entrepreneurial nurses

Gunn-Berit Sæter, PhD student, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.

This article was first published in 2019 in the Entrepreneurial Mindset Network eZINE Volume 2 no 2

Entrepreneurship and nursing may not seem like two coherent fields of practice or research; however, the potential of entrepreneurship in nursing is becoming increasingly recognised.  

Gunn-Berit Sæter is a PhD student at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and works at Engage Centre for Engaged Education through Entrepreneurship. This autumn she is participating in the Norwegian competition “Forsker Grand Prix” (Researcher Grand Prix), presenting her research topic of nurses going entrepreneurial.

Here she shares her fascinating insights into entrepreneurship in healthcare.

Image credit: Pixabay

Florence Nightingale, the ‘founder of nursing’, opens her book in 1859 by criticising the society and suggesting change. Her dreams are bold; they involve a complete change of the act of nursing to improve the lives of healthy, ill, invalid children and adults. She use the devastating health issues of her era to highlight the need for change: “do you know that one in every seven infants in this civilised land of England perishes before it is one year old?” Through her thirteen suggestions for improvements in nursing practice, the creation of a new health profession takes form, and Nightingale becomes the first entrepreneurial nurse.

Nurses have a long history of acting entrepreneurially to improve the diagnostics, treatment, care and wellbeing of patients, and have a call to continue to do so. Thus, nurse and entrepreneur Gunn-Berit Sæter is researching the phenomenon of providing entrepreneurship education for nursing students. She firmly believes that nurses hold an important key when unlocking the best pathways for developing healthcare, both on a national and global level.

Nurses are the largest group of health care professionals, possessing unique insight and knowledge about the needs and wishes of patients and their relatives. This knowledge must not be forgotten or ignored when developing our future healthcare, and it requires that nurses to stand up and take part in changes, Sæter explains. She is fascinated by entrepreneurship courses and education for nursing students, to explore how nurses may find the confidence to act on their ideas for improving health care.

Nurses can change details and overall structures by acting as intrapreneurs in their everyday jobs as clinical nurses. Some may also create change by starting their own companies as tech-entrepreneurs or as self-employed clinical nurses. Finally, nurses can create a huge difference by simply supporting those who dare to create change in line with their own profession. ◼️