I am interested in being an independent nurse contractor. What are my prospects in Illinois, and how do I go about it?
Dear Donna replies:
Any nurse can work as an independent contractor to hospitals and other healthcare facilities. I recommend that you first consult a nurse attorney to help you draw up a contract that you would want to present to those you contract with. A nurse attorney can also advise you of liability issues you need to be concerned about and answer questions you have about your nurse practice act and your ability to work as an independent contractor. You’ll need to set up a business entity, too, such as a
Find a nurse attorney through The American Association of Nurse Attorneys
You also need to check with your nursing liability insurance carrier to be certain you will be covered or find a carrier who will cover you. Then youll need to learn how to sell and market so you can promote yourself to prospective clients and be ready to explain why they should use an independent contractor. Many healthcare employers have only worked with staffing agencies and not with individual independent contractors. So you may have to explain the difference to them and assure them of the legitimacy of what youre offering.
I also recommend that you check with your local professional associations (your state nurses association, your specialty association, and/or the state chapter of the National Association for Health Care Recruitment) to learn about trends and issues related to independent nurse contractors in your state.
Once you start doing this, youll also need to learn to keep financial and expense records, file tax papers, and possibly pay estimated taxes through the year. An accountant can help you with this.
Consider attending my upcoming seminar How to Start Your Own Business or Consulting Practice in Atlantic City, N.J., on March 11. I cover all of the above subjects and so much more. Find out more at http://events.nursingspectrum.com/event.cfm?EID=570&type=Seminar.
Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrums Dear Donna and author of Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional. To ask Donna your question, go to www.nurse.com/asktheexperts/deardonna. Find a Dear Donna seminar near you: Call (800) 866-0919 or visit http://events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.