It is an exciting time to be a nurse! There are so many options for today's nurse and one area that is growing is nurses interested in becoming business owners. What is creating this need for Plan Business? Well one thing is that the number of nurses employed by hospitals is decreasing from what it has been for decades. Today, about 58% of nurses are employed by hospitals compared to 68% in 1980. Many nurses, over 30%, report being burned out and highly dissatisfied with their jobs. The dissatisfaction relates to feelings of frustration, being overwhelmed with new technology (equipment and EMRs) and overworked due to higher severity of illness of the patient load. Nurses have high levels of anxiety over jobs being eliminated and potential lay-offs due to restructuring. There is a large number of nurses, 900,000, over the age of 45 looking to possibly reduce hours but not their income. And for many nurses, Plan A no longer serves them or the nurse that they have become.
There are huge demands that can be supplied by the nurse business owner. Elder care services, called the silver tsunami, will only increase through 2030. This demand has a variety of businesses well suited for nurses from home residential care facilities, day care services, non-medical in home care, geriatric case management and geriatric patient advocacy type services and programs. Educational programs for family caregivers, caregiver training programs and respite care. Technology is breaking all kinds of boundaries and nurses interested in health information technology, telemedicine and telehealth have a plethora of choices in independent consulting including Documentation Specialists and RN Medical Bill Auditors. Nurses that enjoy teaching can create continuing education units and become CNE providers in any number of specialties. Public Health education is so critical today as patients are released sooner and sicker from the acute care setting. Home Health Care is booming and Wellness Programs are on the rise especially in the corporate setting. Nurses are Authors, Speakers and Consultants in health, wellness and social settings. In fact we have many nurses that are bloggers, podcasters, columnists and social media experts like Nurse Beth!
If you would ask most Nurses if they see themselves as entrepreneurs I think the majority would automatically say no; but I believe that because they are not seeing themselves clearly. Nurses make great business owners because they are educated in a scientific method of problem solving and resolution. Nurses can think critically, prioritize and organize. Nurses are compassionate, dedicated and professional. While entrepreneurs have their business plan for success, nurses create care plans envisioning the optimal patient outcome. The tug and pull of business responsibilities requires the entrepreneur to wear ten hats at the same time and that is just a routine day for most nurses in a patient care environment! From my own experience, I adapt the Nursing Process and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to every business problem I encounter. I was able to navigate from being a staff nurse at the bedside to being a CEO in corporate boardrooms. I was always happy to tell folks that asked about my business acumen that it was my nursing experience that was the foundation of any success.
Michael Gerber, the author of The E-Myth, believes that every single man and woman has the entrepreneurial instinct, desire and gift. I agree with him. Most all constraints are self-imposed and our assumptions of what a nurse can be must continually be challenged. There are more successful nurse entrepreneurs today than there was a generation ago. There are many role models that nurses have available so they can accelerate their learning curve and talk with other nurses that have succeeded in areas they are interested in. Nurses can do anything and owning an entrepreneurial mindset begins changing the way nurses look at using their nursing experience.
Have you thought about starting a business or are you looking for a unique nursing career alternative? The National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA) is hosting its annual Nurse Entrepreneurship & Career Alternatives Conference October 12-14, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada which is designed for nurses that are thinking about starting a business, those already in business and those looking for career alternatives. This might be just the thing to help you set your entrepreneurial dreams in motion.
Just like tires of a car that are out of alignment, our jobs may be leaving us feel we are having a bumpy ride each day. One day you are not the new nurse anymore. We experience new demands such as parenthood, or caring for our parents. We may be feeling overwhelmed or frustrated that our work doesn't seem appreciated or valued in our current role.
That's what happened to me. When I began my nursing career, I was working in critical care, partying with my coworkers after each shift and sleeping until I had to go into work the next day. Then several years later my lifestyle changed. No longer single, I was looking to start raising children. My family and friends were continually upset that I missed events and celebrations because I had to work. My life had become very bumpy. So, I started searching for an opportunity that was in the 9-to-5 weekends off world. I became a case manager for a major corporation and was introduced to computerized health care data and analytics. I was an informatics nurse before there was a term for it, and this knowledge, bolstered by my foundation in nursing, served my career time and time again.
Today, after three decades in nursing, as the president of the National Nurses in Business Association, I get to do what I love most. Which is helping nurses to start, run and grow their own businesses. I personally believe every nurse should have a Plan B, (Business) and develop additional sources of income. The volatility of today's healthcare systems is unsettling and additional sources of income provide financial security.
If you are feeling like I was, out of sync and no longer finding joy in your nursing career, don't throw the baby out with the bath water! Your education and experience is valuable and there are many ways to express your potential. Keep the following in mind:
Use the rule; Lifestyle Leads, Work Style Follows, (excerpt Unconventional NurseÂ®). Everything becomes so much easier, powerful, and cohesive when your work and your life are congruent. It took me forever to get this one right, and once I did, I no longer felt I was fighting against the grain. Start with understanding your core values and if they are aligned with your job. You can also take a look at your natural preference for how you feel most alive, relaxed, and positive at work. Your work environment, (type of building, colors, lighting, sounds and smells) is very important. For many years, working in a hospital suited my personality well. As I entered my thirties, I became more sensitive, especially to the sounds. Look at the business culture. How do people treat one another? Be aware of your prime time and make sure the most important tasks are scheduled when you are most effective.
To create change, you have to reframe your focus. Look at everything with new eyes. The late Wayne Dyer was famous for saying "When you change the way you look at things, things change". Well, this is so true. When we feel stuck, it really helps to objectively view our lives. This exercise helps: Imagine you are outside a room looking through a window and you see yourself, at home and at work. Then write down what you see. Little hinges can swing big doors, sometimes just small changes have a tremendous effect. You will discover new things about yourself every time you try something new.
You are a nurse and you have everything you need right now to discover career fulfillment. It may involve small changes, or big changes to your current work situation. It always takes effort, and as nurses, you are not a stranger to hard work. I think you are amazing and I believe that nurses make great business owners. You can discover how nurses are starting: healthcare businesses, becoming consultants, advisors, developing additional streams of income, being authors, speakers, social media influencers, becoming encore entrepreneurs and so much more. Come and see for yourself at the annual educational National Nurses in Business Association conference on nurse entrepreneurship and career alternatives. I hope to see you there.