4 Nurse Practitioner Entrepreneurs Redefining Affordable Healthcare
Many nurse practitioners are providing services in underserved populations--by becoming entrepreneurs. While providing affordable healthcare, they are also increasing the numbers of providers available to patients, who otherwise may not have access to care. Housecalls, mobile clinics, televisits, and a business that serves up “happy feet”--let’s take a look at four nurse practitioners who are breaking trends and paving the way!
Dr. Scharmaine Lawson Baker DNP, FNP, FAANP, FAAN
By just looking at her credentials one can see that Dr. Baker is a powerhouse nurse. Prior to becoming a nurse practitioner she worked as an ICU, ER, travel, and level 1 trauma nurse before deciding to obtain her MSN. While finishing up her MSN, she worked in home health for a period of ten years. Choosing to become a NP was a matter of flexibility for her. She felt the fluidity of where she could work as a NP was more fitting of her personality. Initially, she planned to become a CRNA, but after a few years in ICU and Trauma ICU, she discovered she was a much more “hands-on” type of practitioner. Loving her community of New Orleans, she decided that community nursing was a great fit. Stopping at MSN was not enough for this overachiever, however; she decided to pursue her DNP. She concluded that the Doctorate in Nursing Practice would allow her to pursue academic positions and also to lead healthcare administrative systems if she decided to change her career path.
Dr. Baker is the owner of A DrNurse Publishing House, the publishing company where she produces all of her literary works. She is the author of the very popular Nola the Nurse series, a children’s book series that introduces children to diversity, inclusion, and the roles of advanced practice nurses. With several product lines such as books, dolls, coloring books, activity books, backpacks, etc Nola has become a stand-alone company; Nola the Nurse, LLC. The best part is the 6ft mascot that gets to go to schools and introduce children to the fascinating world of advanced practice nursing. Nola is now translated into Spanish and French and is available on Amazon and www.Nolathenurse.com.
Advanced Clinical Consultants, LLC is the company where Dr. Baker provides VIP housecalls. In fact, it is the first NP-owned housecall practice in Louisiana. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Baker returned to New Orleans to provide medical care to the residents. Unlike many of the physicians, in the area, Dr. Baker had already converted to electronic healthcare records and was able to easily access her patients’ records and treat them. Although she is no longer accepting patients, Dr. Baker is now offering The Housecall Course. This course is taught live and online and trains clinicians on how to set-up and maintain a house call practice across America. To date, she has trained over 600 clinicians. Advanced Clinical Consultants is producing and training hundreds of healthcare professionals, who want to start a housecall practice in their area, in turn increasing access to healthcare in vulnerable populations. Her best-selling book House Calls 101, is available on Amazon and through her website www.DrBakerNP.com.
When asked about the motivation behind her businesses Dr. Scharmaine stated, “I’ve always been an out of the box thinker, even when I was traditionally employed. So, starting and maintaining a business, on a daily basis, comes naturally to me. Once you get the taste of being THE boss, you never get used to working for someone.” Dr. Baker leaves these words with nurses who want to start their businesses, “Find your niche. Follow your passion. Don’t listen to naysayers. Phone a mentor. Stay the course.”
Connect with Dr. Baker:
Dr. Jessica Harrison DNP FNP-C
Dr. Harrison had eleven years of nursing experience, in various specialties, before becoming a nurse practitioner. She began her nursing career as a CNA in 2000. After working for two years, she obtained her LPN diploma and nursing license in 2001. By 2008 she had received her BSN and was a registered nurse. Initially, wanting to obtain a degree in healthcare administration, Harrison realized she loved providing patient care and becoming an FNP, in 2013, allowed her to advance her nursing practice while continuing to provide direct patient care. Obtaining her Doctorate was a personal goal and a promise she made to her father before he passed; however, she states she does not need it to work in a clinical setting.
Realizing that obtaining affordable healthcare was an issue, Dr. Harrison and her business partner Cierra Williams MSN, BS, FNP-C decided to open their own practice; Serenity Health and Wellness Clinic. Only a year into their practice, the two clinicians have realized there is a greater need for televisits and mobile visits. They are currently transitioning from a brick and mortar clinic into a virtual/mobile clinic. Currently, they are located in West Point, GA.
Serenity Health and Wellness Clinic provides healthcare to individuals who are uninsured or underinsured. Instead of this population going to the ER--to have their healthcare needs met--Dr. Harrison and Williams offer an affordable, easily accessible option. Dr. Harrison states, “There are business opportunities for all levels of nursing. The most important thing for New NPs is to get experience, working as a provider, in the specialty they would like to create a business. It is important for NPs (in the states that require a collaborative MD) to establish a relationship with a doctor who may potentially establish a collaborative relationship with them. Lastly, it is very important for them to do their research before starting a business. It’s a learning process.”
Learn more: www.serenityhealthandwellness.org.
Keisha McKinsey MSN, APRN, FNP-C
Feeling that it was imperative to get experience before furthering your education, Keisha McKinsey MSN, APRN, FNP-C worked as a nurse for almost ten years, before beginning nurse practitioner school. McKinsey states her nursing journey has not been easy. She recalls when she attended Grambling State University and her dean told her she did not have what it takes to finish nursing school. She took that discouragement and turned it into drive and determination. She graduated from Maryville University with her MSN in 2016. She decided to further her education and become an FNP because she wanted more autonomy, as well as the opportunity to educate patients with the tools to make better health decisions. However, with a booming business, she has placed her plans to pursue her DNP on hold.
The Concierge NP Clinic, located in Waxahachie, TX was created with the uninsured patient, in mind. After seeing firsthand what delay in healthcare can do, Keisha wanted to provide affordable healthcare to everyone. All uninsured patients pay a low monthly fee to be seen as needed. Although, citing several reasons to start her clinic McKinsey, unfortunately, encountered a few situations that were less than desirable--in patient care--and decided that she would not allow quotas or numbers to dictate how she delivered care. Dealing with multiple rejections as a new grad --applying to 500 jobs-- being turned away only made it clear to her that she wanted her future in her hands. When asked what advice she would give to other nurses who want to start businesses McKinsey stated, “My best advice would be not to give up, no matter how bad things seem. Keep pushing!”
Want to contact Keisha McKinsey?
Tamika Saunders MSN, AGACNP-BC
Tamika Saunders MSN, AGACNP-BC, worked for almost five years as a registered nurse, before pursuing her MSN. Starting her journey as an orthopedic RN, she worked for two years with post-op patients and those who had suffered from a CVA. Crediting complacency as a factor, she decided to challenge herself with something new. Then, she set out as a travel nurse, landing her first job as a cardiology RN. Saunders has experiences in progressive care, Neurology, Med-Surg and stress lab; being promoted to a leadership role in nursing informatics (also known as CPOE), with only four years of nursing experience. It was this position that afforded Tamika the opportunity to work alongside physicians and advanced practice providers. Several of the providers, motivated her to take her skills back to the clinical setting. This was when she decided to return to school and complete an MSN degree as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner.
Tamika has plans to complete her DNP, in the future, but for right now she is focused on her business Priority Feet. Founded in 2013, Priority Feet offers non-cosmetic and in-home foot care services throughout metro Atlanta, Ga. Tamika and her team are dedicated to bridging the gap between patients with foot problems and their providers. Saving patients a trip to the doctor’s office and freeing up physicians’ time--allowing physicians time to treat more emergent foot care issues as they arise. Many of her patients don't have the financial or transportation resources to see a podiatrist. By providing foot care services, Priority Feet also gets to recognize any other manifestations that can land patients in the hospital. Patient safety is at the forefront of what Priority Feet offers. The registered nurses hold and maintain certification as foot care nurses from the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing Certification Board. Through preventive care and patient education, Saunders and her team work with their clients to enhance outcomes and keep their feet in tip-top shape.
Work-life balance was the motivation behind starting her practice. Tamika states, “I wanted a work-life balance that bedside nursing couldn’t offer. It was important to me to make my own schedule and make memories with my family. Lastly, I wanted to create a family legacy that could be passed down for generations.”
Saunders advice for nurses pursuing entrepreneurship? “I would tell them to do research first but don't procrastinate on an idea or dream. Healthcare is a huge industry, and the opportunities are endless. I would also advise them not to be deterred by how many people doing the same business, just make sure their business is offering something different and better for the area they reside.”
Do you want happy feet? Visit www.priorityfeet.com
Nurses have always filled gaps in healthcare. Nurse entrepreneurs fill the gaps by providing services, products, and education leading to patients with higher quality of life and more affordable, accessible healthcare. If you are a licensed nurse, you already have the knowledge, tools, and resources to start your own business. What are you waiting for?