I would like to start my own business to provide foot care services. I have taken a relevant foot care training course, but I’m curious to know if there are any other issues I must consider before launching my foot care business?
In addition to ensuring they have the relevant skills, knowledge and training to deliver the intended health-care services, nurses who are self-employed must be mindful of a variety of issues including accountability, licensing requirements, business management, professional obligations and liability protection.
Because nurses in independent practice do not generally operate under the direct control of an employer, health-care institution or physician, they are directly accountable to their patients and to the public. This autonomy means increased potential liability when making independent nursing assessments and providing care. Working independently may also create additional legal responsibilities as a tenant, landlord or employer.
In some jurisdictions, nurses are required to report to or seek approval from their nursing regulator for their self-employed nursing practice. Whether or not a formal requirement exists, nurses are encouraged to contact their nursing regulator to ensure that the services provided are within the scope of nursing. Nurses should also be mindful of any professional limitations imposed by their nursing regulator on their independent practice (e.g., conflict of interest, advertising, solicitation of clients and endorsement of products).
It is recommended that, prior to commencing any independent practice, nurses consult with a business lawyer, accountant or tax specialist to review possible business structures, and their tax and legal implications. Options for structuring a business include a sole proprietorship, an association, a partnership, and incorporation.
Nurses in independent practice are eligible for full CNPS benefits, the same as nurses in any other nursing role, provided that they are a CNPS beneficiary and they hold a valid licence to practice in the jurisdiction in which they are providing their nursing services. CNPS liability protection extends only to the individual nurse who provides professional nursing services. It does not generally extend to the nurse’s incorporated company, a partnership, the directors or shareholders of a corporation, or any employees.
Nurses who are self-employed may therefore need other types of liability protection in addition to the professional liability protection that is offered by CNPS. For example, they may require commercial general liability insurance if the business or the nurse is named as a defendant in a claim alleging personal injury or property damage to a third party as a result of the commercial operation of the business and/or premises.
Nurses may purchase business insurance products from the commercial insurance market. Business insurance options are available to CNPS beneficiaries. To learn more, visit “Operating a Business or Independent Practice?” or contact CNPS at 1-800-267-3390.
Published January 2016
THIS PUBLICATION IS FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. NOTHING IN THIS PUBLICATION SHOULD BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE FROM ANY LAWYER, CONTRIBUTOR OR THE CNPS. READERS SHOULD CONSULT LEGAL COUNSEL FOR SPECIFIC ADVICE.