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Nurse entrepreneurs are creating innovative business models

We all know about nurse shortages and burnout in the wake of COVID-19 due to work load and concern regarding inadequate supplies of personal protective equipment and of ventilators for the sickest patients, the shocking death rate, and the fear of infecting  loved ones. Not surprisingly , many nurses are standing up and taking notice of economic opportunities beyond traditional hospital or clinical facilities. Nurses have special training and experience they can apply in other settings to meet numerous unmet needs in their community.

NurseJournal defines a nurse entrepreneur as one who “blend[s] nursing skills and business skills into a career that allows them to make their own schedule and be their own boss.” The article describes unique nurse startup business plans like supporting lactation for mothers of twins, promoting perinatal wellness, and even creating an agency to better match traveling nurses with assignments and facilitate their travel arrangements.

We previously published a two-part post about advanced practice regular nurses (APRNs) opening aesthetic or cosmetic practices, often called medical spas. These clinics administer products or procedures such as Botox or dermatological fillers.

In that piece, we identified issues that can arise in a nurse’s entrepreneurial endeavor related to licensing as well as to new business startups.

Professional licensure

A nurse going into business for themselves must carefully investigate how to maintain appropriate licensure, whether it be through  the Kentucky Board of Nursing (KBN), the South Carolina Board of Nursing, or in another state through the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). A nurse entrepreneur must understand licensing or certification requirements for colleagues or employees when considering a new business venture.

For example, what authority does the nurse or their staff have to prescribe or administer medications? Will they need to make other arrangements to provide those services such as professional association with a physician? Some business ideas may require further education, certification or licensing such as becoming a nurse acupuncturist or doula.

Examples of nontraditional nursing businesses

In addition to the trend toward medical spas, nurses are creating a wide variety of businesses. Some revolve around particular medical experiences like pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding; management of disability, injury or illness from home; aging; and others.

A nurse may create a business that serves people in their homes, in a hospital or other medical facility, or in standalone business premises. Or the nurse entrepreneur could conduct business via electronic or telephonic means. Finally, some ideas create solitary work such as writing or editing medical content or reviewing insurance claims.

In addition to medical spas, ideas include:

  • Specialized care such intravenous (IV) infusion
  • Nurse writer or editor
  • Family Practice Setting
  • Aesthetic/Medical Spas
  • Legal nurse consultant (LNC)
  • Health blogger
  • Holistic health
  • Wellness coach
  • Childbirth educator
  • Advocate for children with disabilities in educational programming
  • And others

DailyNurse tells the story of one nurse-entrepreneur who developed a therapeutic essential-oil product for use in clinical settings such as to lessen nausea or anxiety. Respected medical centers like Mayo Clinic use it and it has widely caught on.

Startups and legal counsel

To establish a new business, a nurse entrepreneur should develop a professional relationship with an attorney or law firm. Any business startup and especially one that is likely subject to governmental regulation will have a spectrum of legal issues to address. A bonus is a lawyer who also practices in professional licensing matters.

In setting up the business, the attorney can assist with assessing insurance needs; employment matters if employees are contemplated; contracts and agreements; choice of business entity; tax issues; purchase or lease of premises; health and safety rules; intellectual property protection; business-to-business relationships like those with suppliers, payroll administrators, security providers and others.