After earning advanced degrees, some registered nurses (RNs) become nurse practitioners (NPs) who make impactful changes in healthcare and business. Many NPs with an entrepreneurial spark feel driven to open their own practice. From there, some NPs launch public initiatives and enterprises that help the community. Others start businesses that support the profession.
From the earliest days of their nursing training, RNs learn how to be entrepreneurs. The advanced education and instruction involved in earning a nurse practitioner degree provide opportunities for even more innovation.
As an author, keynote speaker and expert on nurse burnout, Elizabeth Scala, MSN, MBA, RN, said all nurses need to find their niche for personal and professional satisfaction.
“While most of us did not attend nursing school to become businessmen/women, many of us find ourselves in these roles as the rules and regulations change. More specifically, with nurse practitioners (NPs) being granted more authority, many look towards entrepreneurship when they begin to open their own practices,” Scala said in “Nurse Practitioners Turned Entrepreneurs: Practical Strategies to Starting Your Business.”
“Today NPs find themselves looking for office space, coming up with business names and hiring accountants or lawyers to help them sort through the policies and procedures of owning a practice.”
Working as an NP today involves more than just nursing skills. RNs who earn a nurse practitioner degree, including through an online master’s in nursing program, learn some business skills as well that broaden their career choices.
Nurse Practitioners Business Strategies
In the article on Health eCareers website, Scala said NPs have to make a lot of decisions when opening a business, from naming the company to hiring a lawyer. She pointed out five considerations for nurses starting businesses:
Find a niche
NPs should determine their ideal clientele and target market before launching into any business venture.
NP entrepreneurs should find a social media platform that works best for their clientele and stick to it. Become an authority in your field on one social media channel.
Focus on consistency
With so many things to do, NP entrepreneurs can get overwhelmed. Use online calendars and email list services to help with organizational tasks and keep from appearing unprofessional.
Market the company early and often
Spread the message about the company’s distinctive brand through social media, friends and family.
In addition to practicing self-care, NPs should focus on developing a business that reflects their entrepreneurial spirit and growth.
In part 2 of her article in Health eCareers, Scala also said that NPs must resist the urge to work all the time.
“In order to provide the best care for your patients, you need to love and care for yourself first,” she said. “If you want your practice to succeed, the only way that it will is when you set aside time for hobbies, socialization and healthy behaviors for yourself. Put you first, and your practice will pay you tenfold.”
NP Entrepreneurial Options
Barbara C. Phillips, APRN, FNP, said opening a private practice is a natural transition for all NPs, but they have plenty of other career opportunities.
In “What kind of business can a nurse practitioner start?,” Phillips said NPs should ensure that the new business falls within their scope of practice and expertise. NPs should confirm that all their certifications and credentials jibe with the work they are doing. In addition, NPs should consider these aspects of the business:
- Before launching a business, NPs should determine how they will get paid. For some new business owners, it means understanding insurance reimbursements or fee-for-service contracts.
- NP should also ensure that the new business is legal and ethical and should check with an expert if they have any doubts.
Phillips suggested these new business opportunities for NPs:
Specialized clinical practice
Consider opening a practice that provides care to a specific segment of the population, such as women, men, pediatric or geriatric patients, or that focuses on disease management such as diabetes or gastrointestinal issues. Consider bringing clinical services to a particular community, such as a long-term care or assisted living facility, or opening a mobile practice that travels to patient’s homes or businesses.
Plenty of companies already provide continuing education programs for other clinicians, but what about continuing education programs for families, students, or educators? For example, NPs can offer programs that teach community-based CPR or first aid, Phillips said.
Perhaps start a niche consulting business that offers services to specific types of companies. Examples include a consulting firm that focuses on employers with on-site clinics or consulting for companies that provide home-health services.
For NPs looking to get away from the clinical aspect of healthcare, consider opening a retail establishment focused on health and wellness, such as a health food store, medspa or a gym.
NPs who have specialized skills can try their hand at other non-clinical ventures, such as writing, publishing or IT development (app development).
“There’s no end to what you can do,” Phillips said. “Make sure you have the credentials. Make sure you are within the scope of practice within your state. The rules change every year, and you need to keep up with that.”
Indeed, NPs have a world of opportunity for career paths in addition to clinical practice. RNs who earn a master’s degree, including an online master’s in nursing, learn about the many available opportunities.
MSN students at Duquesne University learn skills that can be applied to any clinical business settings. RNs who earn MSN degrees become successful entrepreneurs.
About Duquesne University’s Online Master’s in Nursing
Duquesne University’s online MSN programs provide one-on-one faculty support to encourage success at every level. The program also allows nurses to continue their careers and personal lives while earning an advanced education.
RNs interested in becoming NPs can choose to specialize in:
- Adult-Gerontology Acute Care
- Psychiatric-Mental Health
- Family (Individual Across the Lifespan)
The MSN program also offers these additional tracks:
- Executive Nurse Leadership and Health Care Management
- Forensic Nursing
- Nurse Education and Faculty Role
MSN-degree graduates are eligible to sit for certification boards based on study specialization, including the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCP) and American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Family Nurse Practitioner certification examinations. For more information, contact Duquesne University today.
Nurse Practitioners Turned Entrepreneurs: Practical Strategies to Starting Your Business: Health eCareers
Nurse Practitioners Turned Entrepreneurs: Mindset Shifts for a Thriving Practice (Part II): Health eCareers
What kind of business can a Nurse Practitioner start?: YouTube