Plenty of enterprising nurses have owned businesses over the years, but entrepreneurship and business savvy among nurses is veritably exploding in the early 21st century.

With an increasing number of states within the U.S. allowing advanced practice nurses (APRNs) to manage patient care without a supervising physician, APRNs are realizing they can serve the public as independent medical providers. These nurses can make house calls, open small clinics or offices, perform complete assessments, manage acute and chronic illnesses, order diagnostic tests, and refer patients to appropriate specialists.

Offering private concierge nursing services that function outside of the limitations imposed by insurance companies is also a way for nurses to reach sectors of the public who desire such specialized care.

Considering the ongoing consternation regarding the shrinking number of primary care physicians — especially with a rapidly-aging population having advanced practice nurses step in to fill the gap is a brilliant way to alleviate this shortage.

An aging population

Speaking of an aging population, many registered nurses also see entrepreneurial possibilities in providing specialized nursing services to the elderly.

Within our American society, adult children often live far from their aging parents, and some nurses see an opportunity to serve as "the eyes and ears" of those adult children by visiting elders, coordinating their medical care, and otherwise alleviating the fears and concerns of children who live too far away to effectively manage the health needs of their increasingly vulnerable or medically fragile parents.

The power of coaching

Entrepreneurial ventures also abound for nurses who would like to combine their nursing skills with specialized training in various fields of coaching.

While some insurance companies are indeed hiring nurses to provide targeted telephonic health and wellness coaching to segments of their clientele, there are nurses who have found that privately coaching individuals can be a satisfying form of self-employment.

Whether the nurse coach works with clients regarding life transitions, health and wellness, fitness or disease management, coaching is now more mainstream than ever, and it offers nurses a natural fit in terms of utilizing their skills in patient education, effective communication and motivational interviewing.

Consulting is in

Nurses have a wide variety of unique talents and knowledge, and some nurses have found consulting to be a fruitful and remunerative form of self-employment and entrepreneurship.

Nurses can create consulting practices related to quality improvement and quality assurance, team-building, nursing management, organizational development, practice management, human resource management pertaining specifically to nurses and medical personnel, as well as a plethora of other areas of focus.

Enterprising nurse consultants assist hospitals and healthcare facilities in decreasing bullying, harassment and "lateral violence" among nurses and their colleagues, and others who work directly with nurse managers in creating positive workplace cultures.

Other nursing entrepreneurial ventures

Myriad nurses with an entrepreneurial mindset apply themselves as freelance writers, nurse podcasters, bloggers and social media managers providing an emphasis on reaching the ever-expanding nursing audience on numerous social media platforms.

As an increasing number of nurses gain confidence navigating the 21st-century entrepreneurial space, we will no doubt see more nurses exploring full-time entrepreneurial endeavors, as well as small side projects that simply supplement their regular nursing income.

Nurses may not learn business skills in nursing school, but plenty of today's nurses see the possibilities, accumulate the necessary business acumen and strike out into the world as nurses who offer novel and effective services provided by the most trusted professionals in the United States.