I Quit my Full-time Job to be a Freelance Nurse Writer

I resigned from full-time healthcare employment and have not looked back. Luckily, I adore being a freelance nurse writer. But how did I get here?

I started as a nursing assistant and always intended to make my way through the ranks. After becoming a Registered Nurse, I gained the requisite experience and returned to school to become a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN).

But I didn’t always want to be a nurse. In elementary school, the thought of being a journalist made me starry-eyed. During high school, I shadowed at the local newspapers and applied to college to be an English major. But I realized there was probably not much of a job market in writing and turned my eyes to nursing. I wanted to help people and pursue my love of traveling. Nursing fulfilled that, and for a while, it was enough.

Why do nurses quit nursing?

Nurses are at significant risk of workplace injury from angry patients or family members. And even if the insult isn’t physical, people can be ruthless when sick and scared. Nurses also wind up with back pain and other injuries. Plus, they are the front line for any trauma or pandemic that rolls through. 

Being a clinician is incredible, challenging, and fulfilling, and I am grateful for the experience. But nurses are overworked and treated poorly. However, I think a lot needs to change- we need structured breaks, work-life balance, and more support when things go wrong.

Why did I leave clinical nursing care? 

I spent my first year as a nurse in a pulmonary step-down unit. Next, I moved back home to Cleveland, Ohio, to be a labor and delivery nurse. I met a few midwives that treated families with patience and compassion, but mostly I was frustrated by the medical model of delivering babies like pizzas. After that job, I worked at a community hospital with many midwives with whom I fell in love. They caught my babies and created the space I felt my patients deserved.

Midwives matter.

I worked as a labor and delivery nurse for five years while in school as a Certified Nurse Midwife and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. My nursing grind included long hours- I struggled.

Why are nurses able to pursue other careers away from the bedside?

Most nurses are superheroes who sacrifice their sleep and sanity for their profession. Nurses are the country’s most trusted profession year after year. Healthcare heroes risk their lives, minds, and families daily to support our communities.

I was hired as the head nurse-midwife at a company that was to open a dreamy freestanding birth center in Florida. It never happened. Instead, I began working as a freelance nurse writer and online nurse educator to supplement my income. It worked for me, and I fell in love with it.

The jobs ranged from grading essays to evaluating human resource nurse job postings to writing blog articles for nursing schools. Do you know the thrill you get when you land a new job? As a freelance nurse writer, I feel the same sensation every day when I land these incredible projects. That excitement flows into my life with our family, as well.

Is operating as a nurse writer better than working as a clinician?

I became addicted to the feeling of working for myself and landing incredible opportunities. Eventually, I went back to work full-time as a Certified Nurse-Midwife. However, I tasted the freedom of working for myself as a nurse writer. How was I supposed to go back to working for a facility?

I worked hard as a midwife- catching babies, educating clients, and empowering families. Attending the births of these incredible superhumans is a joy that I will always treasure. Empowering patients meant everything!

But I have four children, and I realized I was missing important holidays, school shows, and even weekend day trips. I missed sleeping when my family slept. While empowering my community, I felt like I was letting down the little people in my life.

When I gave birth to my last child, I developed postpartum depression and anxiety. While it wasn’t a direct result of my profession, I learned that I needed to minimize my stress in all aspects of life. I struggled to be the mother my children deserved while providing for our family.

After a year of struggling to sleep and juggle my responsibilities at home and work, I resigned. I felt free for the first time in my nursing career, yet it was terrifying.

The best part? The positive changes in our family’s life.   If the urge strikes to write until 1 A.M., I can. I can leisurely drink hot coffee with my husband instead of rushing out the door. I put a robe on and go to my office that looks over my garden while creating content that energizes me. I nurse my son during my lunch break. My breaks look like family walks or naps with my littles.

What are ways that you can improve your writing as a nurse writer?

It sounds incredibly basic, but practice writing to get better. And not just once or twice but a million times. The more I’ve written over the years, the better I’ve gotten. Creating content is more than beautiful words on paper. It often means creating images for social media and appeasing search engine algorithms. I have found a lovely network of other freelancers out there, and it rejuvenates my soul.

I’m lucky because I started this business as a happy accident to support my family a few years ago. The fantastic thing about having satisfied customers is that you receive testimonials and samples, which are critical to spreading the word about a new business.

Caitlin Goodwin, DNP, CNM, RN, is a professional nurse copywriter with more than 15 years of experience in the nursing profession. She works as a nursing consultant and health content strategist. If you are looking for a professional content writer, please message me below!

If you are an aspiring freelance nurse writer, leave a message in the comments or follow social media.

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