Lori Radcliffe RN is the founder of Fitness Nurse Consultant™ and I had the pleasure of asking her about this alternative nursing career. She has combined her background in fitness with her nursing expertise into one extraordinary career and signature programs for nurses who want to do the same. She is the perfect example of how any nurse can take a passion and turn it into a thriving and successful business. Be sure to read to the end to learn more about the programs she offers to nurses. There is a “premium” 6-month VIP mentorship program for those who want to jump right in and get started and for those nurses who aren’t ready for that, there’s a weekend intensive called, “How to Get Clear, Get Started and Get Your 1st [Fitness Nursing] Client in a Weekend”. And yet still, she offers a brand new 4-month fixed membership club for future fitness nurses who just want to ‘test the water’. Something for everyone interested in becoming a Fitness Nurse Consultant™
1. Tell us about your background in nursing – how long you have been a nurse and what areas of nursing have you worked?
I went back to nursing school after my first degree. I have been a nurse for over two decades and have always searched for jobs that ‘fit’ my life. I never worked full-time as a nurse. I always had something on-the-side brewing.
I started out in orthopedics at a trauma center, so we got a lot of very hurt people. Only after a year, I got a teaching job for teaching the state course for Certified Nursing Assistants. I wasn’t qualified for the job because I was a new nurse, but due to an oversight in the state application process, I was approved and I began teaching. I knew I could do it and I loved hearing myself talk. Since I was a former stand-up comedian, I could always make the most boring subject fun (like fire extinguishers).
During that time, since the teaching was only 15-20 hours a week, I had odd nursing jobs, like weekend supervisor and I always did personal training and worked in fitness on the side. Between classes I decided to apply for a part time educator position at a Long Term Care Facility, I got it. My director was very progressive and as long as I did my required inservices, she let me run wellness inservices like Yoga and relaxation, stress reduction for the staff. It was then that I started to write my own health and wellness programs.
My first one was called, “Stressed Out & Loving it!” I started applying to speak at nursing events and submitting articles to nursing publications all through the 1990’s. The hospital across the street from us acquired our facility and I noticed that they had a “Health Resources “ dept. One day I went to the manager of that department’s stress lecture series, stayed late after every lecture and helped her put away her supplies and we walked out to our cars together at night. Soon she knew my specialties. One day she asked me to give a “contracted lecture” on exercise and health improvement. The rest was history as they say.
Within 3 months I was hired part-time in that health resources department. For 15 years I worked as an RN health educator, organized and worked health fairs, did thousands of health screenings, gave hundreds of health-related talks to the public , did program design, I even taught exercise classes for specific disease prevention (like strength training for osteoporosis prevention). Because I was a nurse with a fitness background the hospital paid me a nurses’ rate, not a fitness trainer’s rate. Our department even promoted and put together “road shows” for physicians and their specialty too.
2. How did you come up with the idea of nurses becoming Fitness Nurse Consultants™?
One of the many independent contractor jobs I had was teaching for a whole weekend and nationally certifying people to become personal trainers. In those courses, I noticed more times than not, a nurse or two was in the class. I began to think if personal trainers and group fitness instructors could work with all kinds of people, after a weekend certification course and as long as they followed the ACSM guidelines, a nurse was more than qualified. Especially the nurse with ‘formal fitness’ training.
I started thinking of ways for nurses to somehow combine their fitness certifications/training and their nursing skills. But I didn’t want to compete with fitness professionals. I want nurses to fill that need in the market where people leave a physician’s office with a prescription to exercise and the fitness nurse would fill that prescription or ‘carryout that activity order’ by the physician.
This small area in the market is served by personal trainers, but from my experience and speaking with physicians, not that well. Many fitness professionals want to only work with people who can do their detailed fitness programs. I want Fitness Nurse Consultants™ to do more than teach exercise classes and count reps. I want them to use their assessment skills and create a Signature Fitness Nursing Program for health improvement for a specific disease process and to improve risk factors and then present these programs to private practice physicians who desperately need help with improving the outcomes of complex patients who want to exercise.
3. You teach nurses how to become Fitness Nurse Consultants™, can you tell us about your 6 month mentoring program for nurses?
As I said earlier, not to knock personal trainers, I was one myself, but most of them are somewhat unprofessional and they don’t have the range of health improvement and disease prevention knowledge base of that of a licensed nurse.
The 6-month VIP Mentorship Program is my “premium” program. It is designed to help bring out the skills for nurses with fitness training and/or a compelling fitness story who are ready to transform their mindsets which takes 6 month and even longer. It’s ongoing. The program is very personalized and together, we go deep into what the nurse wants to do, why, with who and then the how comes later. The result is the confidence to market and deliver a cash-based Signature Fitness Nursing program to private physician practices who serve their ideal clients. The program can also be marketed directly to specific people in the public. We do not take insurance. The details can be read here: Mentoring Program for Nurses
4. Who would you say you program is for, meaning is it for any nurse or do you require specific qualifications to enroll in your program?
Although I understand the importance of qualifications, since my history has mostly been getting ‘dream jobs’ on taking action and delivering results, you only need to be a licensed nurse with a fitness certification and/or compelling health & fitness story and a willingness to try something that you want to do. Saying that, my programs are not for every nurse interested in fitness. Any nurse can call themselves a fitness nurse and do anything they want. But if you want to call yourself a Fitness Nurse Consultant™, which is a specific, trademarked process you have to enroll in the 6-month mentorship program and work with private practice physicians.
5. What advice would you give a nurse who is considering starting her own business even if it’s not as a fitness nurse consultant™?
They need to be more specific in who they want to help and how they will help them. You should think of your niche as a narrow well; not a vast ocean. You should find a hungry crowd. Ask yourself, WHO are the people that can benefit the most from what you do? WHERE are they located? How can you connect with them? WHAT are the problems that they are already looking to solve? Make your offer(s) match that. Most nurses I encounter in business don’t know lead generation, lead conversion nor lead nurturing and they don’t make enough offers, if any. I have opted-in to quite a few e-mail lists of fellow nurse entrepreneurs and have yet to receive a newsletter or any follow-up.
Make your websites less about you and more about the result that you deliver. If you enjoy social media and blogging you may have a great hobby; but if you are in business and have limited time, you need to ask if you are making any money with it? If you are, how? Is it worth the time that you spend on it?
Get excellent at positioning your self with your message and your solution and don’t hold back. I don’t see much distinction in nurse-based businesses, especially in the health and wellness field. I could go on and on, but finally for this interview, they want to wait till everything is ‘perceived perfect’ before they ‘launch it’. Unfortunately, when they do this, they may find out, too late, that nobody wants it. They should pre-market all ideas first.
6. Do you offer any other services or products for nurses?
Yes I offer 3 main programs. As mentioned earlier my “premium” 6-month VIP mentorship. But for nurses who aren’t ready for that, I offer a weekend intensive called, “How to Get Clear, Get Started and Get Your 1st [Fitness Nursing] Client in a Weekend”. And yet still, I offer a brand new 4-month fixed membership club for future fitness nurses who just want to ‘test the water’. During both of these programs, I teach pre-marketing your fitness nursing idea by creating a [FN] Income Project and then using the philosophy of “Create Painkillers; NOT Vitamins” to create urgency among what you do. This is a lot less stressful than starting a full business when you’re not sure about your idea and if it will take off.
Lori ‘Minky’ Radcliffe, RN, Fitness Nurse Mentor and Pre-Marketing Strategist for [FN] Income Projects for future Fitness Nurses interested in trying out their fitness nursing idea. A health & fitness professional since 1981 and a Registered Nurse for 2 decades, made a living working in both industries, working for herself, and finally combining the two. Now she helps other nurses do the same. Read more about her Fitness Nurse evolution – Fitness Nursing. Connect here- Facebook | Twitter.
In closing I just want to say Thanks So Much Lori for a great interview!