Entrepreneurship and nurse entrepreneurs lead the way to the development of nurses’ role and professional identity in clinical practice: A qualitative study

Lizette Jakobsen*, Laura Wacher Qvistgaard, Bettina Trettin, Mette Juel Rothmann

*Corresponding author for this work

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Aims and objectives: To explore the experiences and perspectives of nurses’ transition into entrepreneurship in a clinical and cultural nursing setting and the impact of entrepreneurship on the nurses’ role and professional identity. Background: Entrepreneurship is a relatively unknown phenomenon in international nursing research, and the prevalence of entrepreneurial nurses is only 0.5–1% of all working nurses globally. Unfortunately, several barriers occur within the healthcare system and existing nursing culture that may affect the potential of bringing entrepreneurship into the nursing profession. Design: The qualitative study used a phenomenological–hermeneutical approach based on an interpretative phenomenological analysis and COREQ-guided reporting. Methods: Nine individual, semi-structured interviews were conducted face to face (n = 6) and by telephone (n = 3) with Danish nurse entrepreneurs between February and March 2019. Results: The analysis revealed four themes: (a) prejudice towards entrepreneurship; (b) to become an entrepreneur in a nursing culture; (c) rebellion against the traditional role as employee and (d) challenged professional identity and new professional roles. Conclusion: Nurse entrepreneurs are caught between traditional and new ways of viewing nursing identity, norms, values and roles, and they face a conflict of professional values and a stereotyped view of ‘real’ nursing. Our findings show that entrepreneurship entails a huge learning process that develops nurses’ ability to think outside the box in a broader health perspective and challenge the existing nursing culture and role. However, nurse entrepreneurs’ ability to engage in entrepreneurship is compromised by professional values, the duty to behave as a good nurse and their own prejudices towards entrepreneurs. Impact: Entrepreneurship and nurse entrepreneurs pose a huge potential development of the nursing role and identity, as they challenge the current view on the nursing profession. This development is important for patients and health professionals, as future health challenges call for new ways of thinking and acting.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)4142-4155
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • entrepreneurs
  • entrepreneurship
  • innovation
  • nurse entrepreneurs
  • nurses
  • nursing
  • nursing culture
  • nursing identity
  • nursing profession
  • nursing roles


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