Once upon a time, becoming a nurse meant a fairly limited amount of career autonomy. You would almost certainly be working in a hospital or doctor’s office with reasonably close supervision. Today, the landscape for nurses has changed substantially, and while many nurses still work in hospitals and medical clinics alongside doctors, many others may work independently and even run their own businesses. There are many benefits of working in the medical field, entrepreneurship being one of them. The ability to do this and the requirements involved vary from state to state, and not every state allows it, but for those who live in the places where it is permitted, becoming a nurse entrepreneur can be professionally and financially rewarding.
Education and Background
You’ll need to become a nurse practitioner, which involves first becoming an RN and getting a bachelor’s degree and then going on to additional education and clinical training. You will also need an understanding of finances and how to run a business. In order to succeed, leadership skills, strong communication and good attention to detail are all necessary. As you obtain your education and start your career, you will have the opportunity to develop all of these.
Once you’ve been working for a while, both before and after you start your business, becoming a mentor is an excellent way to improve your leadership skills. You can help someone who is moving into the field by sharing your advice and expertise, and you may be able to offer practical help. If you cosign on a student loan or help the person refinance student loans with a cosigner, this can make it more likely that they will be approved. That can mean the difference in their ability to further their education. You can also help the person in figuring out what they want from a career in healthcare and in establishing goals.
Once you feel as though you have sufficient experience, it’s time to take a serious look at what kind of business you want to set up and what population you want to serve. The best way to look critically at your ideas for running your health care business is to write a business plan. You may need one of these anyway if you are going to be looking for loans or investors, but it can be helpful if you aren’t seeking either of those things as well. However formal or informal this document is, there are a few sections you should include, such as your marketing plan or an expected budget. Loans from the Small Business Administration or your local bank are both examples of how you might finance your endeavor.
Taking the time to write out your business plan will help you think through your overall plan and identify any weaknesses in it. There’s a good chance that you will need to rethink and revise some aspects of your business, but it’s better to do it now while it’s all on paper than after you have opened your doors. You should also determine what kind of equipment and personnel you will need. You may need an office manager to help with paperwork and scheduling. You may need to take on additional tasks as well, such as becoming incorporated, getting a tax identification number and creating staff policies.
When You’re Up and Running
You must understand and observe all requirements for regulatory compliance. You may need to think about how to reach the demographics that you want your business to focus on with a smart marketing plan. Having a well-defined mission will help you figure out the direction you want your practice to go in and will help you create specific, concrete goals that you can use to measure your success. Make sure that your staff are on the same page as you regarding your mission and goals. Guard against burnout.
This is always a danger for entrepreneurs, but it can be especially true as a health care provider. You may need to work with one or more other providers to make sure there is someone you can refer your patients to after hours or in other situation where you are unable to provide the care that they need. If you’re running a practice with a focus on midwifery, you will need someone who can cover for you when you’re unavailable since babies don’t wait for a more convenient time to be born.
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