Who Would Think That Working At A Pancake House…
Could Lead To A Career As A Health Care Entrepreneur
That’s exactly what happened though. While I was getting my BS in Hotel and Resort Management, I had a powerful experience. I became an Assistant Manager at an IHOP restaurant that was losing 10s of thousands of dollars a month. While I was there, they hired a very successful hotel manager to turn the business around.
He was absolutely instrumental in teaching me hands-on business management. We’re not talking theory, but what actually works for a business. He took a liking to me and invested considerable time in mentoring me. He taught me great leadership and how to most effectively manage a team for results.
The most important thing he taught me was how to take command of the bottom line. He was a master at analyzing every single line item for bottom line impact. The first thing he did was overhaul the business by working with vendors to shave costs. He was awesome at negotiating with vendors to reduce expenses. Next, he transformed the operations and worked with the staff to dramatically improve customer service. The result, a massive increase in both the top line and bottom line. Lucky for me, he actively taught me the exact methods of how to do that.
One thing I admired was that during the whole turnaround, he treated his people well. He demonstrated how kindness and toughness can combine and build a stronger team. This experience really sparked my interest in continuing with business. I did decide though, that hospitality wasn’t going to be my career path. I wanted a more fulfilling life and to be able to make a greater positive impact, so began to research healthcare careers.
After Extensive Research, Nursing Fit As The Right Career Path
I Enrolled In An Accelerated Second Degree BSN (Bachelor of Science In Nursing) Program
After considerable research and planning, I chose health care. I had a long-term plan for more autonomy and wanted to serve others. I chose an accelerated Second Degree Bachelor Of Science In Nursing program. However, nursing itself wasn’t the end goal. I always planned to aim for the pinnacle of the nursing profession, becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)—a highly specialized advanced practice nurse—with an exceptional level of autonomy.
This advanced nursing degree has demanding requirements just to get accepted into the program. It requires years of critical care experience before you can even apply. I methodically planned my steps to get my first critical care position. Gaining experience as a nurse tech in the ER was the first step of my plan. Working as a tech set me up for getting my first critical care nursing job. Getting a critical care nursing position right out of school is typically very hard to do. Of course that didn’t stop me.
This began a very challenging period of my life as I worked toward that pinnacle. While studying full-time, I worked 12-hour ER overnight shifts on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays as a nurse tech. It paid my living expenses and allowed me to dedicate the rest of the week to my coursework. Yes, it was a lot of long days and sleepless nights, but it was exciting to be getting valuable critical care experience.
After a year in the ER, I had to step out of my comfort zone once again. To strengthen my critical care background, I moved to working in the Intensive Care Unit. This was required to build the kind of resume needed to position myself for anesthesia training. I applied to and was accepted by nurse anesthesia school five years after deciding to become a nurse anesthetist.
I’ve Always Loved Challenges And This Was A Huge One
I Chose A Career Path That Was Going To Push Me To My Limits
I set out to complete the grueling 28-month Masters in Anesthesiology program. This program pushed me to my limits academically. I told you it was intense. It was. I was training 50+ hours per week in the anesthesiology residency. Much of this training was at a level 1 trauma center with its ultra-high stress. Concurrently, I was also taking a full-time graduate course load. Still, I felt excited and passionate about achieving my goals.
During my anesthesia residency, I got exceptional training and exposure to many clinical settings. They included several outpatient surgery centers, Orlando Regional Medical Center—a Level 1 Trauma Center, Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, Dr. Phillips Hospital and South Seminole Hospital. I graduated with nearly 3x the anesthetics required for licensure.
With My Master Of Science In Anesthesiology In Hand…
I Began My Career—Racking Up Experience As A Nurse Anesthetist
In typical fashion, I threw myself into my career with full energy. I started my career as a nurse anesthetist in Orlando, working for the same anesthesia group that I trained with—Anesthesiologists of Greater Orlando. I wanted to become an amazing anesthesia provider.
I provided anesthesiology for five different facilities over the next couple of years. I’ll just give you a quick overview of this work.
Winnie Palmer Hospital—ranked one of the busiest OB hospitals in the nation. Here I administered anesthesia for Gyn surgeries and procedures including robotic. This work required high volume placement and management of epidurals and spinal anesthesia.
South Seminole Hospital—where I administered anesthesia for general surgeries, endoscopies, spines, vascular and ortho.
Sand Lake Surgery Center—where I administered anesthesia for ortho, gyn, eye cases and some pediatric cases.
Orlando Orthopedic Surgery Center—where I administered anesthesia for ortho and spine cases.
Orlando Center for Outpatient Surgery—where I administered anesthesia for high volume urology surgeries, ortho and endoscopies.
Now, My Need To Grow As An Anesthesia Provider Kicked In
I Decided To Move To A State That Allows CRNAs To Practice Independently
I decided to move to Albuquerque for a position that set me up for this type of opportunity. I worked for Anesthesia Specialists of ABQ and I primarily worked as the sole anesthesia provider on the high-risk labor and delivery unit covering 24 hour in-house call. The facilities I served were Lovelace Women’s Hospital and Lovelace Medical Center Downtown.
Now, My Life Took An Interesting Turn
All Because An Acquaintance Consulted With Me On An Anesthesia Question
Out of the blue, a physician in Texas gave me a call. He was starting a ketamine clinic and wanted to pick my brain. Of course I was knowledgeable about ketamine because I used it extensively as an anesthesia provider.
But I’d never heard of ketamine being used for treatment-resistant depression. As he talked about it, it triggered something in me. He opened my eyes about how ketamine infusions were being used to treat “untreatable” depression. I remembered back to a period when my mom had suffered greatly for several years from intractable depression. I had felt so horrible not to be able to help her.
That set me on an intensive year researching the use of ketamine for mental health. I learned that ketamine therapy is used to treat PTSD, depression, migraines and chronic pain. The more I learned, the more I believed that this was the leading edge of a new direction in medicine.
Massive Research Made It Obvious That The Treatment Is Effective
That Led Me To Open A Clinic Dedicated To Ketamine Infusion Therapy
These research results led me to found a ketamine treatment clinic in New Mexico. The more I read, the more I became convinced of the effectiveness. I opened the Injection and Infusion Clinic of Albuquerque in 2016. The clinic focused on the treatment of depression, PTSD and chronic pain utilizing the anesthetic medication ketamine.
The results were astounding and transformational for my patients. It was not unusual for patients and families to leave the clinic with tears of joy and relief running down their faces. Sometimes after their infusion series, the life-changing effects of this depression treatment were immediate. It was very touching for my wife and I to receive hugs of gratitude from patients and their families.
Look, Let’s Get Real—Opening A Medical Clinic Is Not For The Faint Of Heart
Starting a business—any business—is complex; starting a medical business is a REAL challenge. There are many additional licenses and regulations and you have to know what you’re doing. Of course, the real difficulty is that medical professionals are among the busiest people in the world, without time to spare. Here’s an abridged list of what’s required to start a medical clinic.
First you get your business entity set up
You need to find a location to lease or purchase.
You need to set up all your systems.
You need to create a website—which is often a frustrating experience in itself.
You need to get your business license and file a DBA and open your business banking accounts.
You need to figure out your accounting systems and patient tracking.
You need to create clinic forms, protocols and methods for documentation.
You must research and comply with your state’s regulations.
With ketamine, there is also a Drug Enforcement license requirement.
You have to get all your forms of insurance in place—Malpractice, General Liability.
You need to check into Department of Health regulations to make sure you don’t need any special facility licenses.
Then you start online marketing and networking with other providers in the area to get referrals.
This is not a complete list, nor is it intended to be. As I said, it’s a list of highlights. I did all this research and work myself to set up my clinic. By now, you recognize that I’m a nerd and love these kinds of challenges. The good news is that by learning the hard way, I’ve figured it out for anyone else. You can now follow my track.
The Clinic Was A Success From The Get-Go
The clinic grew fast from the very beginning. Within a few months, we had to have the lessor build out additional clinic space to treat more patients. There was tremendous demand. Part of the reason was because there were so many patients unable to obtain relief with more traditional treatments. The demand was high among our targeted patients.
We had patients traveling across the country to get to our facility. We were New Mexico's 1st and only CRNA Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist-owned Ketamine Infusion Clinic. Our low-cost Ketamine Infusions put treatment into reach of veterans and others struggling financially.
I Need You To Understand A Couple Of Things About My Approach
I’ve had occasional pushback about using ketamine, so I want you to know two things. I’m very aware of the worsening opioid epidemic and the need for effective alternative treatments. I am certainly as concerned as any legitimate provider about the need to reduce unnecessary opioid prescribing. I’ve been part of the Governor of New Mexico’s think tank that worked to proposed solutions to treat acute and chronic pain without the dangerous side effects of opiates.
The second thing to address is the fact that some say ketamine used in mental health needs more research. Unquestionably, this is a valid argument. We do need more long-term studies to assess side effects over time. However, that will take years if not decades to complete. Current evidence is conclusive that ketamine can effectively treat the most difficult cases of depression. If it prevents just one suicide, then isn’t there some sort of moral duty to offer the service to those who desperately need it most?
While Launching The Clinic, Simultaneously I Began An MBA Program
By now, you know I’ve always got big plans in mind. While I was setting up the clinic, I began work on my MBA courses. I started a part-time MBA with a concentration in Entrepreneurship in 2016 at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. I expect to complete the course by fall of 2019.
Healthcare entrepreneurship has now become my career path. Helping other medical providers become entrepreneurs gives me incomparable satisfaction and fulfillment. The Ketamine Academy experience set me on this new direction. I plan to take everything I learn during my entrepreneurial journey and help others learn about health care entrepreneurship.
Now Another Really Interesting Thing Happened
I Got So Many Requests To Consult On Ketamine Clinics That It Opened Up A New Path
A strange thing happened—I kept getting calls from all over the world on how to start a ketamine clinic. I could see there was a huge demand for my insights into this treatment. Because I love teaching, training and mentoring others, I decided to found the Ketamine Academy. The online ketamine infusion therapy course provides online training on how to start and grow a ketamine infusion therapy practice.
Now I could see that working my way through the complexity of starting the clinic could help others. This first-ever online ketamine training course provides step-by-step instruction in setting up a ketamine infusion practice.
It includes everything needed on the clinical aspects of ketamine administration. In addition, it also provides extensive content on the business of private practice. To date, this course has helped educate over 100 medical providers. It’s approved by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) for 9 class A continuing education credits for license renewal.
One thing I’d like to point out is that I’ve also shared everything I have learned while studying ketamine. I’ve compiled the most recent and popular ketamine studies. I’ve summarized the current research on ketamine use for chronic pain and treatment-resistant depression for my students. This alone saves months worth of research time.
The best part is that I also provide the actual protocols I use in my clinic. Students get the benefit of my own clinical experience to make their path easier. Check out https://courses.ketamineacademy.com to have a look at everything included in the course.
Now Moving Into Consulting And Training Medical Professionals
It’s All About The Intricacies Of Opening and Operating Successful Medical Businesses
Now, I’m starting a consulting and training business focused on medical practice businesses. My front-line experience makes me familiar with how best to improve operational efficiencies. I work with clients on how to scale up an operation while serving their patients’ most pressing needs.
I mentor health care entrepreneurs to successfully start their own businesses. It’s a calling to help others start and grow medically-related businesses. I have helped dozens of nurses, physicians and other health care providers. One day, it became clear to me that my mission is to help other health professionals on their road to financial freedom. After all, medical training is not business training.
My mission is to help other health care professionals become successful entrepreneurs. My own career path and educational journey has positioned me to help others found, buy, grow and sell health care businesses. Next, I’ll be starting a healthcare entrepreneur podcast where I will interview successful health care entrepreneurs to uncover their secrets to success.
For The “Serious Side”—Here’s Some Resume Information
The Healthcare Entrepreneur Academy
Empower Education LLC - DBA IV Therapy Academy (Co-founder)
Injection and Infusion Clinic of Albuquerque - providing ketamine infusion therapy
Ketamine Academy LLC, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Nurse Academy, Online training academy for individuals preparing to take two pass standardized exams:
HESI (Health Education Systems Incorporated), for nursing school admission
TEAS (Test Of Essential Academic Skills).
Detachment Training Officer & Nurse Anesthetist, U.S. Navy Reserve, Nurse Corps
EMF Dallas Unit Training Officer. Planned and implement unit and regional field exercises. Provide training for 27 Officers and Enlisted. Ensure unit compliance with required Navy trainings and education, resulting in 100% Annual Training compliance and 98% a GMT completion rate
4th Medical Battalion Bravo Co, Marine Corps Reserve Forward Resuscitative Surgical Team. Subject Matter Expert in IV/Fluid resuscitation and shock management.
Operational Health Support Unit JAX. Ensured medical readiness of for over 350 NOSC Sailors and Marines acting as the MTF clinical provider.
Education and Training
West Chester University of Pennsylvania, Master of Business Administration- Expected Graduation – Fall 2019
Barry University, Orlando, Florida, Master of Science in Anesthesiology, May, 2014
University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, Accelerated Second Degree BSN, Aug, 2009.
Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York, Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Resort Management, Nov. 2005.
American Heart Association
-Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
-Pediatric Advanced Cardiac Life Support (PALS)
-Basic Life Support (BLS)
Emergency Nurses Association
-Trauma Nurse Course Curriculum
National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians
-Tactical Combat Casualty Care
Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute
-Combat Casualty Care Course
American Association of Critical Care Nurses
Navy Reserve Unit Management Course
Military Officers Association
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
New Mexico Association of Nurse Anesthetists
Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists
American Nurses Association
New Mexico Nurses Association
National Nurses in Business Association - Chapter Leader