internally generated cash flow. Entrepreneurship is a process, where opportunities are created or seized, regardless of the status quo. This is in contrast to intrapreneurship, where a program is developed within an existing business.
What are the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur? The common notion of an entrepreneur is one of a solo person developing business ideas in isolation. Seldom is this the case. Byers, Kist, and Sutton (1) note that the successful entrepreneur must be a highly social creature, since, “Building a company entails hiring, organizing, and inspiring a collection of people who typically need to get start-up funds from others, to buy things from other people, and, ultimately, flourish or fail together as a result of the ability to sell things to yet another group of people.” When I read this passage, I reflect on what a great preparation being a NP is for the emerging entrepreneur. For most of us, our professional careers have involved working with groups (patients, families, coworkers), motivating and “selling” these groups a common goal (a given patient care outcome), usually while doing this with limited resources! We are accustomed to working in and leading teams, an important business skill. Fitzgerald Health Education Associates, Inc. has succeeded because of the incredibly hard work and dedication of our staff and my collaboration with my husband and business partner Marc Comstock
Additional characteristics common to both the astute NP and successful entrepreneur include being organized, having the capacity to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, and the ability to handle conflict, while tolerating risk, ambiguity, and uncertainty. The entrepreneur and practicing NP must be creative, self-reliant, able to adapt, and motivated to excel.
I am privileged to know a number of NP entrepreneurs. Here are their words of advice for all NPs considering an entrepreneurial venture . “You can own your own practice and do well. It's hard. The business learning curve is huge. But anything worth having is worth working for.”
Susan Matthews, APRN-BC, C-WOCN, Owner, Bluegrass Regional Healthcare, Inc.,
“I believe that we cannot give away what we do and must present ourselves as real ‘players’ in health care. To do so, we must understand business and the business of health care. All the good intentions in the world are for naught if the practice does not survive.”
Harriet Hellman, PNP, FAAN, Successful pediatric practice on Long Island
‘Tell NPs they must have networks planned out, be confident of their product, know the market and be willing to put a reasonable price on their product-don't be ‘nurse-minded’ and sell it cheap!”
Jean Aertker, MS, ARNP, COHN-S, Tampa Occupational Healthservices
“I've done it for my employers. Now I'm ready to do it for me.”
Heidi Welch, Opening practice in rural Oregon while practicing part-time in a local ED
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