One of the wonderful things about being a nurse practitioner is that in many states you have the option to practice independently. In a series of posts, I will highlight nurse practitioners who own and operate their own clinics so we can learn from and be inspired by their motivation and experiences. I will start with Michelle Anderson, board certified family nurse practitioner and owner of Pend Oreille Health Care in Sandpoint, Idaho. Michelle graduated from Duke University in 2001 and has gained recognition as an outstanding nurse practitioner including winning the 2009 Young Professional of the Year Award granted by the Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce. We asked Michelle a few questions about what it is like to practice independently as a nurse practitioner, here are her responses:
How Did You Decide to Open Your Own Practice?
I decided to open my own practice becuse I did not care for the management techniques at the clinic where I was currently working resulting in a contractual dispute with the owner. At this point, my husband suggested I open my own practice. He is a chiropractor and recommended I work out of his office. I had eight years experience as a nurse practitioner before beginning independent practice.
What Are the Benefits of Owning Your Own Practice?
I love being my own boss and having the ability to take as much time as I would like with each patient. I enjoy controlling my own overhead and setting my own guidelines. This allows me to get back to the part of my job I love- relationships with my patients.
Would You Recommend Independent Practice to Other Nurse Practitioners?
I strongly recommend owning your own practice if you like managing all aspects of the clinic. If you are the type of person who wants to go to work then go home and not think about work, independent practice is not for you.
What Challenges Did You Encounter In Opening Your Own Practice?
The transition was quite smooth for me which gave me confidence I was making the right decision.
What Are You Most Proud of in Your Career as a Nurse Practitioner?
I am most proud of starting my own practice in 2009 and winning the “Young Professional of the Year Award”. I also had my daughter in 2009 and returned to practice 10 days later. 2009 was a big year!
What Advice Do You Have for Nurse Practitioners Who May Want to Open Their Own Practice?
I would strongly encourage having a great billing person come in and bill at least weekly. Staff happiness is also very important. Encourage your staff to engage and take ownership of their positions. When I first opened, I did everything on my own for several months. I was very happy when I got to the point where I needed a medical assistant. I recommend taking some business courses, I took some online and day courses which helped in opening my own practice. Put together a business plan to help pull your ideas together and make sure your practice goals are realistic. You will not become a millionaire owning your own practice but you will have a wonderful quality of life.
If you would like more information about Michelle’s practice, visit her clinic’s website or her blog about the trials and tribulations of owning your own practice.