I was talking to a nurse practitioner recently who owns her own practice. She told me every time she asks for payment from a patient, she feels an extreme sense of guilt.
“Is this normal?” she asked. “Have you ever experienced this? What do I do about it?”
I understood where she was coming from because I’ve experienced the same feelings too – especially when I first started my practice. Here’s what I’ve learned to help me overcome those feeling of guilt, and still maintain healthy and happy relationships with my patients.
Asking patients to pay fairly for your services comes down to valuing yourself and charging what you’re worth. Many nurse entrepreneurs struggle with this, myself included.
Mind Games Around Money
When I started my practice (in Texas, mind you), I spent a good portion of the first year looking over my shoulder; I was sure that somebody would come after me for owning my own practice as an NP. I felt like I was doing something “wrong,” even though it was completely legal.
I don’t know if I said the words, but I definitely thought, “I’m just an NP.”
How many of you have said that to yourself? (Or maybe some of you have even thought or said, “I’m just a mom?”)
These statements undermine the vital role you play as a nurse practitioner and sell short the tremendous value you provide – to both your patients and to society!
Don’t let this kind of thinking chip away at your self-worth.
Somewhere along the way I recognized the toxicity around these thoughts/words and began telling myself instead: “I’m providing an amazing quality of care and an unparalleled customer experience. There is value to what I do.”
And, about a year into my practice I even decided to raise my prices. This was not a quick, easy decision. But it was the right decision, for my business, for me, and, yes, even for my patients.
Guess what happened? With only a couple exceptions, everybody paid.
This reaction validated what I knew to be true – if the level of skill you possess and the quality of care you provide are valuable, you can charge what you’re worth and patients will happily pay it.
Healthy Head, Healthy Bank Account
If you’re a nurse entrepreneur, it might be worth taking time to consider if you’re selling yourself short. As NPs, we’re often more comfortable taking care of others and advocating on their behalf than we are taking care of ourselves and advocating on our own behalf. We have a hard time recognizing and honoring our self-worth.
It’s a struggle for many of us. There is no magic pill, but the most helpful thing I did was go to therapy. This has been a game-changer both in my personal happiness and in my success as a business owner.
Research shows that one of the biggest reasons startups fail is because of unresolved emotional issues of their founders. Unresolved emotional issues tend to lead to bad business decisions, so dealing with those issues is critical as an entrepreneur.
When I’m having a difficult time valuing myself, I also find that thinking about my family makes things easier. The time I spend working is time away from my husband and my children, and because that time with them is extremely valuable to me, my time at work deserves to have an appropriate monetary value attached to it.
With my children, especially my daughter, I think about the type of example I want to set for them. Children look up to their parents and emulate our behavior, so I want to show my daughter that she should value herself and that she is worth it.
The Beauty of Outsourcing in the Modern Era
Once your practice grows, it might help to delegate patient transactions to someone else. That’s what I did within my practice. It was difficult for me to be both the caregiver and the one accepting payment, so I handed that duty off to someone else. Doing so alleviated that stress and allowed me to focus on providing excellent care for my patients.
If you’re a solo provider without any help, you might consider the use of technology to help you with payments. For example, you can send payment requests via Spruce.
I know not every nurse entrepreneur is comfortable discussing the topic of money. If you struggle valuing yourself and charging appropriately for your services, it takes self-awareness, self-belief, and bold action to shift that paradigm and view yourself in the right light.
Saying “I’m worth it” is not easy, but once you do, you’ll see that others agree with you.