Many nurses find that they experience burnout in the profession and want to create an opportunity to work for themselves without the stress and wear-and-tear that they get from working in the hospital setting. Most importantly though, they want more flexibility and control of their work. Here are 3 flexible nurse entrepreneur business ideas to get you thinking about your next nursing opportunity. After all, a nursing practice can take many forms.
What will yours be?
1. Nurse Health Coach
Nurse health coaches have the ability to actualize their patient’s health care goals outside of the hospital setting by helping them develop the healthiest version of themselves. By teaching patients how to take optimal care of themselves, the nurse health coach empowers them for life.
Nurse health coaches work with patients to provide guidance and resources to assist their patients in living a more healthy and balanced lifestyle. In terms of nursing experience, nurse health coaches generally have many years of direct patient care in the hospital setting and have the desire to have a more immediate and positive health impact on their patient’s lives.
Many nurse health coaches are entrepreneurs who work in private practice, although some hospitals and doctor’s offices hire nurse health coaches as well. According to some surveys, nurse coaches can earn similar or even more income than they do working in hospitals.
Nurse health coaches help their patients by
working with them in the following ways:
- Understanding patient’s unique health care dynamics
- Assessing patients’ readiness for change
- Identifying client opportunities and issues for improved health
- Identifying and setting goals to achieve optimal health
- Encouraging and empowering patients to reach their goals
Perks to becoming a nurse health coach:
Nurse health coaches generally have more autonomy in this role than they do in other nursing careers. While nurse health coaches must work very hard to be successful, the career offers flexibility with setting one’s own schedule, work atmosphere, and patients.
2. Legal Nurse Consultant
A legal nurse consultant (LNC) is an RN expert for legal cases involving medical incidents and issues. LNCs are extremely valuable because they bring clinical expertise and medical experience to attorneys in the litigation process.
LNCs clinically analyze and evaluate facts and testimony related to the delivery of nursing and other health care services and outcomes. They also analyze and review the nature and cause of injuries in legal cases.
Legal nurse consultants’ responsibilities vary
depending on the employer and often include:
- Attending medical reviews by independent medical examiners
- Testifying in court as an expert witness
- Reviewing cases to identify strengths and weaknesses
- Preparing chronologies or timelines for medical records
- Working with lawyers to plan health care litigation
- Drafting legal documents in medical cases under the guidance of an attorney
- Educating attorneys and paralegals about health care issues
Perks to becoming a legal nurse consultant:
This option makes for a great nurse entrepreneurial business idea because LNCs have the ability to combine their clinical expertise and medical experience with the law. As business owners, LNCs can work as much or as little as they want and have complete control over what they accomplish. In addition, LNCs can often choose which clients they work with and types of cases they consult on.
3. Nurse Blogger/Freelance Writer
Nurse bloggers and freelance writers create and manage websites containing useful information for readers. They are generally developed based on the creator’s medical and/or personal niche.
A great benefit to becoming a nurse blogger/writer is that each post or article can be written from a completely different perspective. Nurses work in many different specialties with diverse patient populations. Therefore, each nurse has different skill sets and experiences within their career that they can draw unique information from. In other words, nurses can bring a lot of life experience into their writing.
There is a wide range of nurse bloggers on the
internet writing about: nurse mom lifestyle, nursing informatics, nurse
money topics, new graduate nursing, nurse humor, nursing apparel, nursing
specialties… and the list goes on and on.
As a nurse blogger or freelance writer, you can:
- Set your own work hours and schedule
- Have total creative control over your content and products
- Improve and continue to develop your writing skills each time you create a new piece
- Become a better thinker because the writing process forces you to pause and think deeper
- Develop strong opinions about nurse topics that matter
- Discover thoughts and ideas about the nursing profession that you didn’t even know you had
Perks to becoming a nurse blogger or freelance
Nurse bloggers and freelance writers are also entrepreneurs who manage their own businesses. Many often also have full-time positions and do their writing/website design in the evenings or weekends. There is no set schedule, therefore they can decide to work or not work whenever they want.
Arizona State University is helping more students pursuing health-related degrees to marry their knowledge and curriculum with entrepreneurship, in order to help them forge stronger paths in their healthcare careers. The ASU Health Entrepreneur Accelerator Lab (HEALab) program helps teach students to think up new solutions, design a business model, and apply to the ASU Venture Devils Program for further mentorship and funding.
While their Tempe campus has hosted their business,
engineering, and design schools for a long time, the health-centered colleges are
based in the downtown Phoenix and West campuses. Combining the resources and
strengths from these schools and ASU’s office of Entrepreneurship and
Innovation creates opportunities for nursing and health students pursuing their
bachelors and masters degrees, both in the classroom and in the workplace.
From Classroom to Competition to Career
Students are already showing major successes from the program, as shared by the Phoenix Business Journal. Ramona Ramadas, who has been pursuing her Masters in Healthcare Innovation through ASU’s online courses, recently competed in the Nurse-Pitch competition at the 2019 Healthcare and Management Systems Society conference and placed third. Her startup, New Trails Navigators, is an AI-driven platform designed to train incarcerated inmates, prepping to release and re-enter the workforce, to begin a career in healthcare. The mentoring and networking Ms. Ramada has been able to gain through the HEALab has helped her win three additional competitions and awards, including the Pakis Social Entrepreneurship Challenge and the Alliance for the American Dream.
In addition to being a resource for Arizona State students, the HEALab has been used by students at other schools. Back in February, students from Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine visited the lab and other school campuses and centers, through a week long Entrepreneurship and Innovation selective with Dr. Rick Hall, CONHI’s Senior Director of Health Innovation. These students used applied human-centered design techniques and lean startup business tools to develop application ideas.
The HEALab offers monthly guest speakers and one-on-one mentoring to all ASU community members, faculty, and students, including those from different campuses, and those taking online coursework. For more information about the HEALab, click here.
Correction, March 27, 2019: We initially reported that New Trails Navigators works with newly incarcerated inmates, instead of inmates who are preparing to release and re-enter the workforce. We have edited the article to reflect this correction.
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?
West Virginia University (WVU) is blending science with business in a graduate program for nurses to earn their master’s in nursing (MSN) and business (MBA) at the same time. The program is designed for nurses who are seeking leadership, public health, or entrepreneurial positions, especially in a financial setting.
Elizabeth Vitullo, Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs in the WVU School of Business and Economics, tells The State Journal that, “Health care and business have always been linked…You never want to take the human out of the health care, but there are business decisions that impact patient care. This is essential for nurses who are looking at moving into administrative roles where they will manage people and make business decisions.”
Students in the program will complete 67 credit hours for the MBA portion concurrently with their graduate nursing courses. The hybrid program will be offered entirely online with the exception of a residency portion where students will come to campus for face-to-face learning and networking. Full-time students are expected to complete the program in eight semesters or three years, but the program also accommodates full-time professionals who want to complete the program part-time.
The MSN/MBA Program at WVU begins August 2017 with the first class of full-time students scheduled to graduate in 2020. To learn more about the program, visit here.
Last week nursing students at the University of Minnesota (UM) convened for the second consecutive year of entrepreneurial training at an event called “Planting Seeds of Innovation.” Nurses spend more time with patients than other caregivers, providing them with a wealth of knowledge about how medical products work that has gone untapped for many years. The UM School of Nursing aims to go beyond day-to-day patient care and provide their nursing students with the skills they need to think like entrepreneurs.
Thomas Clancy, a clinical professor in the school of nursing and organizer of the entrepreneurial event, tells BizJournals.com, “There’s a national push encouraging nurses to play a more active role in inventing and tweaking products, partly because they’re already heavy users of medical equipment.” The School of Nursing hosted a similar workshop last year which brought in 30 participants; this year more than 130 participants showed up to learn about medical entrepreneurship.
Many nurses have ideas about how to make medical equipment function better. In the last year, Clancy has seen products like tools to assess the severity of skin breakdown, a breathing tube to prevent accidental teeth damage, and a vein finding flashlight. He also noted there has been an increase in ideas for medical and nursing apps. Some nurses’ ideas are still in the formative stages while others are closer to becoming businesses. The goal of the program is to assist nurses with their ideas by connecting them with the Office of Technology Commercialization and the university’s medical devices center.
Visit here to learn more about University of Minnesota’s “Planting Seeds of Innovation” event.
Last Tuesday, Northeastern University hosted their latest installment of the Women Who Empower Speaker Series along with the launch of new Nurse Innovation & Entrepreneurship Programs for 2017 in accordance with Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 14-20, 2016). The Keynote Speaker was Dr. Vanessa Kerry, Co-Founder and CEO of Seed Global Health, an innovative nonprofit aimed at solving the workforce shortfall. Kerry used her keynote speech as an opportunity to talk about how her healthcare nonprofit is ‘seeding’ the next generation of doctors and nurses.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is a shortage of 7.2 million healthcare professionals worldwide, a number which is expected to worsen in coming years. Armed with this statistic, Kerry, a critical-care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, used her entrepreneurial and healthcare experience to help create Seed Global Health, which deploys US health professionals to serve as educators in resource-limited countries to build a pipeline of future in-country providers. Referring to Seed Global Health, Kerry says,
“We are committed to raising the next generation of well-trained doctors and nurses who can be agents of change for their countries.”
A World Health Report from 2006 cites that, “The more healthcare workers you have [in a particular country], the higher the survival rate of the population.” This is why the global burden of disease is worse in countries with critical shortages. Kerry noted in her keynote address that the vast majority of cases of HIV, maternal mortality, and non-communicable diseases are concentrated in underserved regions like Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Seed Global Health, under Kerry’s leadership, helped established the Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP), a public-private partnership with the Peace Corps, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and the countries in which the program operates. GHSP has sent volunteers to Uganda, Malawi, and Tanzania, and trained more than 10,000 doctors, nurses, and midwives since 2013.
In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Northeastern University announced the launch of their new Nurse Innovation & Entrepreneurship Programs for 2017. The programs are intended to define and shape nurse innovation and entrepreneurship across the lifespan of nursing: from student nurse, to the career nurse, to Nurse Practitioners and beyond. The following programs will all be available at the Northeastern University Boston Campus:
Nurse Leadership & Entrepreneurship Certificate, February 8-11, 2017 – The first non-degree, certificate program to focus on leadership and entrepreneurship in a transformational four-day leadership development program designed for mid-career nurses. Develop key business, strategy, and entrepreneurship markers to build on the strengths and competencies of a strong nursing foundation, imparting the functional knowledge and mindset nursing leaders need to succeed.
Nurse Hackathon: Nurses Hacking Healthcare, March 24-26, 2017 – The nurse hackathon is a fast-paced, high-energy event designed to present problems in healthcare and formulate solutions among teams of attendees. Nurses Hacking Healthcare brings together individuals from all backgrounds including nursing, engineering, computer science, and business to work together in a collaborative environment of innovation leading to product creation that accelerates the growing trend of bringing healthcare from hospital to home for older adults.
Nurse SharkTank, May 1, 2017 – This is an event designed for Nurse Entrepreneurs to display their product and pitch to a team of investors for funding their idea or company. In support of young Nurse or Healthcare Entrepreneurs, go beyond the hackathon with this event to gain traction and support for your idea or venture.
Nurse Practitioners in Business Conference, July 13-15, 2017 – The Nurse Practitioner in Business Conference focuses on developing Nurse Practitioner Entrepreneurs who want to start an independent practice or other business, or those who have taken the plunge and want to strengthen their business fundamentals. Learn about the how-to, macroeconomics of the health care marketplace, and what this means for Nurse Practitioners as business owners through all stages of business creation and growth.
Nurse Innovation & Entrepreneurship Summit, Fall 2017 – This will be the second annual Nurse Innovation & Entrepreneurship Summit, a two-day event focusing on the pedagogy of innovation and entrepreneurship in the sphere of nursing. Nurse attendees will be provided with awareness of the design cycle and tools needed for innovation and entrepreneurship.