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Can You Pursue a Career in Nursing and Still Become Your Own Boss?



Career in Nursing

Can you combine a career in nursing with entrepreneurial drive and success? The answer to that is an emphatic yes. Countless individuals are proving that by transitioning from active healthcare roles to owning and running businesses that deliver quality healthcare services. Much of this opportunity comes from how private healthcare providers are being set up, expanding, and adapting to meet the growing demand for medical services in the US.

Why are nurses with advanced degrees and experience proving such a powerful entrepreneurial force in meeting modern healthcare needs? Also, how can nursing professionals prepare for a career switch to being a business owner or administrator?

The fertile marketplace

Health care is a massive global marketplace, with a predicted value of more than $665 billion by 2028.  In the US, it accounts for more than 18% of GDP. Within healthcare, there is a vast array of different types of healthcare providers, as well as many niche enterprises starting to offer the latest technology, techniques, and treatments. Businesses in this sector also help other healthcare providers promote, run or grow their enterprises.

One substantially expanding healthcare niche is meeting the needs of older adults in local communities, state-wide or nationally. The number of people in the US aged over 65 is projected to increase from 58 million (2022) to 82 million by 2050. That is an astonishing 47% increase in older people who need healthcare services focused on the conditions that come from aging.

This provides many business opportunities for entrepreneurial healthcare professionals and exceptionally experienced nurses. Not least, the aging population and rapid advances in medical technology are putting a strain on long-standing service providers, both public and private.

Naturally, nursing professionals are finding niche ventures to start or buy existing healthcare enterprises to grow and develop. Other nurses with extensive experience and strong qualifications are being recruited to leadership roles in new or ambitious healthcare businesses.

This allows advanced nursing professionals to apply their unique insights within their own medical practices to be able to better prioritize the needs of their patients. From this comes the potential for profitable growth for fledgling and established healthcare organizations.

Educational qualifications

The sophistication and breadth of advanced nursing qualifications are critical factors in why nurses are transitioning to become business innovators and leaders. The ideal degree programs for ambitious nurses include a full appreciation that the whole healthcare provision must now be business-like, ethical, and forward-looking. This is evident in the learning outcomes of nurses who enroll in Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs.

What is a DNP degree? It is an advanced postgraduate qualification which is the highest practice-focused degree. Universities such as Wilkes offer an online DNP with a curriculum to enhance competencies in evidence-based problem solving, quality improvement and healthcare policy. Students will acquire the executive knowledge to evolve into effective nurse leaders capable of driving positive changes in healthcare.

With a DNP qualification, graduates will be equipped with the skills in leadership within the medical environment to ensure a better quality of patient care. DNPs play a vital role within the nursing field as they are best positioned to ensure better patient care and develop and evaluate approaches to healthcare delivery that will suit the community’s needs. DNP-qualified nurses will also have a competitive edge when it comes to leadership roles and earning potential.

Developing stronger transferable nursing skills

Another reason nurses are ideal candidates to launch and lead independent healthcare practices is that it is a profession that now offers significant prospects for promotion. Job posts that are suited to advancing a career in nursing have boomed in recent times.

Nurse practitioners are developing their entrepreneurial talents by taking on posts in areas like policymaking, preventative healthcare, healthcare leadership and education. That is alongside the job roles for nurse practitioners and DNP graduates in delivering clinical services that were formerly the remit of physicians.

Nurse practitioners can also pursue the research and data analysis field, which often means shaping healthcare provision nationally or even globally.

Is information security analysis a good career for nursing professionals? Finding ways to protect sensitive patient data, and helping healthcare providers to avoid data breaches, is certainly an option. This is a job role that relies as much on understanding the risks as it does on IT skills.

From these responsible and far-reaching roles, nurses can build up the leadership and decision-making skills that transfer brilliantly to a business environment.

Options for Entrepreneurial Nurses

If the developmental qualifications and job roles for advanced nurses are there, leading to vital skills and knowledge, what options exist for nurses who want to be entrepreneurs?

Private practices run by nurses

Entrepreneurial nursing doesn’t have to simply involve opening their own private practice, and providing nursing services to their community. However, this is often an appealing option for nurses who want to be their own boss.

Nurse practitioners with a DNP degree to back them up have proven clinical skills and knowledge. This enables them to have the authority and ability to do such tasks as diagnosing illnesses as well as creating and delivering treatment regimes.

They can also be instrumental in providing services to local people with chronic health conditions, delivering empathetic care as well as practical solutions that help patients to ‘live well’ with their condition.

Nurses who set up or run private practices could also focus on the health needs of a particular niche.
A great example of this is qualified midwives starting up or buying into private practices that provide services during pregnancy and beyond.

Or another illustration would be a professional nurse becoming a business administrator or the owner of a practice that provides end-of-life care, or crucial health services for hospices and care homes,

Medical spas and aesthetic treatments

Nurses who have specialized in medical topics such as dermatology or plastic surgery have a particularly good basis on which to base this kind of business venture or leadership role.

Investing in non-invasive procedures to improve such things as skin health and facial appearance is very popular. Tattoo removal and body sculpting are also among the in-demand aesthetic treatments in the US.

It is not surprising, then, that the medical spa market is predicted to grow by more than 13% between 2022-2028, reaching a value of $34bn.

Professional nurses are in a strong position to ensure that consumers who wish to engage with cosmetic procedures have their health needs met during the process. One of the most appealing aspects of this entrepreneurial option for nurses is that medical spas can be in local neighborhoods or in holiday resorts and other aspirational locations.

Home care health services

This essential health service sector could also appeal to well-qualified and experienced nurses. Consumers may be keen to spend on aesthetic treatments, but they may be even more enthusiastic about having more fundamental medical support in their own homes.

Agencies that provide homecare nursing are a vital part of the healthcare system in the US. They enable patients to stay in familiar and comforting surroundings during both temporary and long-term periods of ill health.

Some agencies provide nurses that can support a wide range of chronic conditions, or help patients with end-of-life care. Some of these home care health services focus on a particular need, such as pain management.

One big growth area in home care is assisting the elderly with tasks such as their mobility, personal hygiene and risk of social isolation. In addition, well-qualified nurses who are also business administrators have the skills and authority to offer medication management, wound care and other health-related services to people in their own home.

Running a home care health agency can make full use of the compassion and care that are embodied by nursing professionals. Someone with extensive experience of meeting patient needs is undoubtedly in a strong position to create and run businesses that treat members of their local community with dignity, respect and dedication.

Mental health support services

Nurse practitioners who have focused their career on mental health support certainly have abundant opportunities to channel their skills and knowledge in an entrepreneurial direction.

There is now a strong appreciation for the different therapies and techniques that can be used to address the mental and emotional needs of people in the US. In many cases, it is nursing professionals who help to develop and deliver a person-specific blend of these therapies and techniques.

Advanced nurses may well also be charged with monitoring and measuring the effectiveness of treatment, to support each patient towards sustainable recovery.

That could include such specialist healthcare services as support with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); substance abuse and rehabilitation; behavioral and mood disorders; and severe depression or anxiety.

Private practices that focus on the field of mental health can benefit greatly from having an advanced nurse not only leading treatment delivery, but also making sure the venture keeps pace with the latest research and patient demands.

Nurse consultants, coaches and trainers

There are many different opportunities for nurses to own and run businesses connected to providing healthcare advice and ideas too.

They include, for instance, highly qualified nurses who act as legal consultants. They can provide an important, knowledgeable service (and expert opinions) during legal cases, including testifying in courts when medical issues are relevant.

Some larger employers also bring in healthcare consultants and coaches as part of employee welfare programs. There is now a greater awareness of how important it is to invest in the mental and physical health of your workforce; not least as it reduces absenteeism and staff churn. A nurse business administrator or owner could be the perfect person to liaise with in creating bespoke health services for a specific organization and its staff.

There are also nurse-led enterprises delivering wellness advice and support within schools, colleges and the wider community.

Healthcare training is another entrepreneurial pathway for nurses. With the correct qualifications and authority, a nurse can pass on important skills to not only other healthcare professionals, but also other first responders or workplace first aid officers.

Business administrator specialties

Putting nursing knowledge and experience to good use in starting or growing a business can also result in these healthcare professionals taking on senior management roles ‘behind the scenes’.

For instance, advanced nurses can be found in decision-making teams and boardrooms at medical funding organizations. They are also working in senior medical research and writing posts within the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

Innovative telehealth organizations are also sometimes being led and run by nurses who match technology to the genuine needs of patients.

These business administration roles for nurse practitioners could draw on the ethical considerations navigated during their degree programs and working life to date.

Why would nurses start or run businesses?

Finally, it is worth exploring the reasons why a highly skilled and experienced nurse would decide to become an entrepreneur.

Nursing is a profession that is utterly bound up in a desire to help other people and make a difference to their lives. For some nurses, stepping into the world of business ensures they can amplify and expand this vocation. As business innovators and leaders, professional nurses can reach even more people, and underpin the quality and accessibility of healthcare services in the US.

However, it is fair to say altruistic motivation is not the only factor. By becoming an entrepreneurial nurse, professionals in this healthcare field have more opportunities to secure strong financial benefits and an improved work-life balance.

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