The recent Covid-19 pandemic has exhausted many healthcare workers, causing them to leave hospitals and care facilities at a record rate. In addition to the high level of burnout, many nurses were victims of the disease themselves, causing them to miss work or leave the field entirely. Studies had already predicted shortages of as many as 500,000 nurses by 2030, and the effects of Covid-19 are making the shortfalls much worse.
As a result of the disease, many nurses left hospitals and other large facilities and chose to move into areas such as travel nursing, midwifery, or nursing consultation. If you are considering a career outside a hospital or doctor’s office, you may wonder if a registered nurse can work independently in Texas.
Texas and Independent Nursing Practice
The Texas Nursing Practice Act states that registered nurses (RNs) who are willing to perform their duties within the legal scope of their practice “may engage in independent nursing practice without supervision by another health care provider.” As long as you maintain your licensing and education requirements while following the rules dictated by the Texas Board of Nursing, you can work without physician oversight.
Where do Nurses Find Work Independently?
Working on their own gives nurses the freedom to pursue employment that they find more rewarding and less taxing. They can determine their own schedules while serving their communities or earning higher degrees. An experienced nurse may start a practice to serve a specific demographic that would benefit from an office focused on their needs.
They could also contract with rural medical facilities to provide nursing care in-house and follow-up care for discharged patients. Having time to follow other interests or more advanced nursing degrees can bring more lucrative and satisfying work, such as:
Fitness and Nutritional Consulting
The education and bedside skills you learned as a registered nurse are invaluable for a career as a fitness or nutritional coach. Those diagnosed with a life-changing disease such as cancer may want full-time guidance from a professional who also knows how to monitor their symptoms as they exercise. Developing customized nutrition and wellness plans for private clients can be extremely rewarding.
As an RN, you can offer a level of knowledge and care beyond that of others in these fields.
Nurse who are comfortable with public speaking and who have excellent planning skills may find work as health educators for a local college or other institution. Businesses may offer learning workshops on health and disease prevention as part of their work-life balance programs for employees, and an experienced nurse can provide a deep understanding of the topics. Adding an educator’s license to your degrees can be done quickly to enhance your credentials.
Another aspect of this field is returning to nursing school as a Certified Nurse Educator, allowing you to train the next group of nursing students to enter the healthcare industry.
As a concierge or in-home nurse, you may visit patients regularly or live within the client’s home. Many private nurses serve older patients with no nearby family or even those whose family is close but unable to take on care duties. New mothers who require assistance or physical care after a C-section birth or other trauma can benefit from having a skilled RN focused on their recovery as they care for their infant.
You could also provide recovery services after elective surgeries or hospice care for end-of-life patients.
Specialized Nursing Consultant
When a nurse decides to spend less time on traditional nursing duties, they may find new inspiration in a more specialized practice, such as lactation or fertility consulting. Focusing on a niche area of medicine allows you to serve your patients with more expertise. Another option is to consult with lawyers concerning relevant nursing issues in their cases.
Many nurses may find work advising medical device manufacturers on improving products for various nursing environments.
Writer or Blogger
If you prefer researching and writing on topics in nursing, you may begin a writing or blogging career to explain complex issues to patients. Freelance writing is a great way to demonstrate and expand your understanding of critical medical concepts, as well as share the valuable on-the-job techniques you’ve learned.
Outlets for your work could be company or hospital newsletters, magazines, newspapers, or online forums. Social media sites such as TikTok and YouTube make excellent platforms for sharing your work and building a following, which can turn into a full-time salary. This could also be a useful way to ease into private work while continuing a traditional nursing position.
Pros and Cons of Working Independently as an RN
When burnout and stress are driving you to consider leaving a hospital or office nursing job, weighing all the benefits and potential drawbacks of making the leap to private practice is critical. You should fully review the regulations regarding what services you are allowed to offer and develop a plan to tailor your work. You’ll also need to objectively assess your strengths and weaknesses, such as whether you can successfully manage your own time and are willing to commit more hours in the beginning.
Many nurses will work a private job as a side hustle to prove they can make it pay before quitting a traditional position. A good start is to list tasks you prefer doing and those you would like to reduce to develop a picture of the kind of work you’d enjoy most. A sample list might look like this:
- Enjoy –
- One-on-one care with patients
- Working with the elderly
- Quiet, focused environment
- Occasional consultation with doctors and specialists
- Consistent schedule
- Local or limited commute
- Dislike –
- Hectic ER environment
- Constantly changing patients
- New locations or long commutes
- Longer or inconsistent work schedules
With a list like this, you would most likely enjoy being a private nurse or working in an assisted living facility as a nursing consultant or health educator. You could even advise a chain of facilities as a nutritional or wellness coach.
Other Potential Considerations
Other considerations are more technical, such as creating a business such as an LLC, obtaining a business license, determining if you need other employees, and ensuring you maintain tax and payroll commitments. This information is often available online or through colleges and universities to help you understand the realities of managing your own business.
You should consider how working independently will affect your family and home life. Working for yourself can be stressful but very satisfying. Having a plan with your loved ones to support your goals can significantly affect how quickly your dream comes to fruition.
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Check Your Licensure Needs
In addition to maintaining your nursing license, you may need to obtain other licenses or certifications to pursue some independent options. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation oversees jobs such as dietitians, midwives, and massage therapists. It’s wise to consult with a lawyer to ensure your proposed business is legal in your area and to overcome any licensing hurdles you may face.
Ensuring you have a plan for getting the correct licenses keeps you from being overwhelmed or having setbacks when you decide to leave your conventional nursing job.
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Bertolino LLP Is Ready to Advise You as an Independent Registered Nurse in Texas
Bertolino LLP specializes in license defense cases for those who need help regaining or fighting to maintain their licenses. We assist our clients in restoring their reputations when a complaint or issue threatens to ruin their livelihoods. We understand the nursing industry and can help you consider your choices when you’re ready to step into a new life as a registered nurse working independently in Texas.