belt will benefit you down the road if you decide to start your own business and need some funding or if you decide to go get a Ph.D. So, this is not just a skill that you only use to earn some side money.

WAY #8: Creating your own courses

You don’t have to be a professor to showcase your skills and help educate people. Creating your own courses online can be a creative outlet that helps you earn some money on the side. Do you look back on your learning experience and wish that certain topics had been conveyed in a different way? Do you feel like key points in your education were missed? Well now is your chance to pave the way for other learners.

By creating your own courses, you can educate healthcare professionals as well as patients who are keen to learn more about their health. There is a wealth of misinformation about health out there. By making evidence-based courses, you can help fight this.

Udemy or Teachable are two examples of platforms where you can create and sell your courses. You can then advertise them on your social media, to friends and family, colleagues, patients, and universities. Once the courses are recorded, this is a stellar means to earn some passive income.

Making extra money as a nurse practitioner while working full-time should also be fun! What better way to expand your skills and creative side than designing your own courses in areas that interest you or that you have identified a knowledge gap in among patients and/or providers.

WAY #9: Home healthcare

More and more, particularly with the advent of telehealth, patients are wanting their healthcare to stay close to home. While telehealth can do a lot of things, sometimes patients really do need to have someone see them face to face.

As a nurse practitioner, you are a skilled and autonomous healthcare professional. You know how to meet your patients where they are (both physically and emotionally). By providing home healthcare, you can help patients stay healthy and/or manage their health issues all from the comfort of their own homes. This can also reduce hospital readmissions which saves both patients and the healthcare system money.

To start providing home healthcare I would recommend contacting staffing agencies or specifically home healthcare agencies. If you are practicing independently, you can also advertise your services yourself online.

WAY #10: Medical product sales

So maybe this isn’t your first option, but it is certainly an option. I say this because if you are anything like me, having medical sales representatives waltz into your clinic every month trying to sell you things wasn’t the highlight of your NP career. However, it may be right for you! There’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to side hustles.

Medical product sales involve selling medical products such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, or diagnostic tools to healthcare organizations or individual healthcare providers. It’s the US…there is of course a market for this. You can use your expertise and credibility as an NP to speak to the products you are selling and answer any questions potential clients may have. As an NP you are also likely to quickly build a trusting relationship with other healthcare professionals that you sell products to.

Think about the biggest pharmaceutical companies and medical product companies you can think of off the top of your head. Now go to their websites, look for medical sales job openings and/or message their HR team on LinkedIn introducing yourself. This is a great way to get your foot in the door.

You can also go rogue and start your own medical product sales business. Just please, please, PLEASE, make sure it is evidence-based and not a hoax.

My Final Thoughts

You could not have come to a better person for information on how to make extra money as a nurse practitioner while working full-time. I am the poster child for combining a bunch of random health-related jobs to make extra money while working full-time.

From taking on extra clinical shifts and teaching, to freelance writing (as evidenced by what you are currently reading) and starting my own global health business, I have dabbled in most of it. It has not only been to make more money though. I have also wanted to branch out for increased career opportunities as well. The variety keeps me excited, and I truly believe it is a main component of why I still love clinical work too.

As NPs, we can explore many different avenues to supplement income. Here we presented you with 10 ways to make extra money as a nurse practitioner while working full-time.

It is important to note that each of these options requires additional effort and time, so it is crucial to weigh the pros and cons before committing to any of them. However, with careful planning and dedication, you can find the perfect side hustle that not only brings in extra income but also enriches your professional experience.

Don’t be afraid to test the waters if you have the flexibility to do so. The great thing about a “side hustle” is that it’s on the SIDE.

Lauren Jacobson MS, RN, WHNP-BC
Lauren Jacobson is a registered nurse and women’s health nurse practitioner who is passionate about global health and gender-based violence prevention. She is Editor and an Advisory Board Member for the Global Nursing Caucus and volunteers with Physicians for Human Rights as a medical evaluator for asylum seekers.