Even 15 years ago, colleagues referred to Martha "Marty" Minniti, BS, RN, CEO at Skilled Nursing Inc. (SNI), Flourtown , PA ,
as a "visionary in nursing." Minniti, has been described as having a keen business sense, the courage to take risks with the commitment to empower nursing.
She models her innovative thinking skills for other nurses. For example, in the early 1990s, home care nurses employed by SNI were skilled in computerized patient documentation, long before this technology was implemented in acute care. Today, with 26 years experience as an entrepreneur, taking the good with the bad, Minniti keeps pace with changing times.
Minniti's entrepreneurial talent surfaced in 1980 during a nurse shortage; something hospitals and administrators hadn't had to deal with before. There was no precedent on how to meet minimal staffing needs. What emerged out of this crisis was a new venture — temporary nurse staffing agencies. Unfortunately, many hospitals weren't happy with the quality of nurses some agencies provided.
Minniti, then a 28-year-old critical care nurse, knew she could offer a better product to hospitals in need. She saw a win-win solution for patients, nurses and hospital administrators. From her home, she pioneered SNI, a small business employing nurses as independent contractors to healthcare facilities.
"SNI's main goal has always been to provide opportunities and choices for nursing," explained Minniti. "This includes practicing independently, a choice physicians and other professionals have always had. We set out to help hospitals by providing the best nurses. Our goal has always been to be 'the special forces of nursing,' i.e., recruit nurses with a high degree of confidence, competence and professionalism."
Nurse & Hospital Benefits
From the beginning, Minniti wanted her independent contractor model for nurses to increase their financial control, provide pre-tax benefits and retirement plans independent of an employer. What she didn't factor into the nurse benefits initially is how skilled the nurses would become from working in multiple settings, such as hospitals and school systems.
Minniti explained SNI guarantees its clients that its nurses are not just experienced nurses, but nurses who practice by standards and protocols and can adapt these standards to any hospital that functions at a high level. For example, as part of the interview process for all SNI candidates, the entrepreneur conducted behavioral interviews to assess their competencies.
"I realized our nurses stood out when hospital managers would say things like the nurses you send are different they hit the ground running," Minniti reported.
One Step Ahead
Operating SNI successfully for 26 years continues to challenge the CEO to provide hospitals with nurses who can adapt to healthcare changes. To do this, she has partnered with a number of associations and organizations.
She has been a long-standing member of the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council of the Hospital and Health System of Pennsylvania. In recent years she has been a member of the Life Sciences Career Alliance, formed by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Workforce Investment Board Collaborative.
SNI is one of only a few staffing agencies involved in the Partnership for Patient Care, a Delaware Valley collaborative to improve safety through risk analysis and evidence-based practice.
In 2005 and 2006, SNI was awarded certification by the Joint Commission, one of only 20 healthcare staffing services to achieve this.
Always the Risk Taker
Since 1980, Minniti created seven companies — staffing, consulting/management company, pediatric private duty and home care, home infusion, home care network and a holistic healthcare center.
Minniti quickly discovered entrepreneurs have to take risks and not all ventures are successful. "Two of my businesses were not successful — the holistic healthcare center was 20 years ahead of its time and the adult home care business was needed but the lack of reimbursement at the time made it hard to get paid," she admitted.
But this nurse wasn't about to give up. A long time ago she learned from a professor at the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania , Phildelphia, the keys to successful entrepreneurship were "not brains or good ideas, but drive and persistence. It's what keeps you going once you see the benefits for your clients, staff and the profession. Then it all makes sense. You have to like problem solving and fighting upstream."
Minniti's prescription to maintain balance in her life includes quiet time in a chapel for 15-20 minutes each day saying her novenas coupled with physical exercise and reading.
The message this successful nurse entrepreneur wants to pass on to other nurses who might want to follow her career path is to believe in nursing. "The common denominator in all the companies I started is nursing. We have a unique and valued place in our communities and the ability to use our intellect and skills constructively."