What Small Business Can Learn from Nurses

By | May 23, 2011

Nurses are a hard-working bunch who do important jobs while working long hours on –what can be argued to be – low salaries. They don’t always get the respect they deserve even though they do some of the most important work in clinics and hospitals around the country. As a group, they represent some very admirable values – values that any small business would benefit from trying to emulate in their employees and their business practices.


Every day, nurses are asked to make important decisions in emergency situations. They have to think on their feet and take the lead in executing those decisions. Making the wrong decision – or making no decision – could result in the serious injury or death of a patient. While small business transactions may not require life-or-death decisions, they do require innovative thinking and leadership. The ability of its employees to make quick and thoughtful decisions and to ensure that policies are implemented is key to the success of any small business.


Nurses have to know themselves well and to know their own strengths and weaknesses. Understanding when they need help is critical to ensuring that a patient gets the proper care, even if they aren’t the ones providing it. Small business leaders must also cultivate a strong sense of self and be able to accurately identify strengths and weaknesses. Whatever weaknesses a leader recognizes in himself – inability to communicate well, problems with organization, and so on – he can ensure that he finds as strengths in his employees and managers. This will ensure the health of the whole organization.


In emergency situations, being able to work well in a team is absolutely vital. Nurses have to work with doctors, other nurses, technicians, and others to ensure that a patient receives critical care. Teamwork is also critical to the success of a business. Many people come together to run a business, all with differing opinions and personalities. It is important to understand how to work well with all types of people and to communicate well to ensure that a job is done well.

Seeing the Big Picture

While nurses often have to respond to immediate health threats and concerns, they also have to think about a person’s overall health and what the consequences of any decision will have on long-term health. Small business owners also have to think about how business decisions will impact customer satisfaction, long-term profits, and investor relations. Many decisions have an immediate effect in the short term – quarterly profits, hires and losses, and customer relations – but all of these decisions have a cumulative effect on the health of the business.

Continuing Education

Finally, nurses understand that their field is always changing, and that there is always something new to learn about developments in treatment and how to properly care for patients. New advances are made, new procedures developed, new courses of therapy advised. To be able to provide the best care for their patients, nurses have to continue to learn about these developments. Small business owners must also stay abreast of changes in their market so that they can adequately serve customers and remain competitive. Entrepreneurs should make it a point to learn about new business strategies, changing marketing tools, best practices for minimizing loss, and so on.

Though it may seem like nurses and small business owners operate in distinct realms, it is easy to see how entrepreneurs can learn much from these respected health practitioners.

Bio: Born and raised in North Carolina, Heather Green has worked as a fashion and beauty consultant as well as freelancing for various wedding, fashion, and health publications. She currently acts as the resident blogger for Online Nursing Degrees where she’s been researching hyperbaric nursing programs as well as flight nursing programs.