Nurse entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs?

By | 2020-04-06T10:54:39-04:00 February 11th, 2016|1 Comment

In the 21st century, a growing number of nurses are seizing entrepreneurial opportunities wherein nursing and non-nursing skills are leveraged in the world of business. While the ranks of nurse entrepreneurs continue to grow, there also is a movement toward nurse intrapreneurship, a new concept to many of us.

On episode 41 of my podcast, The Nurse Keith Show, an episode sponsored by, I delved into the concepts of nurse intra- and entrepreneurship; that recording is an audio companion to this article.

The nurse entrepreneur

There likely have been nurse entrepreneurs since nurses first began serving society. Imagine a nurse in 19th-century England who discreetly visited wealthy homes in exchange for cash; or perhaps a rural American nurse during the Dust Bowl who tended to the poor in exchange for eggs and milk. Whether skills are bartered for goods, cash or credit card payments, a nurse who strikes out to independently offer services or products is, in essence, an entrepreneur.

Today, entrepreneurial nurses serve as consultants, independent health providers, massage therapists, writers, coaches, filmmakers, bloggers, podcasters, speakers, product developers and a host of other intriguing career paths.

Nurse entrepreneurs serve individuals, corporations, small companies and many other entities. Some nurses have side businesses in addition to a clinical career, while others eschew nursing positions for their own ventures. There are as many entrepreneurial paths as there are nurse entrepreneurs.

The nurse intrapreneur

“Intrapreneurship” is a buzzword that caught on in many business circles over the last few years. It is generally agreed that an intrapreneur is an employee who takes ownership of their place within an organization, using individual initiative and a sense of authentic pride to make their mark within the work environment.

A nurse intrapreneur treats his or her job and workplace like their own business in terms of the energy, thoughtfulness and drive with which tasks and challenges are approached. This nurse sees a problem, assesses how to mitigate it and implements a plan to correct the situation. If the problem is beyond the nurse’s scope, he or she brings a plan for correction to those who can approve its implementation.

Creativity and savvy

As you may surmise, nurse entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs share creativity as a hallmark of their work ethic and raison d’etre. These forward-thinking nurses use their enthusiasm and initiative to leverage their skills and expertise in powerful ways, whether as an employee or individual business owner.

Savvy intrapreneurial nurses position themselves as leaders in the workplace, creating space for advancement and greater accomplishment. Smart entrepreneurial nurses position themselves as leaders within their field, moving their businesses forward with skill and intelligence.

How could you become more of a forward-thinking nurse intrapreneur in your workplace? Does your employer condone and encourage such initiative? Or would you rather start your own entrepreneurial venture as a nurse?

You can use your creativity and savvy to bring more passion to your career, whether through intrapreneurship or an entrepreneurial endeavor.


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About the Author:

Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC
Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind and the award-winning blog, Digital Doorway. A widely published writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.”

One Comment

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    leungo kgomokhum July 12, 2017 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Nurse entraprenuers are making a difference to individuals, famiilies and communities as well as public at large at a lesser price.

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