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Connecting Families and Nurse Entrepreneurs

The Columbia University School of Nursing has produced transformative nurses, research, and ideas for well over a century. In a few months, this historical school will celebrate its 125th anniversary. Featured in the Fall/Winter 2016 release of The Magazine of the Columbia University School of Nursing are six alumni whose ventures are providing innovation in nursing science. The magazine in its entirety can be viewed for free at the link below. We are grateful to have been selected as one of the nurse entrepreneurs that is meeting today’s healthcare challenges.

Columbia University School of Nursing

The Magazine of the Columbia University School of Nursing

 

Many business ventures build on the desire to better connect supply to demand. When it comes to linking families with nurses to provide one-on-one care, the need has been largely unmet. This became clear to Sam Jaquish and his co-founders of the professional networking site NurSearch when one of them was looking for a position and had difficulty finding an online resource specific to connecting families with nurses. Last year, Jaquish, along with four partners— including three former Columbia Nursing classmates: Martin Guerin ’13 ’16, Ryan Maleknia ’13, and Kasey Woodin ’14—began building their website, and in April NurSearch went live. Using the NurSearch platform, both nurses and potential employers can create professional profiles, manage listings and contact parties that offer services or jobs specific to their needs. “The real core of the site is finding the perfect nurse for each individual, or the perfect job for each nurse,” says Jaquish. What makes the perfect fit? Some factors, such as speaking the same language or the distance someone is able to travel to work, are priorities. More individual factors include communication style; for example, some patients want to be left alone to sleep and rest, while others are looking for companionship and conversation. For some, how much a particular nurse charges is a deciding factor. “We encourage our nurses to set their own prices,” says Jaquish. “They are all independent providers and manage their own businesses.” When the networking started up last April, Jaquish and his co-founders thought it might be challenging to convince families to hire nurses through a website. “It’s been the opposite,” he says, adding that the site regularly has 400 families seeking nurses. “Nurses are our country’s largest class of healthcare workers, but right now they’re incredibly inaccessible to employers,” he says. Through NurSearch, nurses can find listings for a variety of jobs in private care, in doctor’s offices, as health coaches or in consulting. Similar to companies such as AirBnB and Uber, NurSearch incorporates social accountability into its website; nurses can review clients, offering an assessment to those interested in this information. NurSearch does not charge nurses a fee to sign up because, according to Jaquish, “We want to do everything we can to empower nurses to be entrepreneurs.”

 

Written by Naomi Freundlich. Photographs by Jörg Meyer.

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