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Saturday, April 25, 2015

8 Unique Ways to Earn Money in Nursing School

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8 Clever Ideas to Earn Money During Nursing School

Everyone warns you before you start nursing school of how hard the classes will be. They ask, "Can you handle cleaning up vomit, blood, poop, urine?" And while those are very valid points to consider before deciding on nursing school, there is one other major thing I hadn't given as much thought. I knew it would cost a lot of money. (It costs A LOT of money.) I just didn't realize how bad I'd feel about being so deeply in debt.

Nursing school is like boot camp for your mind (and body. Hellooo 13 hour shifts!) You don't have much time to spare. You'd like to spend whatever precious free time you do have with friends or family enjoying this simple little thing we call LIFE. 

I hear you loud and clear. Here's 8 creative ways to earn money while in nursing school.

1. Research Study Participant

Matter of fact, I've actually done this this week. I didn't make much money, but during school every little bit counts. The research study I volunteered for was very basic. All I had to do was assess pH papers. It took very little of my time and I made enough money to cover my lunch and a coffee.

There are more lucrative research studies you can volunteer for. I always wanted to volunteer for the polio vaccine studies but numerous people in my life said that they would pay me not to do it. Which reminds me, they owe me some money... Vaccine studies pay very well. You could easily make $1000 over the course of the study. They typically pay X amount per office visit, or phone call.

Beware: I did have a friend volunteer for a study where they injected his underarm with botox to decrease sweating and they got a little close to a nerve and he had constant tingling in his right arm for about six months. It's not without it's risks. Haha.

2. Nurse Assistant/Tech/Aide

Sadly, this is something I didn't do and looking back wished like crazy that I had. Working at a hospital is an excellent way to get your foot in the door, gain more experience in the industry, and network in the healthcare community. If I could turn back time *insert Cher hair flip* I would have worked this into my schedule somehow. Nursing school is INSANE. You will be extremely stressed out and very pressed for time. However, this is probably the best job to have during school because of all the connections and experience that you'll gain. You're graduating without any experience. I don't care if they say there is a nursing shortage; they'll go with someone with experience over you Every. Single. Time. 

3. CPR/First Aid Instructor

This will take you having to become certified to teach these classes, but after that it's fairly easy. Offer a class once or twice a month and you'll have yourself a nice little wad of spending money. Granted income will be based off of how many people are in the class. You gain excellent experience in delivering CPR and First Aid. You'll really appreciate that skill when you're in a code situation.

4. Fake Patient for Medical Schools

This wasn't something that crossed my mind until much later in school. I was conversing with a couple Physician Assistant students about Nurse Practitioners, etc. During their training they would have to go into a "patient's" room and get the initial interview. They'd assess the "patient". Then they'd leave the room, gather their thoughts, form a diagnosis and plan. Then they'd enter the room again provide the "patient" with their diagnosis and teach them about the disease process, drugs, blah blah blah... 

Nursing school wasn't that fancy. They just through us out there with real life patients and hoped for the best. This job would depend on the school. Some schools use students within their own program. Some schools pay people to act as a sick patient. If you're near a medical school, this is something worth checking out. It'll help you become more familiar with the medical terminology and you'll have a lot of observation of head to toe assessments! 

You could take this a step farther and be part of those instructional videos. You know the ones that show you how to cath someone.... haha.... yeah.... I'll pass on that one for now.

5. Tutor / Graduate Assistant

Tutoring would be a great job to have during nursing school. The best way to learn something is to teach it. (Thus, what I'm trying to do with this blog.) Tutoring would be an excellent job to make some side money during nursing school. Being able to be a tutor will of course depend on your grades, but you have awesome grades because you read this amazing blog. **Wink. Wink.**

Depending upon your grade level you may not be able to be a graduate assistant. However, if you meet your schools requirement this could be a pretty lucrative gig. You usually have tuition reimbursement. You might get a stipend. You could be teaching a class (though my school's GA's didn't). You might be helping faculty conduct research (this is the more likely option). You might be a GA and basically work as a tutor by assisting in skill labs or simulations. There are a lot of options and if you can, a GA is a great gig to have and a wonderful way to help you pay some bills. 

6. Sell Textbooks/Scrubs

So I hate to even say this because I do strongly believe in keeping most of the textbooks you use in nursing school, however some you won't use. If a textbook is just collecting dust and you have virtually nothing to gain from it, then go ahead and sell it. I sold some of mine on Amazon. They were really awesome about purchasing books from me. I didn't even have to pay for the shipping. As far as supplies go, I plan on selling my uniforms to the under classmen. I will have zero reasons to keep them other than for sentimental value. My school charges an outrageous amount for scrubs so I don't think I'll have a hard time finding some interested buyers.

7. Hobbies

What are your hobbies?? You can make money with them! I'm the queen of making a quick buck with a random favor. (That sounded dirty...) Anyways, I love to cook, play music, and love animals. 

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I've made some extra money by selling premade casseroles to busy mothers. I also can decorate cakes. Sometimes someone wants a crazy unique cake and if I have the time in my schedule I'm always happy to oblige.

I can make money with my music by offering lessons or playing a gig for a wedding or a party.

There's a cute lady in my neighborhood that always has about 5 dogs with her. She's a dog walker. The key here is to get in good with someone who's rich and has dogs. 
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I once got paid $20/hour to walk/play with three of the cutest golden retrievers you've ever seen.

Look at that adorable face. You could pay me in marshmallows and I'd still walk that cute little fella. 

If you like to take pictures, do some amateur photography. Not everyone can afford the expensive professional photographers. If you have someone you know that's just wanting some nice photos taken and they won't be too bent out of shape if there's a shadow here or there (because I doubt you own the equipment to counteract that) then you could make some extra money and record some precious memories for a family.  There are lots of photo editing software out there: Picmonkey and Gimp are the two I like to use.

The key here is to identify a couple hobbies and then think of a couple unique ways to turn those hobbies into some side money. 

8. Extra! Extra! Blog All About It!

This tip is a two-fer. 1) You could start a blog. Trust me, I make pretty much no money off of this blog... which I've been neglecting recently, so that's to be expected. I've been busy, and you'll be busy too. Really, we're probably both too busy to blog. But this is a bit cathartic to me so that's why I do it... That and my brother makes his living this way. That little booger needs to give me pointers or manage my website. Something! Anything! 

Help me. I'm poor.

2) Check out the blog industry for some frugal bloggers. There are so many fantastic websites to choose from. Couponing to thrifting to internet surveys. There is a plethora of options before you.

 The Penny Hoarder is a great place to go to get some amazing ideas for how to save and make money. I'm not going to try to invent the wheel here. (Or steal his content.) Saving money is his thing. I believe in doing what you do best. His thing is saving/making money. I don't really want to direct you away from my website and lose traffic, but I do want you to check him out.... Why are you still reading this?? Click that link already! Yeesh!

There are so many fantastic websites out there though. There's no way that this one little bitty post could cram all of their awesome money saving tips into one place. 

And when all else fails...



Those are my top 8 tips for making some side money during nursing.

Do you have a great money saving tip? Do you work during nursing school? Have you tried one of these ideas before? Leave us a comment below and share your wisdom!




  1. Don't forget donating plasma. I did that all year while in NS and made a ton of money. I was able to study while donating too. 3ish hours a week for $70! Heck yeah!

    1. Great idea, Rachel. I need to do that! Donating plasma sounds like a good idea and a great way to force yourself into studying. I've actually been thinking about donating my eggs to fertility clinics. That can pay anywhere from $5,000-10,000!!! Although, I do think there are some risks and you have to give yourself a lot of shots. That's a lot of dough, though. Donating eggs, donating plasma, either way you're helping someone else out. Thanks for reading :)

  2. Hi! I am in nursing school and work as a PCT, which is a nurse's aid basically. I was interested in making extra money and wanted to know if you didn’t mind elaborating on how to make money blogging.

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