I am thinking of going into business for myself. My idea is to help seniors manage their medications, take them to medical appointments and organize their insurance bills and more. Is this something I can do as a nurse? What would some of the liability issues be? Do I need any special certification to do this?
Wants to Go Into Business
Dear Donna replies:
Dear Wants to Go Into Business,
What you describe is commonly referred to as a geriatric care manager, and it is a growing business opportunity for nurses. There is even a related professional association (http://www.caremanager.org/). While one doesnt need to be a nurse to do this type of work, nurses can do so much more than non-nurses in this specialty. Certification is available but is absolutely not necessary. The RN after your name is a very significant credential with or without any additional certifications.
Regarding liability, make an appointment to speak to a nurse attorney. Nurse attorneys are uniquely qualified to interpret your nurse practice act as well as the law. The nurse attorney can advise you of related liability issues but more importantly can help you minimize your liability with the use of contracts, release forms and waivers. Find a nurse attorney by asking around, getting a referral from your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (www.ana.org) whether or not you are a member or through the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (www.taana.org).
You also will want to get liability insurance for your business. Check with the care manager association referenced above for recommendations. You also can check with your insurance agent. Be sure to mention your plan to use your car for transporting clients if you decide to do so.
Additionally, contact the National Nurses in Business Association (www.nnbanow.com) and the National Association of Women Business Owners (www.nawbo.org) for support, ongoing education, networking and camaraderie through your journey. Business ownership can be very isolating so its important to get connected to a group of like-minded individuals. Plus, theres so much to learn and you learn from one another as well as the educational offerings of all the associations mentioned.