Every time I hear from an APN who has fallen prey to a common misconception that prevents them from owning their own practice, I get so sad …and then a little mad. Here’s why…
What Many APNs (Falsely) Believe about Owning Their Own Practice
Here it goes. The number 1 reason why APN’s hesitate to start their own practice is because they believe: “I can’t start my own practice in my state without a physician having majority ownership”.
Yes you can! In every single state, APNs can own their own practice WITHOUT giving majority ownership to their collaborating physician. In fact, your physician can have ZERO ownership! And in some states, in some situations, you don’t need a physician at all. (I know, mind blown right?!)
And it really breaks my heart that this information has gotten so misconstrued. Why? Because it’s stopped way too many APNs from opening their own practice and providing a much needed service to their community. Our country is in desperate need of quality healthcare options. And APNs can undoubtedly be part of the solution. But false beliefs about laws and regulations have held them back from doing so!
Do You Have to Have a Collaborating Physician in Your State?
First, you want to find out if you live in a “Restricted State” or not. I’m in Texas which is a Restricted State – which means APN owners must have a collaborating physician. But not all States are restricted, so be sure to look up yours!
You can find even more answers about your state’s rules and regulations with one of our State-Specific Quick Start Guides for entrepreneurial APNs!
A Distinction that Confuses Many Advanced Practitioner Nurses About Owning Their Own Practice
We have to clarify something. Legally speaking, nurses practice advanced nursing; doctors practice medicine.
Like you, when I first heard that, my initial thought was, “What are you talking about?! Of course, I practice medicine!” But, technically, we don’t. And, truth be told, in many ways, it’s BETTER that we don’t practice medicine.
Nursing is holistic – focusing on the whole person (including their social circle and support system).
The medical model – on the other hand – is disease-focused.
In order to own a medical practice, legally-speaking, you must be licensed to practice medicine, which is – of course – regulated by the board of medicine. As nurse practitioners licensed by the board of nursing to practice advanced nursing, we cannot be majority owners of medical clinics but we CAN be majority owners of healthcare practices or family wellness centers, etc.
I know it sounds like semantics, but it’s not. It’s a good thing we practice advanced nursing instead of medicine. That gives us our own regulatory boards, and for the most part – removes us from the purview of the medical board. Ever wonder why you don’t see more PA-owned practices? They are regulated by the boards of medicine, which have historically made practice ownership very difficult for PAs in many states.
In Restricted States, Do Advanced Practitioner Nurses Have to Give Majority Ownership to Collaborating Physicians?
Heck no! Like I mentioned before, I live in the Restricted State of Texas and I fully own my practice. (Sometimes I feel like it doesn’t get more restricted than Texas!)
There are plenty of ways you can find the right fit for your Collaborating Physician and your business model.
Look, I know how confusing it can get. I’ve shared my story of how I had to figure out this whole start-your-own-practice thing with many nurses. And my story is not unique, in that for far too long nurses have been left out on their own to figure out their entrepreneurial journey.
That’s why, after I built 2 successful practices and now sit on the board for multiple healthcare companies, I wanted to make it easier for Advanced Practitioner Nurses to open up their own practices. Nurses are a determined bunch! All we need is a clear path and we’ll figure the rest out!
So, if you’re wanting to go down that path but also don’t want to get derailed by misinformation or false beliefs, I welcome you to check out the Launch Your Own APN Practice Course. Inside, you’ll not only get the information you need, but also the support you crave.
Whether you move forward with the Launch Your Own APN Practice Course as your guide or not, I encourage you to JUST. MOVE. FORWARD. You deserve to follow your calling to own your own practice, and your community deserves your quality care now more than ever.