As demand for health care increases, the U.S. is clamoring for more top-level nurses and the services they provide. The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), for example, reports that 84 million people live in areas with a shortage of primary care. To address gaps in care, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) recommends enlisting more advanced nursing professionals, such as nurse practitioners (NPs).
Meanwhile, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) predicts that national health spending will grow by 5.4% each year between 2019 and 2028, reaching nearly $6.2 trillion.
With their high level of medical expertise and business knowledge, nurse entrepreneurs are well equipped to help the nation meet its growing health care needs — while also advancing in a fast-growing industry. A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree can help nurses with bachelor’s and master’s degrees gain the knowledge and skills to pursue entrepreneurial roles in this in-demand field.
What Does a Nurse Entrepreneur Do?
Prospective students may ask, what is a nurse entrepreneur? These self-guided health care professionals can put their nursing experience to work to start their own business. While the tasks they perform as business owners may vary, many potential benefits exist — regardless of the type of business.
Nurse Entrepreneur Tasks
Depending on the size of their business and the type of experience they have, nurse entrepreneurs can have a broad range of duties. The following are some tasks a nurse entrepreneur’s role may entail:
- Caring for patients
- Hiring staff
- Managing employees and schedules
- Marketing products or services
- Negotiating contracts
- Purchasing supplies
- Paying salaries and invoices
- Raising funds
Business ownership has various potential benefits. Nurses who become entrepreneurs often cite the following reasons for choosing that career path:
- Opportunity to help communities. Nurse entrepreneurs can lead the way to ensure high-quality health care for everyone.
- Freedom to make leadership decisions: Nurses who operate their own business determine how and where they and their staff work.
- Flexibility in work arrangements. Business owners can establish their own hours of business, work locations, and staff.
Businesses for Nurse Entrepreneurs
There are various definitions for what a nurse entrepreneur is and numerous options for business ideas. Common job and business opportunities that entrepreneurial nurses may choose to pursue include the following:
Medical Practice Ownership
Many states, including Hawai‘i, grant NPs full practice authority. This allows NPs to operate facilities that provide services similar to those of a physician, including evaluating patients, ordering tests, managing treatment, and writing prescriptions. Some nurse entrepreneurs who are NPs choose to open facilities that perform cosmetic procedures. Professionals in this role work out of their clinics.
Concierge nurses provide personalized services for patients, helping them navigate the health care system and securing appropriate medical assistance. Concierge nurses are often based out of a home office and travel to patients’ homes; their work can include administering medicine and setting up medical appointments. They may offer on-call services for a monthly fee, for example, or charge for one-time assistance, such as providing postoperative care after patients leave the hospital.
Consulting or Training
Consulting and training opportunities for advanced practice nurses range from advising legal professionals on health care to assisting hospital systems with electronic health records. They work from their own office and at the locations of the businesses they are assisting.
Legal nurse consultants help judges and lawyers understand medical information. Nurse informaticists assist health care facilities with using new technologies to improve patient care. Other options include career coaching for nurses and wellness coaching for patients.
Another nurse entrepreneur job option is in hospice care. Nursing professionals provide in-home end-of-life care for patients and their families, working with people in the late stages of terminal illness.
Medical Product Sales
Some nurses operate their own medical product sales business, traveling to clinics, hospitals, and other health care facilities and selling to nurses or other medical professionals. Among the products that nurses may sell are medical equipment and accessories or nutritional supplements.
Health Care Communication
Nurse entrepreneurs can share their health care expertise through various communications channels. Among the business opportunities are public speaking, podcasts, online courses, books, or photography. Their office environment may vary according to the role, but many health care communicators work on a contract basis from their own home.
How to Become a Nurse Entrepreneur
The path to entrepreneurship varies according to the business the nursing professional pursues. Generally, however, nurses who start their own business begin as registered nurses (RNs) who hold a bachelor’s degree and have experience in a clinical setting.
Education and Certification
Many nurse entrepreneurs are RNs who hold an advanced nursing degree, such as a master’s in nursing or DNP. The criteria for becoming a licensed RN varies by state, but they typically include graduating from an approved nursing program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
Some states allow nursing professionals to open their own medical practice if they are NPs. While requirements may vary by state, NPs are generally RNs who hold a bachelor’s degree, have completed an NP-focused graduate master’s or DNP, and have passed a national NP board certification exam.
Depending on the specific role they choose, nurse entrepreneurs may also pursue additional certifications. For example, those working with patients may earn CPR and basic life support (BLS) certification. Sales professionals can earn the Certified Professional Manufacturers Representative (CPMR) or the Certified Sales Professional (CSP) certification.
Along with nursing-focused course topics, such as anatomy, microbiology, physiology, psychology, and social and behavioral sciences, aspiring entrepreneurs may want to focus on business administration topics.
Establishing a business has other requirements as well, including drawing up business and marketing plans, securing financing, and setting up accounting systems.
Most nurses who start their own business have clinical nursing experience. Work experience in a clinical setting not only provides a background in working with patients but also can help nurses identify areas that they would like to pursue as entrepreneurs.
Nurse Entrepreneur Skills
Entrepreneurial nurses should possess the skills to succeed in business as well as in nursing. Many of these skills can be learned in an advanced nursing degree program and with clinical nursing experience. The following are some skills that help define what nurse entrepreneurs are and what sets them apart:
- Adaptability. Nurses and entrepreneurs need the ability to adjust to ever-changing circumstances, such as changes in patients’ conditions or fluctuating market conditions.
- Leadership. Nursing and business leaders alike should have the knowledge and management skills to inspire those who work with them.
- Persistence. As they may encounter resistant customers or patients, entrepreneurs and nurses should be willing to persevere.
- Resilience. Just as clinical nurses must be willing to move on from ineffective treatments, business owners need to be prepared to accept failures as opportunities to learn and adjust.
- Time management. Just as nurses need to manage different patients and treatments, business owners need to manage business-related tasks and responsibilities.
Blaze Your Own Trail in Enhancing Nursing Care
If you are ready to put your entrepreneurial spirit to work to improve the health of your community, explore Hawai‘i Pacific University’s online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to DNP and online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) to DNP degree programs. The programs focus on the patient-centered, holistic approach to nursing that can be an excellent foundation for starting your own nursing-related business. They also offer the convenience and flexibility of fully online coursework.
Discover how Hawai‘i Pacific University’s online BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP programs can help you reach your professional goals.