The West Virginia Action Coalition project, “RN Entrepreneur Project Continuation,” will create five sustainable nurse businesses and teach the entrepreneur course to 20 additional nurses. The training curriculum and program will expand across the state.
The West Virginia Action Coalition aims to collaborate with cross-sector partners to promote nurse-led health businesses among student nurses with the goal of improving community access to care and stimulating local economies. The team will develop and pilot a nurse entrepreneur curricula for integration into bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate nursing programs and create a manual for distribution and dissemination.
The West Virginia Action Coalition focused on increasing awareness about nurse entrepreneurship, offering webinars and online training to teach skills. They also developed a curriculum, provided mentors and conducted a complete evaluation of the program. This project was based on the belief that nurses could have a large economic impact in the state and in their communities if they were more knowledgeable about business opportunities.
Summary of completed project
The West Virginia Action Coalition developed a curriculum in partnership with the West Virginia Nurses Association and the Small Business Development Center. The course included two onsite all-day sessions and 10 online webinars. Five nurses in business were engaged to serve as mentors and coaches. A complete evaluation including pre and post sessions was developed. Getting the word out and attracting nurses to participate was the greatest challenge. In addition to articles in the West Virginia Nurse quarterly publication, the Action Coalition advertised in the local newspaper and the Board of Nursing newsletter. Postcards were sent to advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) identified by the Board of Nursing. Participants paid $45 for the course to encourage commitment to attending and completing the course.
There were 35 nurses who took the course; 10 of these nurses have opened new health businesses with others in various stages of business development. Many are continuing with the Small Business Development Center coaches. In addition to primary care practices by APRNs, businesses also include a store front consignment shop with classes for new mothers including breast feeding; a postpartum home visiting service with services for postpartum depression; and an infusion business and a daycare center.
The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation produced a video on the project and awarded the project their “Change Maker Award.” The co-leads of the West Virginia Action Coalition were invited to submit a chapter on nurse entrepreneurship for Advanced Practice Nursing Leadership: A Global Perspective, to be published by Springer. The project is continuing with additional webinars on coding. The overall learning was that nurses need earlier exposure to intrapreneurial and entrepreneurial concepts in their nursing curriculum.