Nurses can (and should) belong to the gig economy too!

The gig economy benefits many businesses, as a recent Inc.com article by Jeff Haden explains (https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/want-a-counterintuitive-way-to-grow-your-business-.html). For the unfamiliar, the “gig” or “sharing” economy is defined as a labor market characterized by the prevalence of freelance work instead of permanent jobs.  A large number of skilled, available workers can bring to many positive effects to a business, and those effects are more visible than ever.  And it’s not a one-sided benefit.  Workers with entrepreneurial spirit can market their talents to the highest bidders, making larger sums of money while enjoying the flexibility of working on their terms.  The shift in thinking of one’s self as a valuable and independent worker, instead of a traditionally-defined “employee”, has opened up countless opportunities in industries
like travel and hospitality — opportunities that didn’t exist before.

Despite this paradigm shift, a few arenas have yet to see a broad acceptance of entrepreneurial-minded workers.  Healthcare is one of them, specifically outside the
realm of physician practice.  Nursing, for example, is a highly valued and sought-after skill.  RNs spend years honing their craft through degrees, certifications, continuing education, and day in, day out experience.  Quality nurses, those who give their all to their patients, are a tremendous asset to wherever they practice.  Yet it’s not common, or even encouraged, for nurses to see themselves as entrepreneurs.  Is it taboo to think of healing skills as independently marketable assets?  Specialized physicians often market their hard earned talents to enable themselves to practice across many different places, with highly beneficial results.  So why aren’t RN jobs thought of in the same manner? Undoubtedly, there is nothing wrong with a great nurse who wants to offer his or her abilities to one hospital for the duration of his or her career.  But for those nurses who think of themselves as founders of their own personal startup, they should be empowered to promote their efforts as far as they feel comfortable.  And if more hospitals have access to these fantastic nurses, the better off patients will be.

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