People often ask me “Why did you become a nurse?” My answer is similar to nurses everywhere: I became a nurse because I wanted to help people, to make a difference in the lives of others, to change the world for the better. I became a nurse because when I first graduated college with a degree in International Relations from Boston University my first job left me feeling uninspired – and after a conversation with my favorite nurse, my mother, it had me applying to nursing school. However, I have not stayed a nurse for the same reasons I became a nurse, my reasons have morphed into a strong desire to empower nurses and individuals alike in healthcare - both here in the United States and abroad - and ultimately the reason I founded HireNurses.com.
Long before I knew I wanted to be a nurse, I knew I wanted to impact the world and people in a positive way. However, it wasn’t until I became a nurse that I was really able to do this and ended up taking a trip to the Dominican Republic - along the border of Haiti - with a group of fellow nurses and Nurse Practitioners to provide medical and nursing care to villages that had little access to such resources. It was an experience that changed my life. When you see the inequalities and discrepancies in the world over such basic a right as access to healthcare it changes you. It will either inspire you or overwhelm you with the sheer need – and it is how you respond to such situations that will ultimately determine your own future.
In the fall of 2014, I launched HireNurses.com – a platform that connects anyone with nurses and nurses with any type of career opportunity. I knew from day one that I wanted this platform to help people everywhere – from family’s struggling to connect with care in the United States to families around the world needing access to better healthcare. I wasn’t exactly sure how we were going to do this, but I was exploring opportunities where I believed we could help organizations connect with nurses to provide healthcare in a wide variety of settings.
In January 2015, I came across Sylvia’s Children, an amazing organization that is transforming the lives of a 1,000 Children, including 233 Orphans, in Uganda Africa. Sylvia coordinates a medical mission trip every year to staff their newly built medical center, but she had struggled to connect with nurses to join her on her trip. This is where HireNurses was able to help, HireNurses.com partnered with Sylvia’s Children to connect them to nurses who want to spend a few weeks a year in Uganda Africa on a Medical Mission Trip. It’s an amazing experience that allows nurses to step outside of their own life while truly making a difference. And you never know how one such experience can impact your own life and future – just read Sylvia’s own story and you will see how one trip led to 12 years of meaningful and instrumental change in Uganda Africa, and from my own experience in the Dominican Republic that ultimately led me to where I am today.
If you are reading this blog and thinking about your own future or starting a company, here is my insight. Starting a company isn’t easy. It takes a lot of hard work, late hours, overcoming critics who don’t believe what you are doing will really do much of anything – and still get up every day to work on and build it. But the truth is, what you create, what you build, it is yours. It is your blood, sweat, tears, dreams, vision and hopes for the future all wrapped up in what you have created – and for that one reason, it is unlike anything else you will ever do in your life. The first step begins with you.
For HireNurses.com we boot-strapped – cashing out my mother’s retirement as an oncology nurse to build our platform. We didn’t do an incubator or go for funding, instead every night for nearly a year from 9pm to Midnight I was on the phone with my Web-Developer to build HireNurses.com. I built HireNurses.com in between raising 3 small children and working a full-time nursing position. I did it because I believed in what we were building – I knew from personal experience as a Hospice Nurse Practitioner that there needed to be a better way for individuals and businesses to connect with nurses – and as a Nursing Professor I knew there needed to be a place that empowered nurses in their profession to keep them practicing from their first day to their last.
My advice to you: There is no time like the present – and there will be no perfect time. In life you are given few opportunities that will truly define you in ways that building your own business will. It is an opportunity to do something completely different from what you have ever known. It will be hard to build, but even harder once you launch. Stick with it and always come back to the place from where you built it – the belief that what you are building will make a difference.
Today, thousands of nurses across the United States have registered on HireNurses.com empowering them in their profession; but our greatest success is in the families with children of special needs and aging loved ones who have been able to connect with nurses they previously could not find and helping Sylvia’s Children connect with nurses for Medical Mission Trips to Uganda, Africa. It is still the start and a long way from the end – but it’s the journey to keep making a difference that keeps us going. Carpe Diem!
Rebecca Love is an Adult Nurse Practitioner, Professor of Nursing and Founder of HireNurses.com. She lives in Boston with her husband and 3 children.
To learn more about HireNures see: http://hirenurses.com/