A national conference on health dubbed “Tech-Care: Revolution, Evolution and Innovations in Health Care” was recently organized by the Our Lady of Fatima University (OLFU) in Valuenzela City. It was organized by the indefatigable dean of the College of Nursing, Dr. Maria Luisa Uayan, who is a friend way back from our graduate school days and she asked me to give a talk on entrepreneurship. At first, I was taken aback because entrepreneurship and the health professions are not usually mutually exclusive. She then told me that in the latest Commission on Higher Education Memorandum Order for the Bachelor of Nursing program that the teaching of entrepreneurship is embedded in the program and is even a specific learning outcome that states “apply entrepreneurial skills in the delivery of nursing care.”
As we were discussing the contents of my presentation, I asked her if I should talk about the basics of how to start one’s own business, from the Negosyo Centers of the Department of Trade and Industry to the intricacies of the Barangay Micro Business Enterprises Act, when these information are readily available on various platforms and media. We then went back to the nursing learning outcome of being able to apply entrepreneurial skills in the delivery of not only nursing but in the vast field of health care and its varied professions. Thus, for this presentation entrepreneurial skills which are not taught or even previously discussed in the health field was coupled with the importance of having an entrepreneurial mindset. A mindset that would not only create start-ups but also corporate and intra-entrepreneurship that can be practiced at work and with one’s self.
Having an entrepreneurial mindset has not always been at the top of mind among health care practitioners and professionals. In a field that is dominated by precision, procedures, and perfection there is simply no room for failure. A simple mistake can lead to fatalities and a wrong direction can bring chaos. How can someone from the health professions then have an entrepreneurial mindset? A mindset that is not only about starting one’s own business but having the passion and perseverance to pursue opportunities that go above and beyond the call of health care duty.
An entrepreneurial mindset according to the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) prepares everyone for “a mindset that equips them to recognize opportunity, take initiative, and innovate in the face of challenges”. The current challenges being faced within our workplace whether it be in the field of health or otherwise entails a framework that are considered “tools for life.” NFTE has provided eight dimensions in the development an entrepreneurial mindset and these are: initiative and self-reliance, flexibility and adaptability, communication and collaboration, creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, future orientation, opportunity recognition, and comfort with risk . Unsurprisingly a lot of these tools and techniques, such as complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity, are also much-needed skills for the 21st century according to the World Economic Forum.
These “tools for life” must be within a growth mindset as espoused by Carol Dweck in her book titled “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.” This mindset as opposed with a fixed mindset sees failure as an opportunity for growth and it believes “that abilities and understanding can be developed”. People in whatever field can “get smarter, more intelligent and more talented through putting in time and effort.” Lifelong learning is a must and a minimum in developing an entrepreneurial growth mindset. The ability to empathize in the development of creative and innovative products and services not only for profits but for the common good is essential in developing entrepreneurial skills through an entrepreneurial mindset. In the end, entrepreneurship goes beyond creating and starting new businesses but it also encompasses a mindset that is useful not only to the health professions but in every industry and most importantly our personal lives.
Brian C. Gozun is dean of the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business, De La Salle University Manila. He invites other fields (not only nursing and the health sciences) to embrace an entrepreneurial mindset. The college through its professors and research and training centers can actively engage with other schools and institutions in the development of entrepreneurial skills.