Are you thinking about using your expertise as a nurse to launch a business? Do you have innovative ideas about patient care? Are you eager to create a new opportunity at the forefront of health care that is independent, flexible, and profitable?
Perhaps owning your own business is your next move.
As a nurse entrepreneur, you control everything, from your calendar and career path to your success or failure. Whether you plan to launch a nursing education business, work as a legal nurse consultant, start a community-based elder care business, or sell products, growing a profitable business requires information, inspiration, and insight into industry needs.
So what do you need to know and do to avoid costly mistakes?
Adopt an entrepreneurial mindset.Thinking like a business owner instead of an employee, is essential, says Michelle Podlesn, RN, president of the National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA) and author of Unconventional Nurse: Going from Burnout to Bliss! “When you realize you are your business, you start looking at everything with fresh eyes from that viewpoint. And yes, every nurse can adopt it. In my book, I ask nurses to make this paradigm shift so that they can strengthen and prosper their careers, regardless of their setting,” says Podlesni,
Create a business plan. It can be simple, but having one is essential. In short, it’s a description of your business goals and the strategies you will use to meet them. Update and revise when necessary.
Clarify your business focus or niche. Be clear about your idea’s scope and target audience. Who are your intended customers for your services or products?
Research market place need. Ensure a market exists for what you want to do with your business. Do a market analysis to help you see potential opportunities and threats as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your competition.
Find a mentor. Relationships matter. Get a mentor you trust and respect to brainstorm ideas. Learn from his or her mistakes and setbacks. When you are ready to take your business to the next level, consider a business coach.
Keep learning. Developing your business skills is a wise move. Running a business requires skills in marketing, negotiating, and branding. Read widely, attend conferences, take classes, and consider a certificate program on innovation and entrepreneurship.
For resources, including mentors, check out the NNBA, a professional nursing association for nurses transitioning from traditional nursing to small business ownership and self-employment.
As a nurse, you are keenly aware of what needs to be fixed to improve patient care. As a nurse entrepreneur, you can provide solutions and advance patient care while being your own boss. Are you ready?
Professional nursing conferences provide extensive learning and networking opportunities. These informative and inspiring gatherings can also feel intimidating. Make your first—or next conference—an enjoyable and productive experience with these 12 tips:
1. Plan ahead.
Register early and take advantage of discounts and the opportunity to book a room where the conference is held. Being in the same space as speakers and panelists increases the possibility of meeting them and making new connections.
2. Define your goals.
Do you want to pick up best practice recommendations, learn about cutting-edge innovations, earn continuing education hours, or chat with a career-boosting contact? Maybe you want to meet a few Facebook friends in person. It’s important to arrive with clear objectives.
3. Review the schedule.
Mark the sessions you want to attend, especially those offered at the same time. Formulate a game plan. Offer to swap notes with friends attending the other panels. Don’t know anyone going? Make it a point to meet people at the conference and share information.
4. Get registration materials ASAP.
Skip long registration lines by arriving early. Familiarize yourself with the convention space and layout of rooms. Don’t be the person looking for a session that started 10 minutes ago at the other end of the building.
5. Take time to reflect.
Information overload is real. Organize thoughts, notes, handouts, and other materials to share what you learned with your colleagues back home.
6. Pack must-haves.
A hectic schedule may keep you from returning to your hotel room to gargle before meeting someone. Keep gum, mints, and other grooming essentials on you.
Connect with the best and brightest colleagues and thought leaders from across the nation, and depending on the event, from around the world. You never know who you will meet to help advance your career.
8. Practice opening lines.
Easily start conversations with anyone (looking as awkward as you feel) with time-tested questions that include:
- Is this your first time at this conference?
- What are your highlights so far?
- Which sessions are you most excited about? (Note taker alert: Hopefully the same ones you can’t attend.)
9. Connect with social media.
Stay in contact with new connections through LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Include in your message a reminder of where you met and thank your new connections for speaking with you.
10. Stay current.
Sessions present the latest in technology, research, and procedures in nursing practice. By attending, you increase your knowledge and value.
11. Visit the exhibit hall.
In one spot, view the latest products, services, and equipment to improve patient outcomes. Meet exhibitors and representatives from the colleges and universities and nursing organizations and pick up some swag.
12. Pursue continuing education.
Take advantage of the opportunity to earn continuing nursing education (CNE) credit required to renew your license,take certification exams or attend sessions to prepare for them.
A conference is a great opportunity for professional development and for providing an overall sense of rejuvenation. Maximize your experience with preparation.
Pursuing a new goal – whether it is a career-related promotion, a personal do-over, or something else fresh – can lead to a variety of emotions.
Initially, just thinking about improving your life is exciting and inspiring. But then the dreaded cycle kicks in. You know the pattern. When it’s time to take consistent steps to accomplish your goal, fear swoops in and blocks your way.
Are you tired of allowing fear to hijack your goals? Can you use it to help challenge yourself to move forward instead of keeping you stuck?
The answer is to rewire your brain to get where you want to go. Listen to an open secret from the universe: Fear is a constant companion. High achievers get scared, too. But they still take action toward meaningful goals, even as they tell their fears through chattering teeth, “Shut up, and move over, I’ve got work to do.”
Ready to push past your fears and stop derailing your do-overs, desires, and dreams? This acrostic provides eight steps to use as a guide to LOSE FEAR:
Limit negative thinking. Create a mantra or ritual to signal it’s time to work.
Organize a detailed plan with deadlines. Check completed items.
Seek an accountability partner or life coach to help you stay on track.
Embrace fear as a motivating tool and not a momentum stopper. Use it to dig deep.
Foster a growth mindset. Resist inertia. Believe your abilities are flexible, not fixed.
Ensure your goal is clear and a “must” to accomplish and not just a “should.”
Acknowledge that fear never leaves, but tackling a goal minimizes its presence.
Refine your plan when setbacks occur. Let failure teach you how to adapt.
Use fear as a motivating tool. That’s a winning strategy worth adopting.
The job market for nurses has improved in recent years and nursing experts expect continued job growth. So how do you make the best impression as the best candidate?
Here are six strategies:
1. Know thyself.
It’s difficult to develop a clear-eyed assessment of an organization’s strengths and weaknesses if you haven’t done a thorough inventory of your own. You can’t truly know what you want in a job unless you have done the necessary self-exploration of who you are and what drives you. If your goals and motivations are unclear, the job you end up with could turn into a nightmare. Job gratification and growth potential should be your highest priorities, even above salary. Even the most expensive of suits is unflattering if it’s a poor fit.
2. Be the employee employers covet.
Articulate your goals, your experience and skills, and how they align with the vision of the company. In your resume, your cover letter, your Linkedin page, and your interviews, plant seeds of possibility, not just for yourself but the future of the organization. Make your aspiration indistinguishable from those of the company. Make your pitch in terms not of what you want, but what the organization needs.
3. Create a stellar resume.
Keep it professional and concise. Note accomplishments, not just duties. In addition to clinical experience that provides quantification of your skills and abilities, give the prospective employer a sense of how you work by highlighting soft skills such as critical thinking,teamwork, and advocacy. Soft skills are essential in the health care environment.
4. Network, network, network.
With the internet comes the temptation to let technology do all the work, an approach that will land you smack dab in the gridlocked masses of online job applicants. Don’t hesitate to make cold calls to desired workplaces. Better yet, cultivate relationships with individuals who work there. Not only will they give you an insider’s perspective on the culture of those organizations, but they’ll tip you off when openings are available.
5. Shine during the interview.
Make your pitch in terms not of what you want, but what the organization needs. Ask memorable questions that require more than a yes or no answer. Practice active listening. Don’t forget handwritten thank you notes after the interview to leave a lingering impression.
6. Earn a BSN.
Advanced education matters. The Institute of Medicine recommended in the Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report that 80% of nurses be baccalaureate of nursing science-prepared by 2020. As a result, more employers are hiring nurses who are BSN-prepared, or who are enrolled in an RN-to-BSN program.
With smart preparation, you can stand out before, during, and after an interview. That’s a goal worth pursuing.
As a travel nurse, you may encounter patients concerned about the Zika virus disease, especially if you are in Texas or Florida. These hurricane-battered states suffered extensive flood damage and have plenty of breeding spots for the disease-carrying bloodsuckers.
Although chillier temperatures will kill Zika-carrrying mosquitos, forecasts of weather in the 80s for a few more weeks could set the stage for an increase in cases.
Most people infected with the virus have no symptoms or only mild ones. The most common symptoms of Zika are:
- Joint pain
- Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
- Muscle pain
Pregnant women with these symptoms, especially if they or their partners traveled to certain locations, need to see a physician for diagnosis as infection during pregnancy can cause a birth defect called microcephaly and other serious fetal brain defects. As of last month, 2,155 pregnant women had lab evidence of Zika virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the CDC, Texas reported 353 West Nile infections—17 percent of all U.S. cases—resulting in 13 deaths. This year 48 infections and 2 deaths were reported in Texas as of August 29th. Hurricane Harvey could increase those numbers.
Pregnant women or their partners who recently traveled or plan to can check here to learn about areas with confirmed Zika cases.
To help prevent infection, share these ZIKA TIPS with patients:
Zap your chances of getting the virus by avoiding mosquito bites.
Invest in your health by exercising indoors. Heat attracts mosquitoes so sweat inside.
Keep your feet, body and limbs covered. Baggier clothes offer better protection.
Apply repellent correctly. Don’t wear it under clothes. Apply it after sunscreen.
Travel smart. Learn what to do before, during, and after the trip. Visit the CDC.
Identify and eliminate standing water throughout your home.
Protect yourself. The Zika virus can be passed through sex. so be sure to use condoms.
Share this information with family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.
Zika virus prevention requires awareness and action. Spread the word.