12 Things Nursing Taught Me About Owning a Business - Part Two
by Vickie L. Milazzo, RN, MSN, JD
Success Lesson 7 -- Act Quickly and Decisively
As an ICU nurse, I learned that seconds made a difference in patient outcome. That's true for nurses in any specialty. I rarely had lots of time to ponder or brood over a clinical decision.
I have applied the same principles of acting quickly and decisively in business, too. Am I always correct? No. Do I make mistakes? Yes. Yet because of my nursing experience, I'm never paralyzed into inaction and I've been able to make the most of numerous opportunities I would have missed without acting quickly.
Don't miss your chance to succeed. Learn to act quickly and decisively, and you will grow your legal nurse consultant business.
Success Lesson 8 -- What You Focus on Is Where You Achieve Results
In nursing I was often overwhelmed by short staffing, heavy caseloads and lack of support from hospital administration. I soon learned to triage and focus on what I needed to do to heal patients in this less-than-ideal environment. Nursing taught me that where I focus my time is where I achieve results.
That skill comes in handy in business. It's as important to triage and prioritize your actions in business as it is when working with patients. Every day I'm confronted with dozens of challenges, five things that must be done at once, and 20 new creative ideas for my business, but I rarely panic. The organizational and multi-tasking skills I learned as a nurse have served me well.
When you start your legal nurse consultant business, you will not receive any extra hours in the day. In fact, the days will feel shorter. Even the general public knows that working conditions for RNs are worse than ever. Your ability to focus on what's really important under these conditions is the perfect preparation for your successful legal nurse consultant practice.
Success Lesson 9 -- This Is Just Business, It's Not Breast Cancer
Ministering to patients and family members helped me put life with all its problems and challenges into perspective. Today when I overreact to a problem or feel I'm in crisis, I think of sick and dying patients. I think, "Now fighting for your life is a REAL problem."
In business I've had lots of ups and downs. When the down moments come, I remind myself, "This is business -- not breast cancer." This helps me focus positively on solving the problem rather than embarking on a pity party. I've thrown plenty of those "parties", and they never helped me solve a single business problem.
As you grow your legal nurse consultant business, it helps to ask "So what if this month is not as successful as I planned?" or "So what if my best attorney-client retires?" and to remember its just business, not breast cancer.
Success Lesson 10 -- Illness Can Wake You Up
As a nurse I treated many patients who only began to live after they almost died. We've all had patients who said they are glad they got sick, because while they were well, they weren't living the life they wanted. The health crisis forced them to wake up, reassess their lives, decide what was truly important to them, and go for it.
Not every day is a healthy business day. Some days I wake up to a disease challenge in my business. Surprisingly, it's the business ills and mistakes that often awaken me to creative ways of injecting my business with new life.
If your career is facing a health crisis, this is your opportunity to wake up and change things for the better. Legal nurse consulting is one way to restore the health of your career.
Success Lesson 11 -- Business Is Personal
Even though technical skills are vital for an ICU nurse, the relationships with patients and their families were what mattered most to me. Those relationships paid off one day when I made a mistake. Because of our relationship, the patient requested that I continue being his nurse despite my error.
Legal nurse consulting is a service business where you will apply the same relationship principles you learned in nursing to your attorney-clients and prospects. Provide quality service and excellent work product that no other legal nurse consultant can replicate, and soon you'll feel like you're in a short-staffing situation all over again.
Success Lesson 12 -- Healthy Patients Take Care of Themselves
We've all worked with healthy and unhealthy patients and we've seen the effects of poor health habits on the human body. The health of a pregnant woman is often dramatically reflected in the health of her offspring.
To run a successful company you must enjoy an optimal state of health. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself. I love my business, but I love myself more. After all, without a healthy me, I couldn't muster the energy to give 110% to my clients and employees every day.
Every lesson I learned from nursing, I apply to my business today. You've already learned similar lessons yourself. You don't need another hospital job to help you succeed in business. Take a moment to revel in all nursing has taught you. These lessons will multiply your success when you transfer them to your new legal nurse consulting practice.
About the Author: Inc. Top 10 Entrepreneur Vickie L. Milazzo, RN, MSN, JD is the founder and president of Vickie Milazzo Institute, a legal nurse consultant certification company. Credited by The New York Times with pioneering the legal nurse consulting profession in 1982. She is the author of the bestselling self help book for women, Inside Every Woman: Using the 10 Strengths You Didn't Know You Had to Get the Career and Life You Want Now.