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The nursing Gig Economy is no longer about agencies. Now, you can gain a more flexible work-life balance by booking your nursing services a la Uber or Lyft! To learn more about the ways nurses can enter the gig economy, DailyNurse interviewed IntelyCare’s co-founder, RN Chris Caulfield.

What is the “gig economy” and how can it benefit nurses who are seeking a better work-life balance?

The gig economy is a labor market of short, temporary jobs, or “gigs.” The unstructured nature of gigs allows nursing professionals the independence and flexibility to build a schedule that balances work and family commitments.

A 2013 report stated that half a million nurses left their profession, and a third of those nurses cited emotional exhaustion as a result. With burnout being such a prevalent concern in the nursing field, it is crucial to provide nurses with work-life-balance – for the good of their health, and the longevity of the profession. The gig economy enables nurses to earn an income while maintaining a better balance in their life, which will hopefully keep them in the profession they love.

What particular challenges are faced by nurses who are parents and spouses?

It is a challenge for any working professional to balance both the responsibilities of work and being a parent or spouse, but there are a few factors that make it even more difficult for nurses.

For nurses, shift start times are rigid, shift end times are unpredictable, and working from home is not an option. As a result, nurses cannot come in a little late if their child misses the bus, nor can they be certain their shift will end on time to do school pick-up. Additionally, if their child is sick, they cannot work from home to take care of them.

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Oftentimes, nurses are asked to stay late to cover care gaps. For a parent, this catches them between a rock and a hard place: what do you choose? Abandoning your patients or abandoning your child in the after school pick-up line?

How can nurses make their work lives more flexible in the gig economy?

Nurses can seek out facilities that utilize tech-enabled staffing solutions to build their in-house schedules. These solutions let staff pick up shifts straight from their app, making it incredibly easy to manage their schedule. However, while these solutions are common in hospitals, they are almost nonexistent in most nursing homes.

Another great option is per diem work found via tech-enabled apps which allow nurses to browse and pick up shifts directly from the app, giving them flexibility to choose to work when and where they want. If a nurse can only work weekdays because they want to spend weekends with their family or friends, the gig economy coupled with tech-driven staffing tools combine to support that prerogative.

What apps can nurses use to book nursing “gigs?”

NurseGrid is a real-time shift management tool that allows in-house nursing professionals to manage their schedules and easily pick up and swap shifts with co-workers. NurseGrid also syncs with nurses’ personal calendars and is easily shareable with family and friends, so nurses can better organize their lives.

There are also mobile-based tech applications that give nurses the autonomy to work in multiple facilities. Like our very own IntelyCare, Texas-based Sadiant Health lets nursing professionals browse and choose from a variety of shift locations and times via their app, so that they can build a schedule that works for them. All nursing professionals need is a smartphone and the proper credentials to get started!

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Chris Caulfield, RN, NP-C, is the Co-Founder and Chief Nursing Officer of IntelyCare

Koren Thomas
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