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Can you Stay at the Bedside and Write?

Nurses seem to have this all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to success. You aren’t a real nurse unless you’re working at a hospital. You have to start on a med-surg floor and work in acute care. And you aren’t a successful writer unless you’ve left the bedside.

I’m here to tell you: none of that matters! Nursing isn’t a competition. It’s a job. We don’t see this type of mindset in other professions, like engineering or waitressing. So why do we see it in nursing?

Can you stay at the bedside and be a writer? Absolutely! In fact, I think you should. And here’s why.

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There are more advantages than disadvantages to staying at the bedside than there is to leaving. Plenty of people will tell you to dive right into owning your own business. But why would you leap into the unknown? Doesn’t it make more sense to dip your toes, get settled, and then jump in?

Let’s go over the pros and cons to remaining at the bedside part-time while you write.


The feast and famine cycle is one of the hardest hurdles for newer freelance writers. It refers to the ebbs and flows of client work. The feast section you will

have more work than you know what to do with. When multiple contracts end in the famine portion, you’ll see a dip in your finances.

Staying at the bedside helps buffer this transition. You won’t always be stuck in a feast and famine period. It’s like a top that’s wobbling. It will steady itself with time and speed. But it does take practice. And it’s much less stressful when you have a second income stream to fall back on.

Explore More

Having a second income lets you explore other writing ventures that you may not have had the time for. If all you’re worried about is the price tag on a deliverable, you may be rejecting solid offers. The type of offers that can lead to bigger clients.

Newer freelancers sometimes have tunnel vision. They’re just concerned about hitting their financial goals to survive and pay their bills. If you have a second income stream, you can experiment with taking lower-paying jobs that may lead to bigger and better experiences in the long run.


Having a second income stream is more sustainable in the long term game. You’re just trying this new venture out. What if you don’t like it? What if you need a break? It’s unlikely, but it could happen.

There were times I was grateful to take a month break just working at the bedside again while I gathered my thoughts and prepared for my next business move. When your business is your only financial option, you can get desperate. And desperate choices aren’t always the best ones.


There aren’t many cons to remaining at the bedside in some capacity, as long as it doesn’t hinder your business planning. The healthcare industry offers

flexibility where you can alter your hours and setting as needed to support your business. The main disadvantage to remaining at the bedside is you’re taking some time away from your business.

Not as Much Time for Business

If you’re working at the bedside, it means you’re not working on your business. Plain and simple. You may not see as much quick, determined growth as someone who is living and breathing their business. You may not have the same amount of time to network, strategize, and reformat your business to meet the changing needs of your market.

Part-time, Full-time, Per Diem

Lucky for healthcare workers, there is plenty of flexibility when it comes to working shifts. You can work full-time and write, which is what I did for two years. I wrote on my lunch breaks, during the slow periods, and after work. This was great for me, because I had my regular income while I experimented.

After a few years of full time, I went part-time. I decided to work 3 days a week, and write 2 days a week. I was still receiving benefits from my job at this point, so that was a nice buffer. I was able to ramp up my writing clients, while still having more than half of my regular income.

Now, I’m per diem. I pick up shifts once a month, sometimes more. I do this mainly because I like my previous role. Do I need the money? No, I don't. But a part of me does love that interaction with patients. And I hate sitting in my house all the time. This is what works best for me.

Take some time to reflect and figure out what work balance would be the best choice for your financial, mental, and physical health.


If you’re still at the bedside while you run your business, you’re at an advantage. You can take bigger risks without worrying about the financial burden. You can experiment with different deliverables instead of focusing just on the ticket price. And it helps balance your feast and famine cycle when you’re starting out. But, you may not be able to dedicate as much time to your business than if it was your only business project.

Looking for more business tips? Check out my course.

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