While the path to entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, there are plenty of opportunities for nurses with an interest in taking this route. There are many reasons nurses today are deciding to become entrepreneurs: taking a break from a stressful environment, wanting to retire but stay busy, or making a side income. From working as a consultant for medical malpractice law firms to freelancing your services to clinics and private practices, you can find success as a self-employed nurse. If you’re not sure that this is the path for you, consider the benefits of striking out as a nursing entrepreneur.
Be the Boss of Your Own Schedule
A nurse entrepreneur doesn’t have to work the typical eight or 12-hour shifts that traditional nurses work. In fact, you can choose how much or how little you work each week. Depending on the type of opportunities you seek as a freelancing nurse, you can even choose the times of day that you will work. You’ll have greater freedom in setting up your work schedule, and you may only be limited by the amount of income you need to earn. This can help you keep time free for important events and appointments. If your children are engaged in sports, you can set up your schedule to ensure you can make it to all of their games. The schedule you choose is up to you.
Wider Opportunities for Career Development
You’ll have a greater chance for exploring opportunities that interest you professionally and personally. Perhaps clinical work has always interested you but you haven’t found any job openings in that area of nursing. Freelancing offers you the opportunity to work in a clinical setting as a freelance nurse. If you prefer providing hospice care, you can work exclusively in that area. You can choose an area of interest, or you can choose jobs based on the level of patient interaction you desire. The opportunities you choose will help you live a more rewarding life, leaving you feeling fulfilled on a personal level.
Nurses’ Expertise and Ideas are Valued in the Business Arena
There are financial incentives to working as an entrepreneur in the nursing field, but there are more practical advantages as well. Many nurses feel stifled in their day-to-day careers. Policies or work environments often prohibit nurses from expressing themselves or sharing their ideas. It’s also discouraged for nurses to question doctors in many situations. However, freelancing as a nurse can open you up to opportunities in which your experience and insight will be sought. You can work as an expert witness, consultant, or in other positions in which your clients will value your thoughts. There are many entrepreneurial opportunities in which clients will pay your fee specifically to take advantage of your experience and ideas.
Successful Nurse-Entrepreneurs Can Make Serious Bank
Entrepreneurship offers you the chance to use and hone your business skills. Rather than earning a predetermined salary, you’ll have the ability to set your own rates of pay. You may decide to establish one set hourly rate, or you might charge a different rate for a variety of nursing services. This will be similar to running any type of business in terms of analyzing competitors in your field and marketing your services to those needing a nursing freelancer. The degree of success you achieve will depend on how well you can hone your business acumen. As long as you continue to learn and grow as an entrepreneur, you will achieve greater success over time.
Reduce Your Chances of Becoming a Burnout Statistic
While staying in one position or working at one hospital throughout your career can provide stability, it also increases the likelihood of experiencing career burnout. This is a condition that produces feelings of fatigue, depression, and apathy. When you freelance as a nurse, you’ll significantly decrease the risks of burnout by exposing yourself to a variety of new situations throughout your career. This can involve pursuing different areas of nursing to spice up your work-related experiences, or you might become a traveling nurse to experience different cultures from around the world. You can experience a new opportunity as frequently as you like, or choose a specific area of work that you find especially interesting.
The advantage of seeking out entrepreneur opportunities as a nurse is that you can still keep your full-time job. Look for opportunities that you can pursue part-time or on your days off. As you gain a better understanding of what you can do as a freelancer or another type of entrepreneur, you will eventually reach a point at which you’ll feel comfortable quitting your full-time job.
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that mental illness costs the United States over $300 billion annually, with one in five adults experiencing some sort of mental health condition each year. As a growing number of frontline workers report experiencing mental health issues ranging from anxiety and stress to PTSD and MDD, organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) have launched guides that specifically target healthcare professionals. While the pending Lorna Breen Act offers hope in its aims to make help more readily available for physicians and nurses, you should NOT wait.
When left untreated, mental health issues can exacerbate into life-threatening illnesses. One of these five tested, accessible, treatment options could help you feel better and function more effectively:
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that is focused on changing behavior and thought patterns in order to relieve symptoms and problems. CBT can be used to treat a wide range of mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and certain addictions. During CBT, a professional counselor or therapist will work with you to create specific goals based on your situation. These goals can focus on decreasing symptoms or changing behaviors that may be contributing to symptoms such as anxiety or depression. The counselor will also work with you on discovering personal vulnerabilities and stressors that may contribute to your symptoms.
2. Intensive Outpatient Programs
Intensive outpatient programs can be a great option for those who want to quit drinking or taking drugs but don’t need intensive treatment. In an iop program, patients come to a rehab facility several times per week, where they participate in group and individual therapy sessions. These programs typically last from 1-4 months.
The advantage of an intensive outpatient program is that patients do not have to stay at a rehab facility during their recovery, allowing them to go to work or school while in treatment. Since these programs are less structured than inpatient options, they may not be as effective for some people with severe drug and alcohol abuse issues.
3. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
Incorporating a variety of stress reduction techniques into your day can go a long way in keeping you healthy, happy, and prepared for life’s stressors. This is where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness is gaining popularity as a stress-reduction technique as it works for almost anyone.
Research has also shown that MBSR training can improve sleep quality, enhance productivity and even improve symptoms of chronic illness like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. If you want to take advantage of mindfulness training but aren’t sure where to start, then consider taking an online class or hiring an instructor for one-on-one coaching.
4. Pharmacological Therapies
Pharmacological therapies are another option front-line workers can use to treat their mental health concerns. Work with your doctor to find the best pharmaceutical treatments for your lifestyle. While these therapies are an effective way to treat mental health, be wary of your reliance on them.
Antidepressants in particular can be habit-forming and in some cases may not even work for everyone that uses them. If you suffer from depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness, be sure to speak with a doctor about all of your options. In many cases, pharmaceuticals should be the last resort. For example, depression can be treated by talk therapy alone. More advanced mental health disorders such as psychosis or schizophrenia will likely require a variety of therapies to bring symptoms under control over time.
5. Interpersonal Psychotherapy
Interpersonal psychotherapy, or IPT, is designed to help individuals adjust to stressful life situations. A therapy session may include discussions of emotional reactions, problem-solving techniques, and other cognitive exercises designed to make it easier for you to effectively manage your feelings. You’ll also learn how to better recognize signs of distress in yourself and others.
There are three main phases of IPT: crisis intervention, acute stabilization, and prevention. There are typically 10 one-hour sessions during each phase of IPT treatment. Oftentimes IPT is used as a form of treatment for PTSD symptoms after an emergency occurs on the scene or at home in the form of critical incident stress debriefing.
Everyone deserves mental health care, regardless of their financial situation or employment status. Front line workers should take these five ideas into consideration to care for their mental health.
If you have thoughts about suicide or you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). The ANA has also assembled some resources for nurses suffering from suicidal ideation here.
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