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Job Options in Nursing Using Your Current Skills and Degrees!
Self-employment offers nurses a way to continue in nursing and gain more independence, money, and respect. Independent contracting, consulting, or owner-operator of a small business is self-employment that can be practiced by any registered nurse with his or her current skills and degrees. An independent contractor or consultant can contract nursing services to a hospital or other healthcare facility and practice nursing on his or her own terms.
Opportunities for small businesses are unlimited and can consist of any marketable product or service the nurse imagines. Since businesses run during the day Monday through Friday, hospitals jobs provide ideal support during startup with weekend, night, and part-time scheduling. Many part-time and weekend positions also provide insurance and retirement benefits.
A nurse entrepreneur is a nurse who owns his or her own business and assumes the financial risk of the business. Typically, the business involves healthcare but can be any business the nurse imagines. Nurses make good businesspersons for two reasons. (1) The nursing process is the same as the business process-collect data, develop a plan, implement the plan, evaluate the outcome, revise the plan, implement the plan, evaluate the outcome, etc. Nurses are experienced and proficient with the nursing process. (2) Eight universal job skills are identified by the United States Department of Labor. Each job in the US requires a variety of these skills commonly four or less. Only five jobs in the United States require all eight skills-police, emergency medical services personnel, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and NURSES. Therefore, nurses can do any job in the United States including being an owner operator of a small business.
An independent nurse contractor contracts with a healthcare facility to provide nursing services usually by the hour. A nurse can contract her nursing services directly with a healthcare facility and continue her bedside practice. The contract is similar to those used by nursing agencies and travel companies outlining the services to be provided, the responsibilities of both the healthcare facility and the nurse, and the length of time the services are to be provided. State nurse practice acts for registered nurses do not prohibit independent contracting. Any registered nurse can contract his or her nursing services including two-year graduates and diploma nurses. No advance degrees are necessary. You do not have to be an independent nurse practitioner. You simply need a signed contract between a registered nurse and a healthcare facility or patient. Healthcare facilities sign contracts with nursing agencies and travel agencies all the time. Some nurses have cut out the middleman and contracted directly with the hospital. These nurses are self-employed as independent contractors and reap the benefits of claiming business expenses on income taxes and negotiating their contracts to practice nursing on their own terms. Independent contractors bill the healthcare facility for their services and are not on the facilities payroll. Independent contractors are responsible for their own continuing education and certifications, state and federal income taxes, health and liability insurance, retirement benefits, and the cost of doing business. The hourly rate for the independent contractor and consultant is often double the hourly wage of an employee providing the same services to account for the added expense of doing business.
Emergency physicians are an excellent example of physicians that contract services to hospitals. Typically, they form a group, incorporate, and that corporation agrees to cover the emergency department 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A group of nurses could provide nursing services in the ED, L&D, Med/Surg, PCU, ICU, or any department in the hospital. A large group could even staff a whole hospital. No hospital can run without nurses. When a nurse takes control and accepts the responsibility of his or her nursing practice, both the nurse and the healthcare facility benefit.
A nurse consultant is a nurse who gives expert or professional advice to healthcare facilities or clients on a contractual basis typically by the hour. The services of consultants have increased as healthcare facilities and the insurance industry downsize and terminate in-house positions.
Patricia Ann Bemis, RN CEN
President & CEO
National Nurses in Business Association