Hi Fellow Nurses!
How are you this week? Are things getting any better in your workplace? I sure hope so!
Since I left the bedside as a nurse last year and made the jump to a health content writer, I have had numerous questions about my new career. Many nurses seem to be interested in trying their hand at writing.
I say, GO for it! You will do great!
I love what I am doing and it was not terribly difficult to make the transition. And in general, nurses are talented writers whose medical knowledge and credentials are desired in the area of writing. I have seen a real need for nurse writers who have expertise in women's health, obstetrics and oncology, especially.
As a nurse writer, you may not make 6 figures right off the bat, so it is best to ease into writing while building up your resume and writing portfolio.
I was VERY fortunate to land 2 regular contract clients who give me all of the work I want. I write for nursingprocess.org, a nursing education company and Genes2teens, a parenting publication. I especially enjoy writing the health content for Genes2teens as my background is in pediatrics. At times, I will take on a lower-paying writing job just because it is fun and I enjoy the content. In those instances, I can make up for it on other projects.
At the beginning of my new career, I took an online nurse-to-writer course, which led me through every step needed to get started as a health writer.
There are 2 excellent nurses that offer courses and ongoing coaching that I highly recommend. They are RN2writer and Savvynursewriter. Both of these ladies will do a good job helping you get started and personally, I keep in touch with both of them still.
The course took 6 weeks and I have to admit that the first month was a lot of (boring) business stuff.
You will need to establish your "business" as a freelance writer. I honestly never gave any of this a thought. But I waded through the first month and set up my writing business as Nurse Reese Health Writer LLC.
I must say that it took me a little while to catch onto the writing business "lingo" as it was utterly foreign to me as a nurse. Words like tax ID numbers, LLC, editors, SEO, B2B, B2C, H1, H2, contracts, PayPal and business banking all were not a regular part of my previous vocabulary. I honestly was not too thrilled to spend my time setting up and learning about the business end of things. I was anxious to get started with my writing.
From my course, I learned that there are many different types of health writing that nurses are skilled at.
A few options for nurse writers are:
- CEU and course writing
- Research studies
- Marketing publications
- Technical, medical writing
- Health content and journalism
- Medical product descriptions
I am pretty happy just writing health content. Many nurses do a combination. I recently took a one-hour CEU course on how to write CEU's, so I may try my hand at that craft in the future.
I learned that in order to receive writing assignments, many times you need to "pitch" ideas for articles to publications. Out of 100 pitches, you may have just a few accepted. I discovered that this common way to find writing jobs is very time-consuming and disheartening.
I have chosen instead to accept long-term contracts with just 2 or 3 clients, so it frees me up to just write. I find that marketing myself is uncomfortable. However, many others enjoy this process.
Like most nurses, I was accustomed to being heavily recruited and offered basically any job that I wanted. I discovered that it was an unpleasant change to be a part of a competitive job market as a writer.
I'm not saying this to discourage you. There still is plenty of writing work out there for nurse writers. Just don't quit your day job until you get your feet wet as a writer.
On a positive note, after endlessly giving of myself to patients for decades, working just for me is a refreshing change. I do what I want to do and when I want to. Nobody is pressuring me and I don't have to deplete myself in this career.
I can sleep late if I want, take a break whenever I feel like it, pick and choose the work that I prefer and take days off and vacations as I please.
Best of all, I do not have to punch a time clock!!!! For those who have not spent their lives punching a time clock, this one small change in the life of a nurse is liberating and still makes me happy after a year as a writer!
You do run into some goofy editors who have unreasonable requests and are not overly warm and fuzzy. A good thing about being a freelance writer is that you do not have to put up with clients and editors that you find hard to work with or do not like. You can just say "goodbye".
I have had the pleasure of working with one wonderful editor for my entire writing career. She is very prompt and fair and makes me feel good about myself and my writing. That is a true talent for an editor. I wish that they all were like her.
Overall, I am still thrilled every day to be a health writer. I am pleased to have received messages from numerous nurses and patients who told me that they have been inspired by something I wrote.
I am tickled pink that I have found a new way to reach out to others in a supportive manner to better their well-being.
So there is my "writer story", in a nutshell. I hope that I have been able to clarify the process of becoming a nurse writer. Maybe you will want to give it a try? Good luck, if you do!
Have a fabulous week everyone!