The field of healthcare has certainly been experiencing great change over the last decade. As care moves out of hospitals, back into the community setting, nurses are finding themselves in new and different roles. Many of these shifts come with great excitement, as a nurse gets to use a brand new skill-set. However, understandably so, there are some stresses that come along with this care delivery change.

Entrepreneurial Tips for the Clinical SettingNurses are often expert at the clinical things- taking care of patients, educating families, and advocating for communities. Yet, what about the business of nursing? That’s right- I said it. The business of nursing. Let’s be honest. As my dear colleague, Kevin Ross often says: “Money is the blood (or is it oxygen, Kevin) of any business. Without it the business fails.”

Now I know we as nurses don’t like to think of our work as a ‘business’, but guess what? If we don’t at least start to entertain this line of thinking, we are going to be left in the dust as healthcare evolves light years ahead of our profession.

Being that I myself am a business owner (others may call this ‘nurse entrepreneur’), I like to think I know a thing or two about business strategy. I also read articles, listen to podcasts, and learn from business coaches- so let me share with you a few tips to applying some business-like concepts in the clinical nursing work space.

  1. Keep your clinical focus, while you reach out for help. So, often as nurses, we work in a ‘lone ranger’ approach. You know the ‘I’m fine’, ‘I don’t need help’ mindset. Well, those days are OUT my friend! Especially as the pace of healthcare quickens. There are going to be more bells to silence, more alarms to tend to, and more notifications to close out. In this article, clinical nurse educator Marcie Ludwig, BSN, RN, CPEN, talks about how to keep up with skills in the clinical setting. While the article is speaking to patient-care work, the suggestions she offers apply in the business world. Reaching out and asking for support is one of the best ways for a business owner (now, clinical nurse) to thrive. They cannot do everything themselves. In fact, that is a waste of time (and money)! So, nurses- do as those in business do- ask for help and take it from time-to-time.
  2. Prioritize and be OK with letting go. Dr. Jain, Chief Medical Officer of the CareMore Health System, writes about the skills nurses need to be effective executives. One thing I enjoyed best in this article was the notion that prioritization is crucial. There are always going to be multiple people, things, or emails (really?) vying for your attention. There is no way to get to it all at once. A good executive- just as in business- has to be able to juggle this all without dropping the balls! Dr. Jain talks about the trade off and fact that some things will just have to be let go of. Well, we have to be savvy thinkers (with a business mindset) to know which aspects can be delegated and which need to be tended to by us as the nurse.
  3. You Must Stick to Your Values. A business owner can be tempted by the almighty dollar. What’s the next big thing that will cut me a paycheck? Or how can I land this gig at a higher price? Sure, money is needed to stay afloat- yet, it is not to be the only focus of the business owner. We can take this suggestion and apply it in our clinical work as nurses. This article on finding moral courage, written by Jennifer Thew, talks about doing the right thing- even when it’s tough. Just as a business owner has to make difficult decisions to keep his or her business alive, the nurse must do so. And, I would add, must have the courage -as Jennifer suggests- to speak up to others when our values are challenged or care has been compromised. A nurse can think like a business leader- take charge and invest their whole self into the work that they believe in!

What did we miss? I’d love to hear how you can apply nurse entrepreneurial tactics in the clinical setting in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RN; Founder of Nursing from WithinAbout the Author: As a keynote speaker, bestselling author and virtual conference host, Elizabeth partners with hospitals, organizations, associations, and nursing groups to help transform the field of nursing from the inside out. During the National Nurse’s Week online conference, ‘The Art of Nursing‘, Elizabeth supports nurses in achieving professional goals of continued learning and development. Click here to find out more about how The Art of Nursing appreciates and celebrates our profession in a meaningful way.

Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RN

“I’m a Nurse, but I’m Not Sure I LOVE Nursing Anymore! Can You Help Me?”


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