Post Author: Kevin Ross.
I’m stepping out on a limb here and assuming that my job as a freelancer may be fairly unique. By professional definition, I’m a nurse. My role however is somewhat undefined. I’m a consultant, an independent contractor, an entrepreneur, apparently an “expert” to some. Not only do I not have an elevator pitch about what I do for a living (unless I was pitching in the elevator of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, then I may have enough time), but also I’m often a roaming gnome in my day to day.
I’ll save the “what I do” part for another post. For now I’d like to let you know about my involvement with co-working and how it’s helped me as a professional. I typically see patients either in their homes, in the clinical setting, or various locations in the community. I also teach and consult on various projects that require the input of a medical professional with my particular background and experience. One may ask how in the world does a co-working environment fit into my line of work? Well, as I’ve stated, I don’t typically see my patients at my location (wherever that may be at the time) and for contractual reasons (in rare cases) I’m often making off site visits to a cryptic location that can only be found by cracking the code with the help of a secret decoder ring.
I have a home office that is “tricked out” with the latest and greatest technology, it’s comfortable, and on many workdays can be a great commute—barring that I don’t trip over a Lightsaber or Buzz and Woody coming down the stairs. Of course as many have stated, it is still a community of one and there are those other distractions that consist of a leaky toilet that needs attention or weeds that require precise extraction.
I also have quite a few interactions with my patients, other healthcare professionals, and various acquaintances that are as they say, “anchored to their desks.” Apparently I’m a lucky duck because I get to come and go to these facilities/offices as I please, but I often feel like a lonely duck. I’m already providing a service that is unique, and aside from these above interactions, I’m starved for community.
There are many times when I’m out and about that I just need to sit down and crank out some paperwork. I often need to do medical research, mock up lectures for a class I’m teaching, or develop patient education documents. For the readers who may want to ask about confidentiality, my response is that I take the HIPAA laws seriously and make every effort to ensure that my patients’ information is protected. I don’t leave paperwork lying around, my phone calls are carried out in private (I tend to use patient initials and a lot of medical jargon), and if you try to touch my phone or laptop if I step away for a moment then you’ll end up with a raging case of cooties—I kid! All jokes aside, my patients’ information is probably safer than in many hospitals or medical offices (the “how and why” can be elaborated in another post).
What would a co-working environment that seems to bring together a large community of “creative types” offer a healthcare professional besides a desk and a cup of coffee? As professionals we’re all faced with very similar challenges each day and I’ve actually been able to solve a problem or two by just listening to someone else’s approach in finding a solution with a client or a project. Also, I wasn’t always a nurse and it’s not the only thing I’m interested in. I do enjoy learning more about web design, marketing/branding, social media, photography, accounting, software development, and obviously blogging. Most of these are actually incorporated into my business and I have a hand in implementing each one of them. So, I suppose I’ve never really found a problem with fitting into the culture and I’m truly interested in what you do.
Being a part of a community is what I seek, but the challenge for me, and probably any health care consultant/practitioner that provides a service offsite, is that we don’t often find ourselves conveniently located in the same spot as the day before. This is where I find the Co-working Visa Program coming in quite handy to meet the need. These communities are still growing, and as they do it will only make it much easier for someone like myself to be a part of them. I hope to be a part of your community someday and learn about what you do. Also, if I end up at your location, and you end up feeling comfortable enough to show me that dry patch of skin on your leg that’s in the shape of Australia and want to know what to do about it, well that’s okay too.