This Nurse Opened a Mobile IV Hydration Clinic, Here's How
Tina Mulholland, BSN, RN, 34, of Springfield Delaware County is the founder and owner of Elevate Wellness, an IV hydration clinic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. If you haven’t heard of IV hydration clinics by now, you need to get caught up, because they’re extremely popular in the health and wellness space right now.
One of the exciting aspects of IV hydration clinics is that they can be founded and run by Registered Nurses under the supervision of a licensed physician medical director, so nurses with a passion for health, wellness, and an affinity for starting IVs are turning to opening their own clinics.
Mulholland is one such nurse—in fact, she says that starting IVs is her “best skill”—so if you’ve ever been curious what it takes to start and run your own IV hydration business, Mullholland is sharing her story of how to make it happen.
A Passion for More
Mulholland shares with Nurse.org that like many nurses, she has wanted to be a nurse since she was little. “I just loved taking care of others,” she says. “I would watch shows like ER and television reality shows on TLC with my dad about doctors and nurses, dreaming one day to do the same!”
However, despite her love of being a nurse, she says that she felt the longing for “more” in her nursing career. She thought that her something “more” would be going on to advanced practice nursing, so she enrolled in graduate school to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. But with only one clinical rotation left, she realized that a pediatric NP path was not actually what she wanted.
“This is hard to admit as I am NOT a quitter and I have always finished what I have started,” she confesses. “However, I had one son at home and one on the way and knew how precious my time was.”
So she did some self-examination and some praying, which she says resulted in God giving her a “few nudges” that this path might not be right for her. So, she decided to keep pursuing what her “more” would be, spending time with her growing family, welcoming a total of three beautiful boys into the world, and exploring a new passion for natural medicine.
She found that getting involved in essential oils “opened her eyes” to a new world of healthcare that was more focused on health promotion and prevention. That prompted her do a deep dive into what she loved most about nursing, which boiled down to three main things:
1. Inserting IVs (“it's my best skill,” she gushes.)
2. Spending time helping patients get to the root of their problem.
3. Natural medicine.
Putting those three passions together, she says, led her right to IV vitamins and hydration therapy. And after her 4th son was born in the middle of a pandemic and she was furloughed one week before he was born, Mulholland knew it was time to take the leap and open the business she had been dreaming of for years.
Elevating to Entrepreneur
Although opening a business with four kids is undoubtedly a daunting task, Mulholland knew she was up for the challenge. She had watched her parents start a successful business and says she has the entrepreneurial spirit in her bloodline. “It was not easy, but their determination was very inspiring,” Mulholland shares. “I also knew that my business would be a direct result of how hard I worked!”
In order to open her own clinic, Mulholland first made sure to work in the field of IV vitamins and hydration to learn all she could about IV therapy. Because all regulations for anyone operating an IV hydration therapy clinic are state-based, it can be difficult to find the right people to help navigate the laws around this type of business. But Mulholland says that “God, yet again, answered my prayers” and led her to a compliance officer who helped her get set up.
The compliance officer was her biggest start-up cost, but she notes it was her top priority to ensure she was starting her business the right away. She also made sure to work diligently with her medical director to establish all of the protocols and therapies for the clinic.
Why IV Hydration Therapy?
If you’re still wondering what IV hydration therapy even is, the premise is simple: clients either come on-site to a hydration clinic or the nurse travels to them and they receive IV hydration. Elevate Wellness offers pop-up clinics or group parties that can be booked.
Clients choose a custom or standard blend of IV fluids that are mixed with vitamins and the nurse hooks them up to an IV, which then infuses into them while they sit back and relax. Mulholland explains that clients can either receive a 1-liter normal saline or 1L lactated ringers. Many clinics also offer vitamin injections that are administered IM.
In her words, IV therapy infuses essential vitamins, minerals, and hydration that are vital for the body to function. “IV vitamins and hydration can benefit many things, most commonly immune support, migraine support, inflammation support, skin and hair health, detoxification, and muscle recovery,” she explains. And while diet is always the best source of vitamins and minerals, she explains that there are two major reasons that people can lack vitamins and minerals:
- You can eat the healthiest diet but that doesn't mean it will all be absorbed.
- The food and soil that food is grown in is no longer as nutrient-dense as it used to be.
IV hydration clinics are used by people for many different things, from support for chronic illnesses to general wellness to hydration for life events, like bachelorette parties or weddings. Additionally, Mulholland says that clinics like hers are becoming more popular now because people are starting to become health conscious.
“They are realizing they need to take steps to keep their bodies in good health and not wait until there is a problem,” she explains. “Many think of IV therapy as the thing people do in Vegas; however most of my clients are wellness-focused and use IV vitamins as prevention and recovery for their active lifestyles. I will support clients with ‘hangovers.’ but it's rare,” she adds.
From Nurse to Business Owner
Since opening her clinic, Elevate Wellness has seen great success. Mulholland has had referrals through word of mouth and has set realistic financial and business goals to grow slowly and steadily. “Some months have been better than others,” she says. “I was excited to celebrate 30 customers in one month; I set small goals each month and push to crush them!”
She admits that it is challenging to run her business because right now, she is a one-woman show. From marketing to supply management to scheduling to social media, it’s all Mulholland. However, she does hope to be able to expand soon and add more people to her team.
Despite the challenges, Mulholland loves what she does for a living. “I love that I get to work one on one with my patients to help with their wellness goals whether it's preventions, maintenance, or solutions,” she says. “I also love that I get to make it what I want!”
And if you’re a nurse who also dreams of making a business that is what you want, she recommends two strategies:
- First, to work in the field to understand how it all works.
- Secondly, “connection is key, so get connected with others that are doing what you want to do!”
But in the end, Mulholland encourages any other nurses who are looking to expand into entrepreneurship to learn all they can about the field they want to go into and then to go for it.
“Now is the time to go for your dreams,” she says. “If the last two years have taught me anything, it's that life is so precious and so short. Never take a day for granted. Do not take your dreams to the grave. I heard a saying once that a graveyard is the ‘richest’ place because so many people take their unfulfilled dreams and gifts with them to the grave and never share them with the world.”
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