The 4 Best Business Tips… For Nurses!

dec-np-blog-postBefore you say to yourself, “This post is not for me- I have no desire to go into business-” Stop! Just because you do not see yourself as a nurse entrepreneur or opening a business, you are in the right place.

This post is for any nurse. Every nurse. And even nursing students.

As much as we know that we went into our nursing careers to do one thing- provide quality care for patients- nurses need to be business savvy. Why is that? Well, think about the organization you work at. If they did not receive payment and make money, then they would have to close their doors. Even a non-profit needs to think like a business.

Businesses that do not make money do what? That is right- they go out of business.

So even though, as nurses, we put the patient and their health before anything else- we need to be at least aware of business practices. And- we can actually use business tips to further our careers!

Here Are the 4 Best Business Tips… For Nurses!

  1. Differentiate Yourself. Nurses like to do it all. We are great at finding a work-around and volunteer ourselves for everything. Ever notice that many of the same nurses are sitting on almost every committee? Instead of trying to be and do it all- specialize. Differentiate yourself from the crowd. Because guess what? Your job is no longer guaranteed. These days of changing healthcare environments mean that organizations have been taken over by others. Doors of hospitals have been shut. Businesses have been closed. To be able to market yourself and stand out from the crowd you have to have something new, different, and specific to offer that no one else can. Become expert in one area- whether that is research, education, informatics, or policy- among others. Get very clear on your passions and do what you love. Focus in a more narrow way to stand apart from the rest.
  2. Network. Network. Network. And network some more. A good business owner builds quality relationships that last over time. Same thing with any nurse or nursing student. Even if you do not see yourself in business, you will need to rely on people from time-to-time. The saying really does hold truth, “It’s not what you know… it’s who you know.” A colleague of mine has been struggling to find a new job. I mean struggling. I asked her if she could find someone who might know someone where she is looking to move to. Trouble is- she does not know anyone there yet! So, in order to prepare ahead of time, you can start online. Networking can be done via LinkedIn. Or by leaving comments on blogs or videos. By listening to podcasts and reaching out to hosts and guests. By interacting with people at conferences, via association memberships, or on local boards. Your nursing career does not have to end at the job you are currently in. You can continue to find opportunities in nursing by adding more and more people to your contact list.
  3. Get Good with Money. There is still a gender disparity in nursing when it comes to money. Men make about $5K more than women in nursing. Is this because we still are uncomfortable talking about money? Well guess what? To be a business owner- you have to get good with money… and fast. Or else, you’re out of business and on your you know what! Same goes for nurses working in some type of clinical or academic job. You need to be aware of your relationship to money and how it impacts you. Are you comfortable with money? Do you enjoy it? Do you save and plan for the future or spend away, needing to constantly pick up overtime? Money mindset is an important thing to reflect on. And it is something that all nurses- not just nurses in business- need to be mindful of.
  4. Take Care of You. Sure, the self-care card. But guess what? If a nurse entrepreneur is not taking care of him or herself, he or she will not have the energy to show up in business. If a nurse business owner works ALL of the time, then they will likely burnout and be unable to sustain the work. Same goes for any nurse or nursing student- no matter where they work. You need to balance your non-nursing life with your nursing career. Have hobbies outside of the workplace. Tap into relationships with loved ones for downtime. Enjoy healthy activities and adventurous trips. Experience life outside of nursing so that when you show up to your nursing career you can be the best nurse possible!

Do you currently use any business practices as a nurse? What tips can you share with other nurses? Be sure to tweet me @ElizabethScala on Twitter to tell me about the business tips you use as a nurse.

Elizabeth Scala

Keynote speaker and bestselling author, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Nurse’s Week ‘Art of Nursing’ program, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver.Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and a playful pit bull.