What is the name of your company?
What exactly does your company do?
We help nurses with license protection and empowerment. At Brown Law Office we represent nurses who have concerns or may have an action against their license or employment.
Empowered Nurses is an organization designed to teach nurses the simple way to speak their mind, stand in their power, and be a change agent to improve patient care. Our signature system is called GIFTS which is an acronym. “G” is for giving, “I” is for integrity, “F” for focus and follow through, “T” for trust and “S” for source.
We believe that when nurses use their GIFTS, they are helped in making the right decisions.
Why did you start this company?
There’s really no one looking out for nurses. Nurses take care of everyone else but don’t necessarily take care of themselves. I feel like I’m the nurse for nurses in helping them to protect their most valuable asset, their license.
I also believe that nurses are 80% of the workforce and have 0% of the power! Like dietary and housekeeping, nurses come with the room yet have all the answers to the problems of health care. Nurses are either afraid to speak up or, if they do, they are not heard.
If nurses were in charge of the decisions, we would have a completely different health care institution to provide the quality care that all nurses want to give. See Empowered Nurses Bill of Rights.
What was the process like? Help us understand what it is like for a nurse to start their own business
There is a saying that “the bigger the ‘why,’ the easier the ‘how.’” If you have a big enough “why,” you will succeed. My “why” is to help all nurses learn how to protect their most valuable asset and to change the culture of nursing to be one of support and empowerment.
When I started my business, I was a single mom, pregnant with my second child and had just lost my job as a partner in a law firm when the insurance company I represented went out of business. I had no choice but to start my own business because, no doubt, pregnancy does not equal billable hours.
It was the best decision I have ever made.
Your business is a reflection of me and more I grow inside, the more my business grows. I love learning about myself and it so amazing how it is reflected in my business.
“It takes courage to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.”
– Mary Ann Williamson –
I would love to see nurses wake up and take control of their practice and the profession.
As nurses, we are caregivers and not business people. However, the good news is that we can learn the business skills to successfully run our own business. I think the hardest part for me was learning the business skills because there was no paint-by-numbers approach that I use because there was no one else doing what I was doing in starting such a business.
What has been the most rewarding thing about starting your business?
Certainly helping other nurses all over the country has been very gratifying. Also, I love the freedom and flexibility in being able to be with my 3 kids. That has been the most rewarding.
What would you say is the most important resource for a nurse who wants to start their own business?
Get a good mentor to help you. I have had a coach from the time I started my business and every time when I’ve outgrown one and moved on to another mentor, my business grows. To help pay it forward, I also am a mentor of nurses who are starting their own businesses.
Do you have any success stories to share?
When starting your own business, I think at first you feel like you can’t do this because of our belief system. But once we create new evidence that we can succeed, we really can.
Henry Ford used to say: “If you think you can, you can … if you think you can’t, you can’t! Either way, you’re right.” I choose to be on the side of thinking I can.
Every day is a successful day when I can help a nurse who deserves to keep her license.
Other success stories include teaching nurses how to use their GIFTS and, when they actually use them, hearing their own success stories. I am truly grateful to hear their stories and how anyone using the GIFTS can make significant changes where they work.
Another success story is a nurse who had a group of nurses who came to her unit once a week to get their training. However, the staff of nurses already working there would complain about the younger student nurses saying, “What are they teaching them in nursing schools?” “These nurses don’t know anything…” “They waste my time.”
After hearing this grumping week after week, her stomach would turn and finally she said to her peers, “If you were a student nurse coming onto this unit, would you want to work here?”
All of them said … “No!”
She used her GIFTS, and then said, “We need to change our attitude on how we feel about the student nurses so that we can give them the best experience that we can. They will be working beside us soon and we want to help them every way we can.”
From that day forward, after talking with her co-workers, the nursing students were taken under the wings of the experienced staff who taught the younger ones everything that they knew. Thereafter, they all had a great experience on that unit.
Do you have any unfortunate stories?
I advise that you always get a contract when you go to work with someone and ask for pre-payment up front. You are in business to make money. If you have something valuable to offer that people need, they will pay for it. The sole reason why nurses start their own business is to make money by providing a valuable service. You deserve to get paid for what you do.
What do you want other nurses to take away from this interview?
not really, I think this is enough…contact me if you have questions or need more information.
Are you currently making six figures?
Yes, I am.
I graduated from Indiana University School of nursing with a BSN in 1982 and then attended the University of California at Los Angeles school of nursing where I earned a master’s degree.
I was a dedicated nurse for twelve years practicing in gynecology, urology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, general surgery, home health care and medical-surgical nursing. Just like all of Indiana’s nurses, I maintain my license and until recently I practiced as a camp nurse every summer.
To be closer to my family, I returned to the Midwest where I managed a neurosurgical unit where I thrived knowing that I was making a difference. During that time, I studied Law at Indiana University which led to my getting a J.D. in 1990.
After law school, I went to work for the Indiana Department of Insurance defending the interests of the Patient’s Compensation Fund. For the next six years, I defended physicians and hospitals against claims of medical malpractice at a law firm. Now, I focus my practice on assisting nurses and other health care professionals before the Nursing Board or other licensing boards.
I remain committed to continuing education. I take every opportunity to stay abreast of current legal trends, issues, and changes. With this passion for learning and personal growth, I enjoy the challenges of being an outstanding advocate in my field.
When not dealing with legal and medical issues, I am raising three children, the eldest which has now gone to college. Those who know me would probably say I thrive on serving others. I appreciate and make the most of every opportunity that comes my way. I love what I do and commit 100% of my considerable energy to every task I undertake.
As I mentioned, I formed Empowered Nurses to help nurses protect their licenses, so they can do their jobs with confidence, focus on serving their patients, and regain the joy in the profession they love. I also want to give nurses a forum to exchange ideas and change the practice of nursing for the better. Empowered Nurses offers all of those benefits to our members and I am proud to be of service to them.