It’s no secret that nursing itself is a solid career choice, especially as the demand for more nurses continues to boost the profession into one of the fastest growing career paths in the country. Salaries are strong, the openings are constant, and the work itself is often emotionally rewarding.
But a growing number of nurses are discovering something else about their chosen profession—their ability to succeed outside of traditional nursing as entrepreneurs and small business owners. The movement of nurses into small business has gotten so strong that interested nurses can now join the NNBA (National Nurses in Business Association) for conferences, training, networking, and swapping ideas.
“Naturally gifted with the qualities required for success-talent, resourcefulness, creativity, knowledge, education, experience, and skills-no nurse takes on a task halfway; they go over and above with 100% dedication and commitment,” writes Alene Nitsky (PhD, RN, OCN) after a recent visit to an NNCA conference. “Nurses go into business for many reasons, but most cite the desire to provide solutions to problems that are not being solved in traditional healthcare, wanting to provide better services and quality of life to the clients and patients they serve.
The appeal of setting your own working hours, goals, fees, and policies is also a major draw for nurses seeking to branch out on their own.
For the most part, small businesses created by nurses tend to focus on services that only a nurse can provide. For example, Expert Witness Nurses is a nurse-owned business that connects lawyers with nurses who are willing and able to provide expert testimony in court. Created by nurse Dawn Cook, the idea became reality after she pitched the concept to an NNBA “Shark Tank” at an NNBA conference and was awarded first place.
Other businesses created by nurses include:
- Temporary healthcare staffing firms
- Self-care skill building programs
- Companion Care programs
- Medical bill review services
- Medical equipment and supplies sales
- And many, many more
The businesses created by nurses are hard to assign any one category, because each is unique. Nurses have a one-of-a-kind perspective on the healthcare industry, so it makes sense that they would be among the first to spot gaps and opportunities to improve healthcare. Often the idea is the simplest part, and it’s organizations such as NNBA that help fill in the rest—how to build the business, the legal and tax aspects, raising funding, and other skills.
Starting a business doesn’t require an MBA or the next Steve Jobs, it takes a good idea, common sense, hard work, and a willingness to learn—all qualities that nurses exemplify in spades every day they’re on the job. So as you complete your own nursing degree or eye your next career move as a registered nurse, just remember… opportunities for nurses don’t stop at the end of the hospital hall.