One-stop shop for self-employed nurses and nurse business owners
To increase the chances of survival in this difficult economy, I recommend that self- employed nurses become a one-stop shop. By one-stop shop, I mean offer several different services that are needed by your target customers. I recommend that new startups incorporate several services at onset and established nurses add services to their current business. Let’s look at an overview of some of the services you might offer that build on nursing knowledge and skills.
Nurses are experts in nursing and can offer consulting services. In general, consultants identify one or more problems common to healthcare facilities and develop workable solutions. In addition to providing a solution to the problem, they may coach the customer through implementing the solution.
In Pennsylvania, one infection control nurse built a very successful practice when the state implemented a new law requiring long-term care facilities to gather statistics on infection control. She was a certified infection control nurse working for a hospital. She knew the ins-and-outs of gathering and reporting statistics. She developed a program to help long-term care facilities meet their new regulatory requirements.
The future for the consulting industry is good based on the shortage of nurses and the shift of nursing personnel to the bedside. Healthcare facilities are searching for solutions to the high cost of healthcare, to meeting regulatory criteria, and to moving patients more quickly through the system. Look at your areas of expertise and consider developing a consulting service for healthcare facilities.
Teaching is a part of nursing and most nurses are good teachers. Nurse educators provide medical education to patients, families, and other healthcare professionals.
For example, I write an emergency nursing textbook and offer a certification review course on-site and as home study. I also design, write, and speak about nurse entrepreneurship. My customers are nurses and that makes it easy to reach both the emergency nurses and the nurses interested in entrepreneurship.
The future for this industry is good based on the shortage of nurses and the facilities shifting nurses out of education and to the bedside. The more regulations and requirements; the more teachers are needed to provide the training, e.g., hand washing, CPR, medication errors, state required courses for license renewal, to mention a few. Certification reviews are a good source of income to nurses. Education also includes writing and speaking.
Wellness is a part of nursing. Nurses already have the knowledge to teach wellness and promote wellness products.
For example Karen Kowel of Mother Earth Pillows designs, manufactures, and sells holistic products. She also offers education and training among other services. She is very successful and is currently working towards franchising.
The future in the arena of wellness is bright as the public is use to paying for wellness services and products and some consider them necessary to their wellbeing. Wellness could mean designing customized care plans, developing and presenting wellness programs, and/or selling products.
Assistive legal services
Working with the law is also part of nursing. Nurses provide an insider’s viewpoint on legal cases involving healthcare. Forensic nurses work with criminal cases and the evidence. Legal nurse consultants work more with the documentation in non-criminal cases, such as malpractice, toxic tort, and personal injury cases including worker’s compensation. There are many established paths in this area, such as forensic nursing, legal nurse consulting, life care planning, elder care management, nurse-paralegal, among others.
The future for this industry is excellent because nurses are in short supply, attorneys and insurance companies are searching for solutions to the high cost of using physicians as consultants, and nurses have proven their effectiveness in the industry.
Nurse practitioners can practice independently in some states and need to be supervised by physicians in other states. They are able to bill third party payers such as Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance carriers. The practice of a nurse practitioner parallels that of a physician. Holistic nurses can practice independently in some states. Again, your practice is regulated by your nurse practice act. Many states have adapted a position statement about holistic nursing. Find your act on the Internet, print it out, and follow it closely.
For example, Marilee Tolen has a successful holistic practice, resells holistic products, teaches Internet marketing with webinars, and is a host of her own radio show. Her services have kept up with the changing times. Kiddingly, I call her a multi-entrepreneur.
The future for the traditional nurse practitioner and the holistic nurse is bright. I base on the shortage of nurses and the tread for patients to move away from physicians to other more affordable medical providers with the time to listen. Holistic medicine and holistic wellness services are accepted by a large number of individuals and is no longer outside the accepted area of practice.
Some of these independent current paths are represented by their own nursing associations, such as legal nurse consulting, geriatric care management, holistic nurses, and life care planning. The websites of those associations provide a great deal of information and education. I recommend that if you are interested in offering services represented by an association, that you purchase their text book or manual covering the services. Read about it before you pay for an educational course. You may not need the course. It would be a shame to pay for an expensive course only to find out you are not interested in this type of work.
When a considering self-employment or growing your existing business, I recommend you research all your options and select more than one. You may have many more options than you realize.