How would I market myself as a private duty nurse?

By | 2022-02-07T18:04:13-05:00 July 1st, 2008|2 Comments


Dear Donna,

I have been out of hospital nursing for 15 years. I worked for five years as a nurse case manager at an insurance company, and now I own my own 15-bed assisted living facility.

My daughter was murdered a year and a half ago, and I went through a clinical depression. I went bankrupt, and I am trying to sell my property and business and relocate to Fort Worth, Texas. I like FW and I feel there will be more grief counseling and groups available there. She was a wrongful death and a torturous death — stabbed 45 times. She was brain dead, and I had to turn the machine off. All these years I did this for other people, and then I had to do if for myself.

I have lots of experience, but I recently tried to work in the hospital and crashed. Two things bother me: First, I have been self-employed for 15 years, and I don’t do well working for other people. Second, I need a less stressful job. I thought about private duty nursing, but I don’t find anything about it anywhere. It’s like it disappeared and home health or hospice has taken its place. How would I market myself in Fort Worth or Dallas, Texas, as an RN private duty nurse? I was director of private duty from 1990 to 1992.

I need something at home or alone. I don’t do well in crowds with the grief, etc. I am under care, but only time and God will heal me. I still have lots of trials to attend yet. So, I need something flexible. Currently, my business is down to three residents from 13. I just don’t have the energy or interest to go on with assisted living. I am an entrepreneur in spirit. I am a self-starter and visionary, but I need to be sensible about what I am capable of doing right now.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Kathleen,

My heart goes out to you. You have certainly had a trying couple of years, and it sounds like you have some hurdles to get over yet. From the little bit you are telling me, I think you would do better in a non-patient care role.

I would suggest that you contact some nursing temp agencies to see what they have available. Many of them have nontraditional opportunities of all sorts, occasionally some that can be done from home. And since every agency is different, I suggest that you contact several. This way, you can work when you want to and take the time off you need to attend trials, etc. Let then know that you prefer to work solo without going into detail.

Sending prayers and good wishes your way,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’s “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 Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call (800) 866-0919 or visit


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  1. Avatar
    Andrea Hinich January 11, 2019 at 10:28 am - Reply

    I just read this post and was moved by your story, I also lost a child…to brain cancer. I am a nurse and appreciate the challenges you are facing. Please know you are not alone. May God guise and bless you.

  2. Avatar
    Illona January 14, 2019 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    Kathleen, my deepest sympathy to you. It is a process for healing and will take time. My suggestion would be for you to be a referral source /consultant for persons wanting to get into the assisted living business. You can advertise and do training, how to process for getting business up and running. I always hear people asking questions on how to get started.

    All the best

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