Becoming a Nurse Entrepreneur Is Easier With the Right Mentor

Content courtesy of Verizon.

I was good at caring for people. I had practiced it for years as a young girl.

Jennifer Crowley, RN

Playing pretend using my favorite soft chair, which unfolded to a small bed, along with my grandfather’s empty prescription bottles, I was always the nurse. I would make sure the “office” looked tidy and the patient was ready to be cared for. I loved playing nurse.

There was no other career choice for me — although I had considered some alternatives, like veterinary medicine or something to do with plants. Funny how it seemed to always be about nurturing someone or something. But I always came back to nursing. Having an aunt who was a nurse helped me know I was headed in the right direction.

A younger nurse might not know it now, but the more experienced nurses who help teach, support, and empower them are the lifeblood of nursing and one of the most important factors for longevity and success in nursing. These mentors may even be outside of nursing, and that’s okay. Unfortunately, we don’t always have access to the role models and mentors we need, but I did.

Where To Buy Scrubs and Tougher Questions

Nurses often start out at the bedside in the acute care setting, and I was no different. I began my career just outside of Detroit, Michigan, working in the intensive care step-down unit at a small hospital before eventually moving to surgical intensive care at the Detroit Medical Center. I was fortunate to have seasoned nurses around me who answered my patient care questions and my more trivial questions, such as how to stay awake on the night shift and the best place to buy scrubs.

Working long shifts in bedside nursing was good in many ways. It allowed me several days off in a row for chores and errands and to spend time with my babies. Yet, I began to envision a future that included greater flexibility and autonomy — one which didn’t involve bargaining with others to switch weekends or cover my holiday shift. I wanted to be my own boss.

Crunching Numbers, Facing Fears

After nearly 15 years of acute care nursing, I started working toward my goal of being a nurse entrepreneur. I met other nurses who did consulting work in compensation case management, legal nurse consulting, and life care planning. A few of them took me under their wings and opened my eyes to the realm of possibilities. From then on, I decided I wanted to use my nursing expertise to help clients in their homes and assist stakeholders like attorneys and insurers.

As it turns out, it’s hard to start a business while working full time and raising a family. I knew little about business and would’ve preferred to skip over all the pesky details like budgets, taxes, and liability insurance. But I realized that growing my business wouldn’t depend solely on my nursing expertise, but on learning from other business owners.

I was good at …read more

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