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Are you a nurse pursuing an entrepreneur or business opportunity? Nursing is unique. It can prepare you to become a nurse entrepreneur and open doors to business. Nurses develop strong critical thinking, communication, time management, organizational, and conflict resolution skills. Each is crucial in business management.
With November being National Entrepreneurship Month, now is the perfect time to explore your options as a nurse. We'll explore 20 entrepreneurial and business ideas for nurses that fit well with a nurse's skill set. If you've been thinking about moving away from bedside nursing but still want to use your education and skills, consider some of the following options.
Business Ideas for Nurse Entrepreneurs
Over 20 U.S. states now give full-practice authority to nurse practitioners (NPs). The idea of opening your own private practice may have crossed your mind if you live in one of these states. However, that is just one of many ways nurses can use their skills in business.
There are several options open to nurses such as consulting, coaching, and education. These business ideas for nurses are for those who want to explore their entrepreneurial spirit.
1. Private Practice
In nearly half the states in the U.S., NPs have full-practice authority. This means that NPs have full authority to order and evaluate testing, diagnose conditions, and treat patients. This improves patient access to healthcare, reduces costs, and streamlines care.
NPs who want to practice independently must practice in one of the full-practice authority states. You will need strong clinical, diagnostic, and business skills to maintain and grow your practice. It is important to start with a business plan that identifies every detail, including:
- Insurance strategies
- Start-up capital
- Focus of your practice
- National provider identifier
- Malpractice insurance
Many see setting up the practice, billing challenges, and governmental oversight as disadvantages to owning your own practice. However, you can balance that against choosing treatment, such as holistic nursing, that might fit your patient's needs and being in control of the growth and expansion of your practice.
2. Nurse Freelancer
A nurse freelancer works under a short-term contract with a healthcare organization. They can find their own clients or work through an agency. Nurse freelancers may work in a hospital, clinic, doctor's office, or home healthcare company. But the options are not limited to healthcare. Nurses with skills from other degrees or hobbies can earn additional money. For example, nurse freelancers may teach dance classes, sell photography, teach a foreign language, or be wellness coaches.
Nurses must have strong organizational and time management skills. These skills help give you the freedom to be your own boss and the flexibility to set your schedule. Most nurses also find there are more out-of-pocket costs than having a full-time job. There is also less job security, and other challenges that come with running your own business.
3. Medical Spa
A medical spa is a facility within a medical practice that provides aesthetic treatments under the care of a licensed healthcare provider. Treatments often include noninvasive options to rejuvenate the skin and body. You may also open a practice with a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
After graduating from an NP program, nurses need experience and training with a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. They may then seek certification from the Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board. Courses are available through the American Association of Aesthetic Medicine and Surgery and International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine.
4. Homecare Agency
The home health sector is a fast-growing industry. As one of the largest generations ages and retires, they require care at home. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 60% of adults have at least one chronic disease and 40% have two or more.
In 2019, the home health industry supported the employment of 1.4 million people to meet the needs of the 71.2 million baby boomers who required care. Nurses who want to start their own agency will require a business plan, employer ID number, funding, and a state license.
Nurses will need strong business skills as they will likely be running the business and not providing care as a home health nurse themselves. The earning potential is an advantage. The rising cost of equipment and difficulty seeking payment from Medicare and Medicaid can be challenging. In the beginning, you may need to take on much of the day-to-day aspects of running the business, along with your overall business goals.
5. Cannabis Agency
As researchers learn more about the body's endocannabinoid system, cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) oil are becoming more important in treating several health conditions. Nurses have a distinct advantage of understanding the health benefits of CBD oil, including:
- Pain management
There are several options for nurses who want to help their clients with CBD. They may open a medical marijuana shop, sell CBD oil, educate the public on the benefits, or combine a love for cooking with baking cannabis products.
Like other business ventures, nurses must have strong business skills, good customer relations and communication skills, and a knowledge of the local regulations.
6. Intravenous Infusions
Nurses can be certified as intravenous (IV) infusion nurses. IV nurses are experts in the administration of medications and fluids. They may use an IV line, central line, or catheter. As more patients seek care at home, the need for these professionals on an outpatient basis is growing.
Nonhospital use of IV hydration is becoming more popular. It is used to administer vitamins, hydration, and treatment to increase energy or improve skin quality. There are opportunities to open your own business or join a franchise business dedicated solely to the administration of IV hydration.
There are advantages to joining a franchise as you start with a recognizable name and support. However, you are limited to using the franchise suppliers' products and the services the franchise allows. If you choose to open your own company, you'll need to:
- Find funding
- Create a business plan
- Apply for licenses and permits
- Build your team
- Get malpractice insurance for your providers
7. Content Editing Business
Being a nurse writer or content editing is a fast, affordable business you can start from home. It is easiest to get started by targeting a specific market. For instance, nurses who need a refresher on grammar, punctuation, and writing may consider an online course. Nurses also have an in-depth knowledge of medical jargon and physiology, which lends to medical, health, and wellness writing.
It's important to familiarize yourself with several style guides, such as APA, MLA, and the Chicago Manual of Style. You must also determine what you will charge for your services. It would be best to establish yourself as a business for tax purposes, permits, and marketing plans. You might consider applying for posted jobs to get testimonials from satisfied clients before pitching companies on your services.
8. Legal Nurse Consultant
Nurses must hold an active registered nurse (RN) license in the state where they practice to be legal nurse consultants. These professionals analyze and evaluate documentation and testimony to offer a medical opinion on the delivery of healthcare and patient outcomes. They may also determine the nature and cause of documented injuries. The legal nurse consultant assesses if healthcare guidelines were followed during care.
Nurses must have strong nursing skills in documentation, communication, and critical thinking. To sit for the certification examination by the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC), a nurse must have 2,000 hours of clinical experience. The AALNC offers a review course to help pass the 200 multiple-choice exam.
This business idea for nurses requires little start-up costs and may be done from the comfort of your home as a remote RN job. However, nurses must maintain their license and certification and do their own marketing to find clients.
9. Specialized Care Provider
Nurse entrepreneurs can become specialized care providers inside an organization and then serve clients in their own business. For example, nurses with extensive experience in breastfeeding can become certified lactation counselors. They help new parents successfully breastfeed their infants.
After working as a labor and delivery nurse, a nurse may get additional training as a doula versus a midwife. Nurses who focus on health and wellness may choose to practice holistic or alternative medicine or help clients with stress reduction.
In each case, the specialized care provider must have a background in business management, good communication skills, and a drive to help their clients. Most of these businesses require little overhead. However, these are typically not 9-to-5 businesses, so you must be prepared for calls or patient visits any time of the day or night.
10. Independent Massage Therapy
Massage therapists must have a deep knowledge of human anatomy. Nurses who want to start their own massage therapy business have the advantage of experience and knowledge of the human body. A massage therapy program can take up to 15 months to complete. Community colleges usually offer these programs. To become certified, ensure the state accredits the program.
The state requirements for practical experience vary among states. After your education is complete, you may be required to take a state licensing exam or the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination. In some states, it may also be necessary to be certified to practice as a massage therapist.
Nurses must have a dedicated structure for their clients. The business requires communication skills, strong upper body strength, and endurance.
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The practice of acupuncture requires a strong foundation in anatomy and physiology. Acupuncture uses a unique system to stimulate specific points on the body to improve health and reduce illness. It is one of the most researched complementary and alternative medicine practices.
The minimum education required is an accredited master's acupuncture program. Most states also require a certification examination. National board certification also confirms a certain skill level and knowledge needed for a successful practice.
Nurses must have a place to treat patients, equipment, malpractice insurance, and billing procedures. Nurse acupuncturists may work collaboratively with other healthcare practitioners.
12. Wellness Coach
Opportunities for health and wellness coaches are growing. More people are seeking out education and motivation to make lifestyle changes that impact their health. Health and wellness coaches work with nutritionists, fitness coaches, and complementary healthcare professionals to improve health. Clients may hire a wellness coach to help them lose weight, reduce stress, quit smoking, or achieve a better work-life balance.
Nurses must complete a minimum number of hours of education and experience. To be board certified, you must graduate from an accredited program. Wellness coaches must have strong assessment and communication skills. The practice focuses on education, motivation, and communication with clients.
Wellness coaches can work online, over the phone, or in person. How you choose to interact with clients determines your overhead expenses.
13. Yoga Instructor
Yoga is rooted in Indian philosophy. However, in the U.S. it typically emphasizes physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. Evidence shows that this complementary strategy can help people quit smoking, reduce stress, relieve menopausal symptoms, and lose weight.
The move to practicing and teaching yoga is popular among holistic nurses whose focus is on using more natural practices to maintain and improve health. Yoga instruction programs range from 200-500 hours, depending on your goal as an instructor.
Although certification is not required to practice, it does offer you the benefit of teaching in a studio space. As a certified instructor, you may teach private classes, in a studio, open your own studio, or teach online.
14. Medical or Pharmaceutical Product Sales
Medical equipment and pharmaceutical sales representatives are always in high demand. Many sales reps work on commission, which means that while they sell for a specific company, their salary is based on commission.
These reps sell medical supplies, equipment, or pharmaceuticals to doctors, clinics, facilities, and hospitals. It is their job to contact customers, answer questions, explain the product features, and negotiate the final sale. Pharmaceutical sales reps must become a certified national pharmaceutical representative. Once you've decided on your specialization, it's important to get relevant experience. For example, if you are interested in psychiatric pharmaceutical sales, you'll want to get an internship and shadow a sales rep in that market.
Nurses working in pharmaceutical or medical sales must be experts at networking, communication, sales, and marketing. This business idea for nurses offers you the opportunity to grow your network independently and develop your sales skills.
15. Nurse Health Tutor
Were you a whiz at writing care plans? Can you list many of the body's over 200 bones off the top of your head? Do you understand the relationship between the gut and the brain? You may be fully qualified to become a nurse or health tutor working from home. Nursing students and other students struggling with health concepts look for tutors who can help them learn.
Nurses who want to work as tutors may work for tutoring companies, colleges or universities, or independently. Nurse tutors must have strong communication skills and love nurse teaching. They have patience with their students. Nurse tutors should also have a sound invoicing system. The initial start-up costs and overhead are low. Nurses who work independently must also develop their own marketing strategies.
16. Nurse Influencer
Nurses are already influencers in their immediate circle of friends and family. You likely have been asked several questions about health and wellness. You can also use social media platforms to influence many others in their efforts to seek health and wellness.
One paper in the Nursing Forum describes a nurse influencer this way: "A nurse influencer is a nurse who has a platform to affect change through demonstrating integrity, a dedication to learning, and excellent communication of ideas and information."
You need a professional profile on the social media platforms of your choice, such as Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, or YouTube. It's easier to establish yourself on one platform before adding another. Nurses can make money on these platforms after building their followers. The more followers you have, the more likely you are to land advertising or sponsorship gigs.
It would help if you enjoyed writing because you'll be doing that every day. Nurse influencers must also network with other influencers and either guest post on their blogs or appear in their podcasts or videos. The start-up costs are minimal and may include the cost of hosting a blog or a good microphone for podcasts and videos.
17. Childbirth Educator or Doula Services
Nurses who are childbirth educators or provide a doula service are involved in education before birth and are often present during delivery. After spending at least two years on a maternity unit, you may be interested in furthering your education and services. This allows you to branch out and work independently of hospitals and clinics.
The International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) has a certified professional childbirth educator and birth doula program. It verifies that you have the necessary knowledge and skill to carry out pregnancy, labor, and delivery procedures. Parents, childbirth educators, and doulas have to make informed decisions, such as deciding between at-home births versus hospital births.
A doula offers continuous physical, emotional, and educational support to a woman before, during, and after childbirth but not clinical support. Candidates have to apply for the certification examination within two years of completing the ICEA certification program.
18. Health Blogger
A nurse is in a unique position of being able to share health information with clients, friends, family, and the general public. There is no additional certification or education necessary to be a health blogger. However, you must share accurate, evidence-based information.
In the beginning, it may be easier to put your blog on a site, such as WordPress, but the company may take down your content without notice. It is best to purchase a host site with a company and own your URL outright. This offers more protection as you grow your audience. You can make money as your audience increases by advertising products to your readers.
Health bloggers must have good writing and communication skills, have an interest in researching their topic, and a focus on learning marketing skills. Nurse entrepreneurs may choose to be health bloggers alongside another health and wellness business option as it is not a full-time job. However, it's important to note that it can take months to build your audience and make money from your efforts.
19. Public Speaker
When you want to be a public speaker, it makes sense to take purposeful steps to lead you to your goal. Define and refine your message and then decide how you'll tell it. Popular public speakers are engaging, entertaining, and know how to tell a good story. It's stories that keep people captivated and more likely to learn from your content. Nurses have a lot of good stories to tell (leaving out patient names, of course!).
You'll need to be comfortable speaking in front of groups of people or on camera. If your audience is allowed to ask questions, you'll need to think quickly about your answers. Public speaking usually involves traveling, and you must have a professional website. Public speakers network easily and are comfortable marketing their services.
20. Nurse Author or Historian
Nurses who contribute content to articles, blogs, historical books, or movie scripts about healthcare are in high demand. Healthcare is constantly evolving and changing. Television and movie scriptwriters need healthcare consultants to ensure they get the information right.
You may fact-check medical details in books, articles, or videos to accurately represent the nurses' role. If you have editorial training, your skills may be used to ensure the final manuscript represents the nursing skills and culture of the period.
Nurse authors and historians can also use their knowledge to contribute to articles and blogs, maintain their own blogs, or write books and scripts about nursing. Nurse authors must have an active RN license to use the credential. If you have retired your license, you can use your degree to signify your education.
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