How to Know if You’re Ready to Start Your Own Practice

So you want to start your own nursing practice?

While the idea of moving away from the employer-employee model is enticing, there are several things that a nurse needs to know before hanging his or her own shingle. 

As you dream of working on your own, you also have to be practical and plan ahead. There are things you need to do, steps you need to take… to be sure that you are ready to go out on your own.


Here Are 5 Tips for Starting Your Own Nursing Practice

  1. Know the Law. The last thing you want to do when you open your own practice is get into trouble and have your dreams taken away. The legalities vary state-by-state so it is important that you do your homework. Nurse Lorie Brown, who is also a lawyer, has several great resources including nurse license practice acts and legal nursing protection.
  2. Get Specific. Nurses want to help everyone and anybody. However, in opening your own practice, you need to get specific. It is important for you to decide on what is called in business your “target market”. What specific type of patient will you treat? Which age group will you focus on? Is there a certain disease process that you want to be known for? Being able to speak specifically to your ideal client will result in more success with marketing your nursing practice.
  3. Hire Help. Sure, you may think to yourself… But I am just starting out! How will I afford to hire help? The question really becomes, how can you afford not to? Opening your own nursing practice means that you will be seeing patients all day. Doing things like emails, phone calls, scheduling, and ordering office supplies does not support your private practice. These are tasks that you need to hire assistance for so that your time is freed up to see and help patients.
  4. Create a Network. Being in business for yourself can be hard. Very hard. And it can also be lonely. You may have a question and not know where to turn. Or an issue may come up that you have not dealt with as a nurse and you may need advice. It is crucial for you to get involved with a supportive network. Find a mentor. Join a community where other nurses in business gather. The National Nurses in Business Association is an excellent resource for nurses who are thinking about going into private practice.
  5. Believe in Yourself. Sure, there are action items that you need to accomplish and steps you need to take. But the biggest barrier that I see which gets in the way of nurses starting their own practice… is the nurse themselves! You are a smart person with knowledge, skills, and drive. Set your mind on your goal and don’t look back. You can do anything that you want just as long as you believe in yourself.

Okay, let’s hear from you. What did we miss? What tip would you add to help a nurse who is looking to go into private practice? Be sure to Tweet me @ElizabethScala to let me know. Thanks for reading and feel free to share with a colleague!

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.