Florence Nightingale Inc.

Increasingly, nurses set up independent medical practices

Often overworked and usually underpaid, the nurse has long been the doctor's reliable helpmate. Now more and more nurses, not content to be second-class citizens in the medical establishment, are hanging out their own shingles. They are seeing patients independently of doctors and opening up clinics. A San Rafael, Calif., newsletter, Nurse Entrepreneurs Exchange, estimates that in the past few years more than 10,000 nurses have gone into business for themselves. "Nurses can do more than change the bed and throw out the bedpan," says Joanne Gersten, who runs Erie Family Health Center, a 14-nurse clinic in Chicago.

The nurse practitioners...

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