The important role that nurses play in our society cannot be overstated. From their bedside manner to their deep medical understanding, nurses have long been the backbone of our health care system. Now, many nurses are transitioning to a new and influential role: nurse entrepreneur.

With unique insight into what the health care industry needs, nurse entrepreneurs can create businesses that help patients and nurses. Many nurses have successfully made the shift from practicing nursing to running a business, and their nursing skills play a big role in their ability to perform well.

WHAT EXACTLY IS A NURSE ENTREPRENEUR?

Nurse entrepreneurs apply their nursing backgrounds and professional experiences to create businesses in the health care industry. Much like other entrepreneurs, they identify a need in the marketplace and conceptualize and build a business that fills that need. They may offer independent nursing services, such as patient care or consulting, or create and sell medical devices or home health care products. Others take on writing or coaching roles.

Just like any entrepreneur, nurse entrepreneurs usually take on a great deal of risk because starting a company always comes with the possibility of financial loss. They may have to work to find investors and experts to help them successfully launch their business.

The Nurse Buff blog has recommended identifying a problem in the health care field that you have the skills to fill, creating a business idea to help alleviate the problem, identifying your target market and studying your competition before you start a nursing business. In short, like any person launching a business, nurse entrepreneurs should carefully research and consider their moves to ensure they bring the right product or service to the right audience.

It will take long hours and undoubtedly some setbacks to get the business off the ground. Entrepreneurship is no easy task, but nurses seem to be up for the challenge. In fact, for many nurses, entrepreneurship helps them avoid nurse burnout and apply their skills in new and exciting ways. Whatever the specific nurse entrepreneur idea, it’s easy to see how nursing skills can help professionals easily transition to running a business.

TRANSLATING A NURSING BACKGROUND TO BUSINESS

Research based on data from Census Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service between 2007 and 2014 revealed that entrepreneurs were 125% more successful if they had previous jobs, especially in the field where they were starting a business. That means, nurses have a good chance of succeeding when launching nursing related businesses given their background in the health care field.

Many nursing skills translate nicely into entrepreneurship. Outside of all the scientific knowledge nurses must possess, they also have a plethora of skills they use in their professional nursing careers that help them transition perfectly into the entrepreneur role. Here are a few:

COMMUNICATION

Nurses must be able to communicate with professionals and patients from a wide range of backgrounds daily. This helps them when they start a business because they’re able to connect easily with various stakeholders and customers.

ORGANIZATION

Nurses learn to be incredibly organized because their patients’ well-being depends on it. These organizational skills make them incredible business leaders who can keep track of many moving pieces.

ADAPTABILITY

Nursing and entrepreneurship are similar in how they throw curveballs constantly. Nurses have to think on their feet and adapt quickly, traits that allow them to be successful business owners.

INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE

Nurses have been on the front lines of the health care industry and understand it in a way that outsiders simply can’t compete with. As mentioned above, this experience makes them exceptionally prepared to be successful entrepreneurs.

PERSEVERANCE

Long shifts, tough situations and the drive to help others give nurses perseverance that is hard to match. Nurses know that challenges will be put in their path, and they’re skilled at finding ways to overcome them. This is an admirable trait in an entrepreneur.

BUILD YOUR NURSING SKILLS

A great step to consider when making the transition from nursing to business is expanding your horizons in the classroom. Furthering your education with a bachelor’s degree can give you experiences that you can apply to both your nursing career and future business ventures.

EXPLORE DEGREE

These are just a fraction of the skills nurses have that help them make incredible entrepreneurs. Their skills coupled with their unique insight into the health care industry have helped many nurses create unique and useful businesses.

SUCCESSFUL NURSE ENTREPRENEUR IDEAS

Nurses are on the front lines of health care. That’s why they’re able to create ideas that positively affect the industry. Here are a few successful nurse entrepreneurs.

SHARON ROGONE, SMALL BEGINNINGS, INC.

Sharon Rogone worked as a NICU nurse in the 1980s. In that job, she made many makeshift tools when what was provided wasn’t right for tiny babies, some under two pounds. With just $2,000 in her pocket, she started Small Beginnings, Inc. The company makes products specifically designed for premature infants, such as diapers, positioning solutions and pacifiers. Since its founding in 1981, the company has grown significantly into a huge operation. Sharon and her products were added to the Smithsonian archives in 2008.

KEITH CARLSON, NURSE KEITH COACHING

Keith Carlson became a nurse in the mid-1990s. He worked in various specialties and leadership roles before becoming a nurse entrepreneur. He now helps other nurses navigate their nursing careers with his career coaching business, hosts a podcast called The Nurse Keith Show, and works as a freelance writer while maintaining his blog called Digital Doorway.

ANTHONY BATTAGLIA, POCKET NURSE

Former nurse Anthony Battaglia saw a need in the nursing realm in terms of simple organization. In 1992, he developed Pocket Nurse. At the time of its founding, Pocket Nurse offered one product, a pocket organizer that included bandage scissors, a hemostat, an integrated penlight and a nameplate. Now, the company offers more than 5,600 products including nursing simulation tools and medical supply solutions.

MELISSA GERSIN, TRANQUILO

As a maternity nurse and certified infant crying specialist, Melissa Gersin often saw new parents struggling with colicky babies. She felt it was her life’s mission to help these parents overcome the challenges of the newborn days. Her invention, the Tranquilo mat, mimics a mother’s womb with vibrations and white noise. Tranquilo launched on Shark Tank in 2017, and the company has sold tens of thousands of mats since.

These nurses are just a few of the professionals who identified a need and used their nursing background to turn that need into a profitable business. Today, more and more nurses are discovering that they can make a difference not just in the health care community, but in the business world, as well.

HOW TO BECOME A NURSE ENTREPRENEUR

There’s no clear path to becoming a nurse entrepreneur. While most nurse entrepreneurs hold multiple nursing degrees and have extensive professional experience, each nurse entrepreneur’s path will be different, and that’s to be expected. The important thing is to be thoughtful in your approach.

A great step to consider when making the transition from nursing to business is expanding your horizons in the classroom. Furthering your education with a bachelor’s degree can give you experiences that you can apply to both your nursing career and future business ventures. Notre Dame of Maryland University’s online RN to BSN program allows you to develop the skills you need to enhance your nursing career, whether in a health care setting or entrepreneurship. Plus, we help you do it quickly. Most students complete their online program in 15 to 18 months.

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