Welcome to our Nurse Entrepreneur Series! Meet Sara Genta, RN, BSN, CFCN, owner of Healthy Feet: RN Foot Care Services. Sara provides foot care services in the Portland, Ore., area to individuals who are unable to care for their own feet due to medical reasons, lack of mobility, etc.
Sara shares her experience as a foot care nurse in this Q&A.
Q. How long have you been a nurse? What’s your nursing background/experience?
A. Nursing is not my first career. I started out with a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy and became a language arts teacher in a middle school. After staying home to raise three children, I divorced when my youngest was 5. Only then did I go back to school, in my 40s, to earn my BSN. I realized I would not have the stamina to work 12-hour night shifts as a new grad. I was drawn to community healthcare, and working with seniors was a natural fit. Immediately out of nursing school, I started working in home care at a retirement community and provided foot care at their ambulatory clinic. I only graduated from nursing school in 2011.
Q. What was the impetus for creating Healthy Feet? What services do you provide?
A. I decided to start my own business, Healthy Feet: RN Foot Care Services, so I could control my own work hours and make a better salary. Foot care is one of the few areas where a registered nurse can be self-employed. I provide foot care, much like a podiatrist might, to those who cannot or should not take care of their own feet. Diabetics, dexterity- and vision-challenged clients, and those who are on blood thinners, are my target group. I host clinics at community centers, a downtown church, retirement communities and do some home visits.
Q. Can you share any tips or resources for nurses who are interested in becoming a foot care nurse?
A. Certification in foot care through the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board adds professional legitimacy to my practice. I recommend this extra training and professional networking if you are interested in becoming a foot care RN. Another resource is The American Foot Care Nurses Association. Continuing to stay abreast of the latest evidence-based practice in the field is encouraged. Of course, an entrepreneurial desire to run one’s own business is necessary.
Q. What are the best things about being a nurse entrepreneur?
A. I like the scheduling flexibility that self-employment allows. Additionally, executing a new idea takes the approval of just one person!
Q. What are the greatest challenges?
A. Challenges in my work include loss of income due to sickness or missed appointments (I cannot bill insurance but, then again, I do not have to deal with that paperwork) and a lack of daily collegial interaction. I also pay for my own health insurance. Another challenge comes with my desire to be continually learning, and this is heavily repetitive skill-based work. On the other hand, when I clock out at the end if the day, I can easily switch off for some downtime from work.
Q. Looking back, as you started your business, what do you wish you had known? What advice would you give others?
A. Overall, I am pleased with my decision to start my business. I knew I wouldn’t become a 30-year nurse because I started this path later in life, but my hourly rate is almost commensurate with a nurse with that much experience. If you are interested in going into foot care — even as a segue to retirement — I suggest shadowing with a current foot care nurse and then taking a class to learn the particular skills involved. Taking a small business class also might be useful.
Thank you, Sara! Any other foot care nurses out there? Anyone who thinks this kind of nurse entrepreneur venture might be for them?