How to Become a Nurse Entrepreneur

A smiling nurse entrepreneur shakes hands with a patient at the door of a home.An experienced advanced practice nurse offers a high level of health care expertise and education. They can also wield leadership, organizational, and communication skills that any businessperson would envy. Now more than ever, advanced nurses with an eye for business can combine their expertise in nursing with their business sense and gain autonomy as a nurse entrepreneur.

What Is a Nurse Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurs are individuals who build businesses; they lead, manage, and maintain business operations. Nurse entrepreneurs apply business skills to health care careers.

Advanced practice nurses are experts at organizing, and they routinely manage people and risk, making them great candidates for starting any type of business. Beyond this, they’re uniquely suited to build businesses related to health care. This is especially true with their acute awareness of health care issues that can be addressed with the help of an innovative business owner.

Nurse entrepreneurs typically can work regular business hours while exploring new strengths and new learning opportunities outside of the typical nursing tasks, including bookkeeping, hiring, fundraising, marketing, and negotiating contracts.

They do all this while enjoying a high degree of autonomy, something traditional nurses may not experience. This independence is an attractive part of being a nurse entrepreneur.

How to Become a Nurse Entrepreneur?

Becoming a nurse entrepreneur involves some obvious prerequisites. The following foundational steps are key for aspiring nurse entrepreneurs who are preparing for this career.

Earn an Advanced Education

To start, candidates need a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN). This could take anywhere from one to four years, depending on the program and the candidate’s previous education. This is the foundational education required and will also prepare graduates for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) that every nurse must pass to be licensed.

After earning a BSN, passing the NCLEX, becoming licensed, and gaining experience in the field, aspiring nurse entrepreneurs can obtain an advanced education. Deeper learning is not only valuable in its own right, but nurse candidates who hold an advanced degree usually set themselves apart from other candidates and are generally viewed as more desirable by employers.

A Master of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice degree allows you to apply your experience in higher education, building on your existing knowledge and expertise.

Gain Hands-On Experience

Essentially, nurse entrepreneurs are most likely to succeed with a wide range of nursing experience under their belt. Once nurses are working regularly, the more experience they have, the better. Nurse entrepreneurs can greatly benefit from getting to know their future clients through hands-on experience and one-on-one interaction.

The foundational knowledge that comes from first-hand health care experience can’t be understated. Spending time in a variety of units in different nursing settings will only benefit the future nurse entrepreneur in determining how their business can improve care delivery. Through unique, personal experience, nurses are able to understand the problems that businesses face and the solutions that can help solve them. This business-oriented insight by nurses makes them incredibly strong candidates, and is one of their greatest differentiators as entrepreneurs.

Build a Community

Working in the field while going back to nursing school has many benefits. In each and every role or class, nurses have the opportunity to make connections and build relationships with their peers and colleagues. These connections can lead to shared knowledge, business insights, and possible job leads for nurse entrepreneurs.

Beyond the people they’re able to meet organically, there are plenty of networking opportunities for nurse entrepreneurs to expand their circles and connect with like-minded business and health professionals. Associations including the Nurses in Business Association (NNBA) offer resources, mentorship, and so much more for those ambitious nurse entrepreneurs who are looking for structured organizations that can guide them along their entrepreneurial journey.

Nurse Entrepreneur Business Ideas

Nurse entrepreneurs have the opportunity to define what roles they’re interested in pursuing. With such a wide variety of opportunities in the health care space, they can take several directions regarding the type of business they choose to start. Some initial nurse entrepreneur ideas include offering services in the following areas.

Home Health Care

Home health care is growing in popularity with the rise of technology and care-plan development. Typically, home health care professionals provide in-home care for patients per their doctor’s orders. Home health care professionals may implement a doctor’s treatment plan and provide regular updates to that doctor, much like nurses or health care professionals do at a hospital. Nurse entrepreneurs can work with short-term or long-term patients, depending on their interests and expertise.

Intravenous Therapy

With home health care on the rise, patients often look to health care professionals to provide continued care, at home, with IVs. Intravenous therapy can provide medicine and fluids to a patient in the comfort of their home. Nurse entrepreneurs can start a business to provide this service, doing everything from setting up the IVs, checking for infections, ensuring the patient’s body is accepting the medicine/fluids properly, and most importantly, ensuring whatever they are administering is doing what it should.

Legal Nurse Consulting

It is very common for legal teams to seek expertise and knowledge from registered nurses when exploring cases related to health care and patient outcomes. Legal nurse consultants can provide guidance and expertise in a variety of different settings. Legal nurse consultants are typically of interest to law firms, insurance companies, and health care consulting firms.

This entrepreneurial route is a great example of a role where hands-on experience can be especially helpful. For example, walking legal personnel through standard health care procedures can help legal teams gain a 360-degree view of a process they’ve never personally seen or experienced before.

Pharmaceutical Sales

With a deep understanding of pharmaceuticals, nurse entrepreneurs have a unique opportunity to start a sales business distributing to clinics and hospitals. The people skills nurses build throughout their careers are essential for the relationship development that sales representatives use to cultivate new accounts and maintain current customers.

Beyond outreach and relationship development, pharmaceutical sales reps are also responsible for keeping a close eye on the industry, monitoring a changing market, and researching topics such as product innovation and clinical trial results.

Move the Health Care Industry Forward

Nurses are dedicated, hardworking professionals with knowledge and expertise that can be applied in many different ways. Nurse entrepreneurship represents a seamless marriage of nursing and business, offering autonomy for any individual who embarks on the journey.

Those who are seeking an opportunity to make a huge impact on nursing, and widen the impact of the field, would do well to earn an advanced degree through Hawai‘i Pacific University’s online Master of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

Start your journey forward to become a nurse entrepreneur.

Recommended Readings

Autonomy in Nursing: Why It Matters

How Long Are BSN to DNP Programs?

DNP vs. PHD in Nursing: What Are the Differences? 

Sources:, "Medicare and Home Healthcare"

Medline Plus, "IV Treatment at Home", "How to Become a Legal Nurse Consultant"

Fierce Healthcare, "Nursing Shortage Looms Large and Projected to Intensify in Next 18 Months: Report"

Houston Chronicle, "The Duties of Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives"