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This is part of a monthly series about side gigs—nurses with interesting side jobs or hobbies. This month, we spotlight a nurse who participates in online studies and focus groups.


As his full-time job, Charles Prendergast, BSN, RN, works as a registered nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. But in his spare time, he has a side gig, participating in online studies and focus groups.

We asked him about his part-time work so that other nurses can learn about it too.

How did you get interested in doing online studies and focus groups? When you do an online study, what exactly does that involve? With a focus group, same thing.

I have been participating in online studies and focus groups for five years. I became interested in online studies and focus groups when a nurse colleague of mine introduced me to Focus Insite, and I started following them on their social media platforms.  

When I am chosen to do an online study, I am contacted through email with very detailed, but clear, instructions on how the study will be performed. Once I receive and reply to the initial email, the next steps are given to me on how a study will be carried out.

Online studies are very reliable and easy to do because they are done at your convenience at home.

With a focus group, they start with a similar email and are followed up with a time that you choose and a date that works for you! The locations are convenient and are in or close to metropolitan areas. Once a date and time are agreed upon, I travel to the location and complete the survey.  

How often can you participate in online studies and/or focus groups? How much time does each tend to take up? For focus groups, are they being done virtually right now?   

I can participate in multiple online studies and focus groups in a year. How many studies I participate in depends upon if you fit the criteria the surveyor is looking for. This past year I have participated in about 10 studies and have made a considerable profit. Each study takes roughly one hour to complete. Some studies are two-day surveys and usually are less than two hours total. Some studies are being done at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic and they are very easy to do! All supplies are shipped to your home and all you need is your computer to hook up the camera they supply and a video Zoom call takes place walking you through each step.  

What types of surveys do you do? Can you give me a ballpark idea of what they’re about? What kinds of topics they cover?  

Primarily, I complete medical studies. Qualitative market research is my focus. They range from numerous topics from injection devices, nursing concepts and ideas, to new drugs on the market. Comparing new products to the medical field to products in use now is a fun and easy way to make money for your own opinion! 

If nurses are interested in getting involved in this kind of work, what would you suggest they do? What kind of fee can they expect to make for each survey or focus group?    

If you are interested in getting involved with focus groups and surveys I would suggest following @focus_insite and @getpaidmedical on Instagram and Facebook. Go to their web page www.focusinsite.com and sign up to part of their mailing list to hear about new and innovative market research studies. Once you sign up for their mailing list and complete your profile, they will reach out to you via email and/or phone call. Compensation is very generous for these surveys and each study pays roughly $250+ for an hour’s worth of your time. They will also compensate you for parking costs if needed.  

Why do you enjoy doing online surveys/focus groups? What do you get out of it beside the money?  

Besides earning some serious cash, I enjoy participating in market research studies because it keeps me up-to-date on the latest new equipment and nursing concepts that will be coming to our field. Being able to give you opinion on how a product looks, feels, and performs before it is distributed to the market is incredible, and you can say you had a lasting impact on products that you and your colleagues will use every day.  

Lastly, I would like to recognize Focus Insite Group for giving me an opportunity to express my ideas and opinions on products I use in my professional career. The Focus Insite employees are always professional, helpful, reliable, and respectful. They are a pleasure to work with to get you set up with making a little extra income and provide you with a pleasurable experience. A relationship with Focus Insite is key to long term success!  

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