Three Reasons Why Nurses Make the Best Entrepreneurs
By Audra Hanners
“I think one's feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results.” ~Florence Nightingale
As a nurse and “nursepreneur,” I have come to learn the value of applying a business mindset in nursing practice.
Early on, I learned that my passion alone to help people was not enough; it took business acumen to truly start helping change the lives of people. By this, I mean no amount of storytelling could reach the ears of stakeholders who have a “bottom line” screaming at them every day to achieve. To clear those barriers, my mindset and my approach had to shift.
Because of my experience as an entrepreneur, I learned that when I take a business approach and lead with the value of my solution for an organization, I am more likely to receive the support needed to fulfill my passion of helping others. For example, as a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student, I obtained international and foundation grant funding to support the development of my community-based health coaching program for African American women, Keto Prescribed+.
That first success begot more opportunities for impact. I have developed rich collaborations that have led to more funding, and I am proud to serve as a Co-Investigator on Dr. Jeff Volek’s (PI) $10 million Department of Defense grant called studying Strategies to Augment Ketosis (STAK). This work is focused on enhancing military readiness and disease reversal across the metabolic spectrum, from obesity/prediabetes to Type 2 diabetes and associated complications of heart failure and chronic kidney disease.
Mine is but one story of perseverance and seeking opportunities. There are many nursepreneurs who are doing incredible things, and more are needed desperately. I firmly believe nurses make the best entrepreneurs for three simple reasons:
- We are the most trusted profession in the world. In fact, U.S. News & World Report points out that nurses “have heal the top spot in the [Gallup] poll for more than two decades.” I think trust is the most valuable currency in business.
- We are passionate and build relationships based on people, not products or services. Nurses care about people to the point where, oftentimes, we do more for them than ourselves. People care more about what you have to offer when they understand that you care about them.
- We know the problem and how to fix it. Every day, our patients tell us what they don’t like or what could be better, or we recognize what is not working (the problem). Businesses spend millions of dollars to create a trusted brand or learn what the “market” wants, yet every day, by the nature of our profession, we are freely given this valuable information. Nurses are some of the very best innovators, and when given the freedom to innovate, they can do amazing things that help patients and organizations.
To truly see transformation in healthcare on a global scale, I think more nurses must start to see within themselves the “nursepreneur” leader who has unlimited potential. So the next time you are at work:
- listen for a problem in an area you are passionate about;
- research the costs of this problem;
- start brainstorming a solution and thinking about how the skills you have now can be applied; and
- connect with your network to identify those who can support you or are moving in the same direction you want to go.
Take the advice of Les Brown: “Don’t let anyone’s opinion of you become your reality.” Don’t place limits on yourself. You can transform the lives of others around you starting right where you are now.
Audra Hanners, DNP, APRN-CNP, FNP-C, PMHNP-BC, CKNS is an assistant clinical professor at The Ohio State University College of Nursing and a dually certified family and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. She is the creator of Keto Prescribed+ program and of founder of Community Care Coaching, LLC.
Testimonials from participants in the Keto Prescribed+ program:
"Awesome program! I would not be where I am today without learning and support from this program. I would love to continue if the study turns into an actual program. Expanding to encompass the family would be extremely effective. Thank you Audra and team!"
"I actually enjoyed being a part of the program. I enjoyed having a base to come and talk to. That's the one part I wish would continue even if only bi-monthly and online. I have a terrible habit of losing sight of things where I am not required to check in. I'm going to do my best though. Thanks to all. Everyone was encouraging and insightful."
"I love the program and look forward to learning more and making it a lifestyle. I wished it was longer with a definite program to follow with the participants that was shared in "phases" such as Intro to Keto, Understanding macros, Meal planning and prepping, etc."