Why Being A NursePreneur Saved My Life

Recently I did a video on why I started NursePreneurs, my business that helps nurses to monetize their expertise by putting it into a profitable business model. You can check out the video below, it’s short but powerful.

Why? Because it’s the real motivation behind becoming a NursePreneur. Yes everyone likes money, freedom and doing whatever they feel like, but those are the true attributes of owning your own business.

You see, I started NursePreneurs because I was angry and burnt out. I had climbed the ladder in healthcare and it was a dead end as far as I could tell. I just didn’t know what I wanted, and all I was finding out in healthcare was what I didn’t want.

For instance, I didn’t want to be stagnant, underappreciated, the most senior and most knowledgeable, or stuck in a rut. The problem was, I was all of those things in my various positions as a nurse.

I started out as a night nurse in a tiny hospital in South Texas. Within a few months, I was already bored, so I moved to Houston to work in Neurocritical care. After a few years of that, I became a neurosurgery nurse practitioner. I worked the floor, the outpatient, the ICU, the ED and I even got to operate with the neurosurgeons. I was lucky to have the kind of variety that I did, because I see a lot of other nurse practitioners who are pigeon-holed into a role.

However, I too was eventually pigeon-holed into the ICU role. Management didn’t like that I had so many different roles, so they forced me to choose one. I did. And that is when it all began to fall apart for me.

Here I was 10 years into my career and now I was reporting patient updates to the first year intern, who would say things like: “that’s not how we do things here” in regards to my clinical decisions.

Fortunately, for me I was offered a corporate job as a Senior Manager for Talent Acquisition and Professional Relations at the Walmart Care Clinics. I was very excited about taking this position and getting out of the hospital system. I didn’t even really know what the position was when I took it, I just wanted out. Only I still didn’t find what I was looking for.

You see, I discovered that I was a terrible employee for the three reasons. An amazing career or a life worth living means I am able to do 3 main things: I can learn, I can grow and I can connect.

I need to learn.

In all of my jobs, there has always been a learning curve that seems steep at first, but then abruptly ends. I quickly became the most knowledgeable person about whatever my job was. Once I felt like I had a strong knowledge base of my job, my instinct was to grow.

I need to grow.

Except, most employers don’t want you to grow, they want you to stay put and do the job they have outlined for you. I ran into this problem over and over again. Once I felt comfortable in neurosurgery, I wanted to start this initiative or that. Basically I wanted to learn something new and grow it into my job. However, none of my jobs appreciated this, in fact, it caused a lot of tension, which made me disconnect.

I need to connect.

There is nothing worse than being disconnected from what you do all day. You come in, do your job and leave. I felt like a zombie. Little things set me off, I’m easily annoyed by questions I’ve answered over the years, I felt unappreciated, undervalued and stuck in a rut.

It was at this time, just after leaving the hospital and getting stagnant in corporate that I realized I needed different. Not a different job or different boss. I needed something completely different. Something that would allow me to learn, grow and connect with others.

One of the projects that got the axe at Walmart was my attempt to set up a blog for nurse practitioners to act as a central hub. The problem was even though this wasn’t part of my job, I had gotten hooked. I found an entire world of knowledge that I never knew anything about: websites, coding, online business, marketing, podcasting, blogging. The list went on and on and on.

I felt like an addict. Ok, I’m a nerd addict, but I need to learn something all the time. Learning helps me grow and feel confident. The self-confidence boosts my self-esteem. And having self-esteem and self-confidence makes me happy.

Hence I found the solution to happiness in my life through starting my business.

NursePreneurs came a little while after. I set up and ran a few companies before starting NursePreneurs. It was and still is a work in progress. I love the challenge, I love finding something new to bring to the company, I love that there is no one to tell me no if I want to start a podcast, a TV show, a LIVE event series. In fact I’m doing them all.

And the best part is the learning curve is forever ongoing. There is simply no end in sight to how much I can learn, grow and connect in the world.

This is why I started my own business. This is why I encourage other nurses to start their own businesses.

If you are like me and need to learn, grown and connect, the good news is that there is something for you out there too. Maybe it’s a business, but maybe it’s not. There is one way to find out. Start by taking my free video course: Business Starter Kit. See if we are a good match for each other. Connect with me on social media, let’s see if we like working with each other.

Catie Harris

Catie Harris, PhD, MBA, and Registered Nurse is the NursePreneur Mentor who has empowered hundreds of nurses to monetize their knowledge and skills in business, while inspiring them to change the way healthcare is perceived and delivered. Through her intensive mentorship programs, Catie shows nurses how their nursing knowledge can transcend the hospital system into a profitable business.

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