Foot care is an important part of overall health, especially for seniors. But there exists a serious care gap in that area, and surprisingly, it is sometimes overlooked by healthcare providers and patients alike. Foot infections can lead to difficult complications such as osteomyelitis, amputations, and even death, in addition to increasing the fall risk and declining mobility. On a mission to fix the gap, Heather Wilson, a registered nurse (RN), started “Everyday Divinity” along with the Foot and Nail Institute to bridge that gap and build her own brand in the senior foot care niche.
Catering to the ‘Foot’ Needs
Heather is an old acquaintance when it comes to the medical industry. Along with an Associate Degree in Nursing, she holds foot care certifications, including CFCN and CFCS. Also, as part of her continuing research, she obtained a nail technology license from the Ohio Board of Cosmetology. The seed to become a nurse was sown early on in Heather’s life as her grandfather suffered a stroke and was tended to by amazing nurses who were nothing short of angels. She started her career in 2000 as a charge nurse on a vascular thoracic surgical (VTS) unit in Ohio.
Here, she witnessed first-hand how seniors struggled with foot care services, a widely neglected area, and depended on their family members to take care of them. This gave rise to a lot of lower extremity infections and amputations resulting from lack of appropriate foot care which were treated in the unit Heather worked in as skilled nursing care was the only solution to the otherwise overlooked problem at hand, or rather, ‘foot.’
Senior Foot Care 101
Heather’s experience working as a bedside nurse provided the foundation for “Everyday Divinity” in 2011, a safe medical-grade business model for caring for seniors. Her mission is to “create a business within her scope of practice as defined by the Ohio Board of Nursing, to deliver safe, effective, and routine foot care services.” The nurses working for the company deliver on-site medical grade services to senior centers, senior living facilities, community centers, and physician offices as they believe that access to safe, routine foot care should not be a challenge. Despite initial apprehensions about the venture’s success, word of mouth spread even more quickly than she anticipated, and she has already provided services to over 7,000 patients in Ohio, making her a well-known name in the industry.
With age, issues such as declining vision, lack of dexterity, and reduced flexibility plague the ability of seniors to take care of their own feet. Heather realizes the importance of the personal touch when it comes to dealing with senior patients. For those who opt for her services, she starts off by doing a professional assessment of their current foot health and discusses specific concerns, including nail trimming, callus treatment, and any other foot care goals they might have. The next step is the treatment of the conditions with a gentle approach using only sterile tools in a comfortable environment keeping the patient’s health and peace of mind.
Empowering Nurses to Tap into Unlimited Potential
After the resounding success of her first venture, combined with multiple requests from nurses to learn her business model, Heather decided to start “The Foot and Nail Institute” to help them learn how to successfully start and run their own foot care enterprises. The online course consists of three modules to teach nurses how to start, run and grow a foot care business of their own: The Business of Foot Care, The Practice of Foot Care, and The Community of Foot Care. The institute also provides hands-on training, website building/hosting, webinar meetups, a membership community, and a private social media app that allows nurses support along the way, so they do not feel alone in the journey.
Heather lists two things that are critical if one wants to become a nurse entrepreneur: self-discipline and faith in oneself. The nursing industry is at a pivotal point, with many walking away from jobs, despite having worked hard for their degrees. Heather feels strongly for those nurses and urges them to look beyond just the bedside and think of contributing to senior healthcare in a manner that benefits them as well. Her institute is there to help, of course! “Our program will teach you how to use the nursing skills you already possess to become the nursing business owner you desire to be. The path is not difficult when you follow a detailed road map, have confidence in your skills, and have a support group of successful nurses cheering you on,” says Heather.
Advocating for the Advancement of Foot Health
Becoming a nurse entrepreneur enabled Heather to lead a better life and have a healthy work-life balance. She emphasizes that providing care to seniors through “Everyday Divinity” healed her of the burnout she endured as a bedside nurse. And she ensures that one would never have to pick between professional commitments and familial responsibilities after choosing the entrepreneurial path. Tons of alternatives and opportunities exist, and Heather wants nurses to explore the same. It is no wonder then that her hard work and dedication, besides a strong history of business development within the nursing industry, have earned her many accolades. As an advocate for nurse entrepreneurship, she is an affiliate of the National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA), an organization that promotes and supports nurses and their businesses. She is often invited to numerous speaking engagements related to nursing entrepreneurship.
Nurse entrepreneurship is on the rise, and Heather advocates for nurses to start off on their own because she believes it gives them the opportunity to provide a necessary service to their patients while battling the burnout that many nurses face. Further, it will help them build a successful and financially secure life as it has the scope of unlimited income as opposed to a fixed salary. Starting any business is daunting but given the right attitude and navigating the inherent challenges can result in a fulfilling career.