A recent RN study found that 50% of registered nurses consider quitting their jobs due to high stress, overwork, and burnout. The long shifts (8-12 hours a day), required overtime, and on-call emergencies lead to mental and emotional fatigue among nurse practitioners (NPs).
Despite all that, nursing provides endless opportunities for practitioners to serve and innovate – or in general, become nurse entrepreneurs.
Opening a business and relying on nursing skills and certifications is a refreshing opportunity for NPs. It not only reinvigorates your career but also maximizes your earning potential.
This guide walks you through self-employment ideas for nurses that you can start today—even with the uncertainties revolving around COVID-19.
What Kind of a Business can a Nurse Practitioners Start?
As a nurse, you can start any business relating to your skills and certifications. The key lies in recognizing the need – or turning problems into opportunities.
For example, there is a need to reduce fragmented care among patients. (As it may lead to errors and potentially dangerous drug/pharmaceuticals interactions. Fragmented care can also result in poor quality of care).
On the opposite end of this challenge lies multiple opportunities for NPs.
For instance, a nurse practitioner can provide holistic care to ease care coordination. They can also decide to provide preventive care to help people lead healthy lives. Or teach patients about self-care and disease management to help reduce the number of trips to different physicians.
The bottom line, there are endless opportunities for NPs. You only need to break free, take action, become an entrepreneur—innovate and compete.
Self-Employment Ideas for Nurse Practitioners
Whether looking for home-based businesses for nurses or ideas that let you travel to different patients in your area—there are numerous business ideas in line with your interests, schedules, and skills.
We have categorized them into five groups:
- Clinical practice opportunities,
- Consulting opportunities,
- Educational opportunities,
- Retail opportunities and,
Clinical practice business ideas
- Drug screening for legal documentation, pre-employment tests, DOT physicals, etc.
- Providing primary, wellness, and occupational care for corporate practice.
- HIV/AIDS specialty care.
- Diabetes specialty care (Or any other *chronic ailment* care).
- Alternative/holistic healthcare practice.
- Medical Spa practice (and aesthetics).
- House call practice (which can expand to include retirement facilities, daycare, hotels, worksites, and traditional homecare facilities).
- Mental health private practice.
- Mobile medical practice (Using self-contained mobile units to assist street and rural communities. Or taking “health care visits” to patient’s sites).
- Midwifery practice.
- Opening medical-based facilities such as adult family homes, hospice, continuing care, and assisted living facilities.
- Occupational practice devoted to workers’ compensation.
- Pain management practice.
- Primary care practice in homes, worksites, and other settings.
- Walk-in or urgent care clinic.
- Travel health medicine and vaccines.
- Surgical centers (with the aid of other medical professionals like CRNAs).
- Wound care specialists.
- Bladder health practice.
- Men/women’s health care practice.
Consulting business opportunities
- Bioterrorism consultant for businesses, government agencies, and healthcare agencies.
- Disaster preparation consultant for government agencies.
- Daycare consultant for specialty populations.
- Occupational health consultant.
- Infection control consultant.
- Legal nurse consultant.
- Corporate health consultant.
- Entertainment consultant (for plays, TV shows, radio, etc.).
- Case manager for life planning, geriatrics, or estate planning.
- Senior consultant for assisted living facilities or nursing homes.
- Health coach for lifestyle changes, wellness care, menopause, etc.
- Life-care manager.
- Patient care navigator.
- Fitness/exercise consultant.
- Staffing agent (connecting new NPs to job opportunities. Or connecting health facilities/providers with skilled NPs).
Educational business opportunities
- Teaching nurses (who are continuing with their education).
- Providing prep courses for licensing and certification exams.
- Training NPs specialty procedures, EKGs, ACLS, AED, etc.
- Educating the public about public health, such as CPR, childbirth, etc.
Retail business opportunities
- Opening a health and beauty spa (offering beauty skincare treatments).
- Opening a fitness facility.
- Opening a retail health clinic.
- Selling nutritional supplements and herbals (online or in-store).
- Opening a health food retail store.
Additional nursing business opportunities
- Direct marketing for health products.
- Write health-related books.
- Speak at health-based events.
- Copywriting for health-related products, services, or technologies.
- Adult daycare business.
- Personal or professional development.
- Health product development (be it toys, tools, or technologies for clinical use).
- Start an association for NPs in emerging practice niches.
Which Nurse Practitioner is Most in Demand?
We’re in an era where value-based care and healthcare cost containment is a priority. As such, the nurse practitioner is more in-demand.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the demand for the nurse practitioner to grow by 31% by 2026. This increased demand lies at the center of an increased team-based patient-centric care delivery, an aging population, and a continued shortage of primary care physicians. (Besides, employing an NP is more cost-effective than hiring a physician.)
Despite the anticipated overall high demand for nurse practitioners, some areas are more promising than others.
Female nurse visiting senior patient in her home during the COVID-19 pandemic, both are wearing masks to avoid the transfer of germs.[/caption]
A study from the Association of American Medical Colleges noted that the US could face a shortage of nearly 55,200 primary care physicians by 2032.
Without enough physicians to care for the increasing patient population, the demand for family NPs will only increase, especially for states where family nurse practitioners (FNPs) boast full practice authority.
Another factor in the high demand for FNPs is the closure of rural healthcare facilities. Between 2010 and the start of 2020, 120 rural hospitals were closed to the public. Another 453 rural health facilities are vulnerable—as concluded by a study reported in Forbes.
With nearly 20% of US citizens living in rural areas and already facing an insufficiency of doctors, there’s a high demand for FNPs to perform physicals, check-ups, etc. (For people who may otherwise have to wait for long before securing an appointment with a physician).
In March 2020, telehealth visits increased by 154% year-over-year. And as the pandemic makes virtual health visits a norm, this trend will only continue to grow.
Telehealth visits give NPs a chance to cater to patients who are facing challenges accessing health care. It also helps NPs reduce costs while allowing patients to manage some aspects of their treatment.
(Patients can access an online portal to schedule appointments, see test results, request prescription refills, and more.)
Furthermore, there’s an ongoing relaxation of rules around reimbursement for virtual healthcare visits amid the pandemic. That goes to prove how well the telehealth system can work. And form a perfect opportunity for any NP looking to tap into a patient population that’s at high risk if exposed to COVID-19. Or a population with mobility challenges.
Holistic care revolves around recognizing each patient’s unique emotional, physical, mental, environmental, and spiritual strengths & weaknesses. And the global body of evidence relating to the benefits of this type of care is growing.
A 2017 study concluded that patients of nurses who offered holistic care were more satisfied with the accessibility and quality of care. Similar inferences were made in a 2020 study involving patients with permanent colostomies.
As the demand for holistic care increase, so does the opportunities for NPs who wish to embrace it.
Following the recommendation to increase the percentage of healthcare workers holding a BSN degree by 30%, there’s a high demand for training.
That coupled with the limitations brought about by the pandemic puts online education at the forefront.
While it might be hard for an NP to provide online nursing degree programs, you can leverage the platform to offer training sessions. Think of prepping courses for nurses preparing for licensing or certification exams.
In response to the increasing use of technology in healthcare, health informatics is gaining popularity.
An NP can use the data collected by IT systems to create a collaborative environment between care providers and patients.
And as reported by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, there’s a direct positive link between the quality of care and the work of health informatics nurses. That means the field will continue to grow—creating more opportunities for you.
Demand for Geriatric specialists
America is aging.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, 20% of the US population will be 65 and above by 2025. Yet, less than 1% of RNs and 3% of advanced practice RNs are certified in Geriatric care management.
As such, there’ll be a demand for Geriatric nurses to care for the aging and ailing Baby Boomers. An opportunity for a certified Geriatric nurse to provide care in whatever settings that fits their interests.
The health needs of the US population are changing. Not only is the population aging, but also dealing with a wide range of health problems. (Think of obesity-related ailments, such as hypertension and type II diabetes).
At the same time, these patients will need more at-home care as they seek to stay clear of the healthcare system. (Or the healthcare system tries to keep them out). Hence, the need for highly specialized nurse practitioners (from psychiatry to family health) to deal with increasingly complex age-related ailments.
Rural areas and other underserved areas need more outpatient health centers with specialized NPs.
How to Choose the Best Nurse Entrepreneur Idea for You?
So there are numerous businesses ideas for nurse practitioners. However, it’s best to evaluate which idea is best for you before investing time and money.
To do so, think about the following:
Ask yourself the following question to get an understanding of what you’re good at.
- What aspects of my current job or healthcare system do I like the most?
- What aspects of my job or healthcare system do I enjoy the least?
- Do I enjoy sales?
- Is there a specific/target patient population that I enjoy/prefer to work with?
- Would I prefer activities that dealt less with people and more with administrative tasks?
- Am I good at finding solutions to existing problems?
- What activities do I enjoy and am also good at?
- What weaknesses hinder my progress at my current job?
Use the resulting answers to inform your idea selection process.
Will you work on your business idea part-time or full-time?
If you’ll implement your idea as a side hustle, which you should—to take the edge off of having to make a profit right away! Take your current nursing schedule into account.
Implementing an idea as a side business and building it into a full-time practice helps:
- Determine whether (or not) there’s sustainable demand for your products/services.
- Work through any operational or workflow issues before diving in.
If you decide to go all-in, research beforehand to determine:
- The amount of startup capital required.
- Your target market.
- The expected demand.
- And so on.
Feed your passion
Doing something that you’re passionate about is essential. As such, your business ideas should focus more on your favorite to-dos.
Selecting a business idea for a nurse practitioner that meshes with your passion will make working those long hours (a necessity when getting things off the ground) a lot easier.
But don’t rely on passion alone. The ‘ideal’ idea should mesh passion, profitability, and skills. That means factoring in the needs of your target market and ideal clientele before launching.
Strategies for Success
- Assess your readiness and skills.
- Learn the basics of running a business (business planning, legal aspects, state laws/regulations, etc.)
- Conduct market research and analysis (competitive research, choosing your target market, pricing models, etc.)
- Market your business (which involves branding, marketing financial planning, and forecasting sales, assets, and profits).
- Consult experts (Think of attorneys, business owners, accountants, marketing experts, and billing & coding experts).
- Plan for the future (including hiring employees, optimizing the customer experience, remaining relevant, embracing technology, etc.)
- Re-assess the feasibility of your business plan.
- Operationalize the plan.
For More Details, Here are Resources to Get You Started
- National Nurses in Business Association
- Nurse Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Northeastern University
- ENP Network
- Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation
- National Nurse-Led Care Consortium
- Facebook and LinkedIn Nurse/Entrepreneur/Business Groups
- National Nurse Practitioner Entrepreneur Network (NNPEN)
Create Your Business the Right Way the First Time
Opening a business and relying on nursing skills and certifications is a refreshing opportunity for NPs. It not only reinvigorates your career but also maximizes your earning potential. Fortunately, there are endless nursing business ideas—from clinical practice to retail.
To leverage the more on-demand opportunities, narrow your focus to health informatics, primary care, Geriatric care, and other highly specialized niches.
Learn more about how to leverage your skills and attracts your target audience with relative ease.