How to Become an Independent Nurse Provider

by Gail Cohen; Updated September 26, 2017

While health care continues to be a growth industry, those in the profession with entrepreneurial personalities will continue to find ways to ply their trade outside the confines of traditional settings. If this describes you--and you’re self-motivated, highly organized and confident enough to operate a business-- becoming an independent nurse provider could be the answer to your prayers. Choose from several options to get started: additional schooling, self-guided tutorial or venture off guided by your own instincts. It’s your career choice. Tailor it to your dreams and you’ll never regret your decision.

Items you will need

  • Nursing degree
  • Business classes
  • Operational manual
  • Licenses and permits
  • Office set-up
  • Office supplies
  • Malpractice insurance
  • Patient/nurse contract
  • Advertising strategies
  • Community contacts
Step 1

Take classes in owning and operating an independent nursing business after attaining your RN, LPN, CAN or PCA and working in the profession for at least a year. Obtain this training from a technical school, community college or online independent nursing business program like Nursesbiz.com (link below).

Step 2

Buy a comprehensive guidebook with or without accompanying software that covers all aspects of owning and operating an independent nursing business if you haven't opted to get business-specific training. Peruse links below to evaluate several of these resources.

Step 3

Apply for licenses and permits required to open your nursing service. Obtain a business tax ID number from the IRS and check local and state governmental offices to learn about other legal documents required to launch your practice. Open a checking account in the name of your agency as soon as you’ve received these documents so you can begin purchasing start-up needs.

Step 4

Separate your personal and professional worlds by creating an environment from which your nursing service can operate. Earmark office space for your business. Get a phone, a computer, accounting and client tracking software, business cards, stationery for correspondence and invoicing and office supplies.

Step 5

Buy medical malpractice insurance to indemnify you and your business against any potential legal problems arising from your nursing practice. Consider being bonded. Consult with a lawyer or an online legal service like Legalzoom.com for help drafting a patient-provider contract template.

Step 6

Set a reasonable fee schedule based on the amount competitors charge per hour. Search for clients by running ads in the print and online editions of your local newspaper’s classified section. Post flyers on the bulletin boards of grocery stores, libraries and community centers. Make your contact information (phone or e-mail) a prominent part of your marketing materials.

Step 7

Commit to networking within your medical community so doctors, agencies, hospitals, clinics and others looking for freelance nurses will have you on speed dial. Build a solid referral network so patients are happy to recommend you to others. Join a group like the National Association of Independent Nurses (NAIN; link below) so you always have someone to turn to if you have questions or concerns about your practice.

Warnings

  • Cut corners anywhere you like except when it comes to malpractice insurance. Until there are changes in tort laws, medical professionals must protect themselves from exposure to lawsuits, so prioritize this expense.

About the Author

Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.

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