Nurses are Entrepreneurs

Jackie Broz: Nurses Are Entrepreneurs

While most people don’t associate nursing professionals and students with entrepreneurship, it is becoming increasingly clear that the nursing field has been an underestimated and untapped source of entrepreneurship for quite some time–a problem the Veale Institute is looking to address, with all nontraditional entrepreneurial professions.

Todd Smith, director and assistant professor of the Dorothy Ebersbach Academic Center for Flight Nursing in the School of Nursing and 2020-21 Veale Fellow, and nursing student Jackie Broz (NUR ‘23), who participated in the Spring 2020 Remote Entrepreneurship Project (REP) Program, are two primary examples of the intersection of nursing and entrepreneurship at Case Western Reserve University. 

“Nurses are on the floor everyday, interacting with patients and the healthcare team,” Broz said. “This is a valuable position for an entrepreneurial spirit, right in the middle of things, prime for detecting problems and potential solutions.”

Smith and Broz both have the same entrepreneurial mindset that works alongside their healthcare and nursing knowledge, giving them insight into what should or could be changed to make certain settings function more efficiently.

Smith received his Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, his Master’s in Nursing and a PhD in Critical Care Nursing, after which he served as a Postdoctoral Nursing Fellow at University of Pittsburgh. Accompanying his impressive educational background in nursing, Smith has a history of entrepreneurship starting businesses in southern Ohio. 

Because of his morphed background in nursing and business, Smith recognizes one “epic fail” for nursing—they are not taught to be entrepreneurs from the beginning. To fix that oversight, Smith’s Veale Fellowship project focuses on creating a dual-degree program between the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and the Weatherhead School of Management. The programs will promote interprofessional, entrepreneurial learning by creating new pathways for undergraduate nursing students to foster venture creation and commercialization.

“Early exposure to entrepreneurship in the undergraduate program is essential,” Smith said. 

This program will help support students as the demands of nurses continue to grow. 

Broz agrees. Her experience in the REP program working for MCSquared Health, a startup that aims to simplify the medical billing process, opened her eyes to the deep rooted flaws of the healthcare system, not only in active care, but also on the administrative and financial sides.

“Entrepreneurship offers opportunities to improve patient and caregiver experience from many different angles and at a large scale,” Broz said.

She sees value when caregivers have an understanding of how the business of healthcare functions so that they can contribute to patient care with a more holistic approach, leading to more successful outcomes.

“My improved understanding of the current healthcare system from both the business and clinical perspectives has made me aware of administrative distractions from care, and in turn keeps me excited about how business and innovation can prompt change,” Broz said.

Needless to say, entrepreneurship is not only evident in nursing, but it is crucial to its day-to-day functioning. The Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship is dedicated to helping catalyze entrepreneurial mindsets and ideas within all disciplines. 

To stay up to date with the Veale Institute and hear about upcoming events, workshops and opportunities in entrepreneurship sign up for our newsletter. If you are a nursing student who is interested in learning more about entrepreneurship, please contact Doug DeGirolamo