Welcome to the 1st installment of Nurse Boss. A blog series dedicated to nurses.
I was guided to create this series after a spark of creativity within my soul felt that it would help thousands of nurses.
My hope is that these interviews will ignite a spark in you or stir your inner landscape in a way that propels you to dream big and go after what it is that you desire in life and career.
A Nurse Boss is a nurse who has created a lifestyle that aligns their passion with their natural gifts and energy style in a way that helps others while also honoring their own body, mind, and soul. A nurse boss walks their talk and they are open to receive the abundance that is theirs.
I would like to introduce David Gomez. David and I met after he commented on my LinkedIN post “Nurses as Inventors”. You can read it here: http://bit.ly/1Q4BRPl
David and I became fast friends and I am delighted to share his insight, wisdom, and generosity with you in the first installment of Nurse Boss.
- What are you doing now?
These days I am running a medical device start up, iMT: infinitus Medical Technologies. We have been in business since 2013. Our first patient positioning product, the iON ESPS® ergonomic surgical positioning system, launched in 2015. The iON is a unique arm adduction product that serves as not just an improvement over current standards of care, it guides process improvements through its utility by standardizing a highly variable and injurious surgical position. At this year’s AORN conference in Anaheim we will launch our new Hadron FPLSTM system. Like the iON, this system is a benchmark product, but for the Trendelenburg surgical position. It can be used with or without the iON ESPS®.
After many years of clinical experience and wisdom gained in the OR, I decided instead of complaining about a lack of truly clinical focused product solutions, that I would do something about it and build a company around the ideas that I have had for years. It has been an honor and a privilege being a CRNA for the last 13 years, still practicing when I can. The experiences and relationships gained throughout my career have enriched my life immensely. What better testament to those relationships is there if I could somehow make a difference by creating products that served to improve safety for both patients and providers.
- Did you always have the desire to do what you are doing now or did someone or something create a spark in you that made you realize this was your calling?
Finding your true calling in life can come at any age. Some people know it from the time they are impressed upon by a subject or event early in their lives, while other’s sparks evolve over time, only after they have been exposed to life’s trials and tribulations. The spark can be either be extinguished or fanned to create a flame. Just make sure the fire doesn’t consume you! For me, I had great role models during my Navy years, following me into my profession
It takes courage to step out of your comfort zone. Life throws us curve balls anyway to remove us from our comfort, so in theory you are already prepared for the road to self-determination. You just have to make a conscious decision to step out and persevere.
I am truly blessed for having my family’s support, even when things have been grim. We have tremendous faith in God’s plan for us. Every time we have hit a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, we overcame with both wisdom, courage, and faith. My business partners have also been a strong motivator for. Trust me, it does take a village.
Understand that being prepared for success or failure is ok. Trying something new. As long as you have a good plan of attack, it’s more than most will ever try. Don’t ever worry about criticisms along the way, they should fuel you to succeed and try even more. Those who criticize have either no courage, or have become complacent with their own successes. Most successful people will serve as a sounding board and offer advice and encouragement to assist your journey. Stay away from those who want to charge you money!!!!!
- Why is nursing a great launchpad for nurses who want to create their own lifestyle doing what they love?
Nursing offers a wide degree of career options. Nursing education prepares you for the bare bones basics of care provision. The real career starts your first day on the floor, or in your respective care environments. The career opportunities available based on your degree are limitless.
Too many nurses (and care providers in general) become apathetic and jaded after years of being under appreciated and over utilized. When you feel overwhelmed and toxic, step back and reevaluate your position and perhaps seek another career within nursing. If at all possible, take a travel assignment and see the US, or even the world. Open your eyes to the world and understand how workplace cultures differ from hospital to hospital. Find one that fits your passion and goals towards career fulfillment.
- What is the ultimate characteristic of a nurse boss?
Nurse bosses or managers, where do I start? Healthcare is a dynamic beast. Politics, greed, and apathy have set us back on many levels. The Affordable Care Act, or as I like to call: the law of diminishing return, has transformed our careers in many ways, both seen and unseen.
Nurses both young and old, have entered this profession to make a difference. They wished to serve the needs of their patients, while providing themselves a long fulfilling career in an esteemed profession. The reality is that over the last 15 years, nurses quickly became second class citizens. They were over utilized and burdened to meet many, almost daily requirements, written by some clipboard committee under the auspices of improving care. Most have chosen to eat their young, discouraging the new generation of nurses from fulfilling their life long duty to patients.
As a result, nurses began leaving the profession after a few years of burn out, or took the only other option: management. This attrition allowed nurses with very little experience to assume management positions for which they were ill prepared. Suddenly we found ourselves surrounded by inadequate nurse managers who either chose the promotion, or attritional managers who were given the promotion due to their year(s) of service. When the ACA came along, these forces were assembled to provide even more unattainable metrics driven toward value driven patient outcomes.
But are all these new rules really necessary? Have we created a monster, a bureaucracy that serves only to create an endless set of rules and requirements that only serve to distract us from hands on, compassionate care? Who vets these requirements? What governing organization handles these requirements and then disseminates achievable goals for the benefit of providers and patients?
Nurse bosses should be both leaders and followers. They should listen to all constructive advice and criticisms and then form deductive processes for success. They should lead by example by continuing to work their respective environments from time to time, so they can keep up with the needs of their colleagues and their patients. Above all, they should question everything? Do not follow blindly and always look out for your colleagues.
- What was the biggest obstacle you’ve faced to get to where you are now? How were you able to overcome it?
To bring an idea to a market ready product is difficult. It is a steep, steep, learning process. Learning from every failure or miscalculation is key to never repeating them. We made some mistakes at every step early in process, but thankfully they cost us more time than money.
We made many connections along the way. Many valuable partnerships and friendships help us maintain our daily momentum.
Capital raising and team building is always hard. I self-funded the majority of this business in the early days, this is called “”skin in the game”. You will never bring in capital through friends or family, and especially angel investors, if you don’t put your own money into your idea. Passion is key, but focus is just as important. Some may not understand your complete vision and that’s ok. Your goal is to convince them and make sure they fully understand it. Your vision has to be easily translated. You still have to listen to others and value their input. I have matured in many ways throughout this process. It is either character building or character destructing. It’s your choice. Be humble and true to your course.
We overcame a great deal of capital needs this past year, the value of these partners were vital to building the foundation of experience this company needed to grow. Always surround yourself with valued members and beware of bringing on friends to your board of managers! Never take “dumb” money from people who don’t understand your vision. If they are willing to invest that’s fine, just don’t add them to your board. Set defined goals for your partners and discuss with them what you expect and above all, put it in writing.
- What does your current job allow you to do that traditional nursing did not?
My position as founder of this company allows me to create ideas and bring them to reality. How fun is that? This path allowed me to mature as an effective speaker, listener, father, husband, and follower of God.
Interacting with nurses and providers across the US has given me a deep insight into the challenges we all face as a profession, as an industry. This is the most important wisdom gained.
By creating products that guide process improvements and evolve methodologies of care, I can help minimize the burden that nurses face on the most mundane daily tasks they perform, while allowing them more time to focus on the other daily requirements they are tasked, and more importantly, their patients.
All nurses have ideas for creating better ways to do our jobs, and it’s ok if another better way comes along in the future. Where would we be in medicine or humanity for that matter, if we didn’t evolve our processes?
- For nurses who feel stuck in their careers what words of wisdom do you have to help inspire them to break out of their status quo?
Don’t ever be afraid of failing. Be afraid of not trying. Failure often leads to success.
Make sure you have a strong support system involving family, friends, and faith.
- What resources can you share nurses wanting to explore creating their own gig that actually pays them?
Reality is, it’s not always glorious. You are often times in a lonely place, serving as both financier and the bathroom attendant, often ridiculed and criticized, and you always hear more no’s than yes’s. It’s humbling and fulfilling. It’s not always the success that ends with a mansion on the hill, and quite frankly it’s a lot of work. What you gain is self-fulfillment, maturity, and the pride of being your own boss. If your goal is to make a difference in the world, than it’s worth more than any pleasure money can give you.
As for money: you need it to start and you need it to maintain. It’s often a revolving cycle in the early days. Understanding cashflow is the key to sustainability! Embrace the mystery of success or failure. Success in not for the weary.
Honestly the best resource I could provide that gives you an insight into creating a business is to watch HBO’s Silicon Valley. It is funny and crass, but the lessons learned over the course of two seasons gives you an idea of the trials and tribulations all entrepreneurs face and the critical mass their decisions or mistakes can take in the early days.
There are plenty of free resources in your states, here are just a few:
Small Business & Technology Development Center
Small Business Administration
For legal/IP advice please contact me and I can help guide you in the right direction.
If you would like to speak with me, I can make every attempt to provide advice at [email protected]
Now for fun:
- What book or publication is currently on your nightstand?
The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries
- If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
A good bowl of Japanese tonkotsu ramen.
- How can we get in touch with you?
Please Visit: https://www.infinitusmedical.com/the-ion-esps/
Let me know if you have any questions. Thank you so much for your energy and interest.
Now after you let all of this sink in, please share your biggest take away from David’s interview. How can you apply some of his tips in your life and career?
Until the next installment of Nurse Boss, keep owning your awesome.
Are you a Nurse Boss or do you know a Nurse Boss? Please connect with me at 347-766-8773 or email me at [email protected] so we can share you work with the world.