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Nursing and Entrepreneurship: Perfect Together


Newsletter Articles


Donna Cardilla

Business ownership is part of the American dream. And why not? It provides the opportunity to be your own boss, make your own hours, and have creative freedom, flexibility of time, and unlimited earning potential. And while the concept of “business” is foreign to many nurses, we actually make great entrepreneurs.

One Nurse’s Story

Years ago, I had a job where I was forced to give a lot of presentations. Believe it or not, I was a reluctant public speaker — like everyone else. But I began to get some positive feedback from those who heard me speak. After hearing two terrific speakers, one of whom was a nurse, I aspired to someday become a professional speaker. I began to think about someday developing a seminar for nurses in which I would discuss nontraditional career opportunities, and give information about how to find and get those jobs.

After sitting on the idea for 10 years, when I finally started to break down the barriers in my mind that told me what I shouldn’t or couldn’t do, I decided to go for it. This was in the early ’90s, a time when nurses were being laid off from their jobs for the first time in the history of our profession. I knew the time would never be more right to take my show on the road. I also knew that if I didn’t do it, someone else would, and I’d be kicking myself for years to come. I made a decision and a commitment to start my own business, become a professional speaker, and develop a full-day seminar for nurses — Career Alternatives for Nurses®.

Other nurses often say to me, “But Donna, you don’t understand. I have such fear about moving forward.” I understand more than you could ever imagine. In the last 20 years I have experienced fear, the likes of which I had never experienced in my life. I discovered that fear is always part of the equation when trying something new or taking a risk. Rather than waiting for the fear to dissipate or letting it become an obstacle, I learned to move forward in spite of it. I noticed it would start to subside after I did something for the first time or mastered a new skill. That is, until I had to try something else. I also learned that the bigger the goal, the bigger the fear. Talk about stepping out of your comfort zone!

The Right Stuff

Nurses have what it takes to be successful in business. We’re smart, think on our feet, have excellent communication skills, are good listeners, and are versatile and adaptable. We’re hard working, ethical, and totally customer-service oriented. We’re even good salespeople. Every time you have to convince a patient to adhere to a regimen or follow up on some tests, you’re selling! We possess a great body of knowledge and experience that is marketable, valuable, and in demand.

Here are some examples of businesses other nurses are operating: CPR and AED training and certification; Geriatric Care Manager; Health and Wellness Coach; Legal Nurse Consultant; Nurse Massage Therapist; Adult Day Services Owner/Manager; Leadership Consultant; Medical Writer.


National Nurses in Business Association www.nnbanow.com

How to Start Your Own Business or Consulting Practice 5-CD/manual set www.DonnaCardillo.com

Donna Cardillo, RN, CSP is The Inspiration Nurse. Her latest book is Falling Together: How to Find Balance, Joy, and Meaningful Change When Your Life Seems to be Falling Apart.


National Alliance for the Advancement of Haitian Professionals

NAAHP is focused on connecting a global community of peers with career advancement resources as well as fostering transformative relationships to strengthen Haiti through philanthropy and social entrepreneurship.

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