Going Into Private Practice as a Nurse
Here are three nursing specialties that offer exactly that opportunity.
1. Certified Nurse Midwife
In order to enter into private practice as a midwife, you must first notify the Department of Health of your intention to do so. If you are currently a nurse midwife in a hospital or other setting, then you have already fulfilled all the educational requirements you need to set up private practice.
If you are not yet a nurse midwife, you may need to complete an M.S. in Midwifery program and pass a national certification exam before you can set up your own private practice. The entrance requirements for various educational programs vary, but most now require a bachelor’s degree in nursing as well as a current RN license.
Nurse midwives continue to be needed, despite the recession, as they often offer services at a fraction of the cost of other health providers. Practicing independently can be personally and professionally rewarding. While most CNM's are employees of practices and therefore typically receive a salary similar to that of a nurse-practitioner, Nurse Midwives in private practice charge anywhere from $2,000-4,000 per birth, depending on their location. How busy a Nurse Midwife's practice is depends on location, how established you are in your community, and how well you promote your services. Within your practice, you might choose to adopt a specific focus, such as postnatal care or lactation consulting. You might also consider gaining qualifications in complementary areas of care such as acupuncture, massage, or counseling, in order to make your private practice stand out from the rest.
2. Legal Nurse Consultant
Approximately 50% of all legal nurse consultants run their own business. Although you'll want to have several years of practical nursing experience under your belt before making this career shift, becoming a legal nurse consultant doesn't require any prior legal knowledge. Usually, in less than a year, you may be able to pursue your Legal Nurse Consulting Certificate from an online institution. Your training will give you all the required expertise to go into business for yourself as a legal nurse consultant. Typically, you'll choose your own clients and jobs, and you can anticipate charging around $70-200 per hour.
As a legal nurse consultant, you'll offer your services to attorneys who are working on malpractice, workers compensation, and personal injury cases. Since attorneys are rarely experts when it comes to deciphering the terminology of medical records, they'll pay you to do this for them, as well as explain the subtleties of specific healthcare issues. Becoming an independent legal nurse consultant is a great way to relieve nursing burn-out and follow your passion on a different level.
3. Nurse Practitioner
A nurse practitioner is an experienced registered nurse who has completed academic education beyond their basic nurses training which may allow them to assume some of the diagnostic and treatment responsibilities traditionally reserved only for physicians. Under the Nurse Practice Act of each state, these nurse practitioners are legally authorized to offer health care in a variety of settings. The majority of nurse practitioners have a primary care focus and most work in collaboration with physicians.
Around 15% of all nurse practitioners set up private practices. The first thing you'll want to do is find out what your state's specific requirements are. In every state, nurse practitioners are allowed to prescribe all kinds of medications, including controlled substances. To work as a nurse practitioner, if you're not already one, you'll need to graduate from an Master of Science in Nursing program with a Nurse Practitioner track.
Nurse practitioners offer patient care throughout the lifespan. They offer a wide range of services, including routine physical exams, treatment of common acute injuries, management of chronic health problems, and interpretation of diagnostic tests. They also offer expert advice to patients regarding healthy lifestyle choices and available health care options. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017) Nurse Practitioners typically earn a mean annual wage of $107,480.
Here's a detailed listing of all schools that offer online nurse practitioner programs.
Are You Ready to Make Your Move?
These three nursing specialties are only a sampling of the possibilities that are available to you as a private practice nurse. Many other careers, such as occupational health nursing and pediatric nursing, are available to the nurse who wants to work independently outside of traditional health care settings. Do you have a passion for nursing, a high degree of self-motivation, and a decent head for business? If so, you may find setting up your own private practice an extremely rewarding move for your nursing career.
If you've been putting your nursing education on hold because of financial concerns, now is the time to send in your application to the nursing school of your choice. With billions of dollars slated for federal programs, you can afford your next nursing degree--whether it's a BSN, an MSN, or a PhD. And when you graduate, you'll enjoy the edge that an advanced degree gives you when it comes to opening up additional opportunities for your nursing practice.
The online nursing schools we feature have financial aid advisers available to help you find funds you qualify for, so be sure to explore online nursing programs and request additional information directly from any of our featured schools. The information is available at no cost, but the benefits to your career are priceless!