The gig economy has given rise to all sorts of niche businesses. From ride sharing to food delivery and creating social media posts, gig workers will do just about anything for the right price. Recently, companies like iMedical Data have been talking about gig work in the healthcare sector. If you are a healthcare worker, have you heard about the emerging gig economy within your industry?
Thinking of healthcare services as gigs probably seems foreign to most of us. We think of gig work as pertaining to less serious pursuits, like delivering pizzas and designing websites. Healthcare is a different ballgame. At least that is what we tend to think. But from an employment perspective, the gig model works as well in healthcare as any other industry.
Three Examples of Healthcare Gigs
Healthcare’s gig economy is very similar to that of other industries. Gig workers are not full-time workers officially on the company payroll. Instead, they are contract workers who pick and choose when, where, and how they want to work. Here are three examples of healthcare gigs that nurses might avail themselves of:
- Per-Day Assignments – In a per-day scenario, nurses work single, day-long assignments. Today’s assignment might be at one hospital while tomorrow’s involves a private clinic on the other side of town. This particular model takes its name from the fact that the nurse is paid on a per-day basis. Each work day represents a separate contract.
- Per Diem Work – Per diem work is similar to the per-day model in the sense that assignments are extremely short term. What is different is that per diem nurses do not have any particular schedule or shift. They fill in for other nurses on an as-needed basis. They only work when they want to.
- Travel Nursing – The travel nurse is usually a full-time nurse who takes longer assignments. They also travel to those assignments, whether locally, regionally, or nationwide. Travel nurse assignments typically last anywhere from 3 to 9 months.
All three models have one thing in common: the nurse retains complete control over their career. They take assignments that appeal to them. They work at facilities of their choosing. They control when and how frequently they work through the assignments they accept.
Advantages of Gig Work
Healthcare gigs offer many of the same advantages gig workers in other industries enjoy. At the top of the list is self-determination. Technically, all gig workers are self-employed contractors. They operate their own small businesses, providing a service to customers. Not only does this give them complete control over work schedule, but it also allows them to determine the direction their careers take.
Another advantage of gig work, at least in healthcare, is higher-than-average pay. Employers are so desperate to meet staffing needs they will pay more to bring in temporary workers. Could this be one of the reasons so many permanent placement workers are leaving their jobs and transitioning to gig employment?
Hand-in-hand with higher-than-average pay is the ability to leave work at work. Staff nurses and doctors do not have that luxury. They are always tethered to their employers to some degree. Even when they go home, the job is always there. Gig workers have a different experience. They are their own bosses. That means they are free to leave the job at the job site.
It may seem abnormal to apply the gig concept to healthcare. However, it is a very real thing. The gig economy has come to doctors, nurses, therapists, and other healthcare workers. And now that it has, there is no going back.