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Jasmine Bhatti, RN, PhD(c), MS

Published:April 11, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mnl.2022.03.009
      The delivery of health care continues to change rapidly. Consumers are driving change and so is technology. There are new competitors entering into health care to address access to care, efficiencies, and care coordination. Many times, nurses have great ideas on how care delivery can be improved and yet do not know how to effect the change. Jasmine Bhatti, RN, PhD(c), MS, the chief executive officer of Navi Nurses, decided she would figure out how to make her idea become a reality as a nurse entrepreneur. She shares how she went from being a bedside nurse to leading almost a million dollar company in 1 year.
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      Ayan Said, MSN, RN, with Jasmine Bhatti, RN, PhD(c), MS
      JB: To be honest, there are many things that I am very proud of over the past year. Personally, I’ve made a jump from being a bedside nurse to running almost a $1 million company in 1 year. This means I have had to grow and learn an incredible amount of business skills in a short period of time. I am also incredibly proud of being able to take advantage of the many incredible opportunities, all of which have continued to open more and more doors for us. Navi Nurses is 1 of only a few companies to be selected as an Arizona Innovation Challenge awarded on their first try. This is particularly meaningful because my cofounder and I are both nurses, and we’re both minorities, and we’re 2 females navigating a startup in the venture-capital world where men typically find investments much easier than women. I’m also incredibly proud of the outcomes that we’re seeing with our clients. We are noticing a significant amount of hospital readmissions while helping to keep people at home, and we have been able to decrease the role strain for family caregivers. And while we have had so many incredible reviews and journal articles and publications, at the end of the day, what I am most proud of is the fact that I’m helping nurses find meaningful work in a whole new, exciting way. I’m proud of the fact that the significant others of my nurses are seeing positive changes in their family life now because the nurse in their family loves what they do. And I’m proud of the fact that I can help nurses practice to the fullest scope and give them the autonomy to provide the one-on-one care that they’ve always dreamed of. The final thing I’m most proud of is watching our nurses grow. I can’t even begin to tell you how incredible it is for me to watch them blossom and seeing their excitement and joy, and being called to help build this dream together.
      JB: I think this is something I still struggle with. In my heart, I still see myself as a nurse, and I probably always will. I just also happen to be an entrepreneur. To me, becoming an entrepreneur is a process just like becoming a nurse. I’m sure there are stages of entrepreneurship just like Benners’ Novice to Expert theory in nursing. In this case, I definitely still see myself as a novice entrepreneur. There is still so much for me to learn and understand, especially in the startup world. That adds a level of complexity beyond just being an entrepreneur. At the end of the day, I think the most important thing is that I’m able to not only solve a problem but I’m able to be successful at it and do good for so many people. That’s what makes our work so incredibly exciting.
      JAB: What experiences did you have that you believe prepared you for this role?
      JB: Everything about being a nurse has helped me as an entrepreneur. As a nurse, I managed my patients based on 2 simple things: my intuition and my logic. As a result, I’ve learned to trust my intuition or that feeling in my gut. And following my nursing intuition is what has led me to where I am today. It’s something that I combine with my logic and knowledge every single day to make decisions even when I don’t fully understand things. Working as a nurse, I also had the honor of working with a diverse group of people with varying experiences and expertise. This is something that is even more pronounced now, and my prior experiences have given me the foundation to do this successfully. My prior academic work that involved diving deeper into leadership theories has also been helpful. That, in combination with personal experiences, has helped me understand what sort of leader that I want to be and what I don’t want to be. It has also highlighted the importance of building a strong culture that is lived by and all that we do. And honestly, I have to give a shout out to the Girl Scouts of America because going door-to-door and selling Girl Scout cookies as a young girl was probably my first experience in sales. There is no question that this experience helped me tap into the courage needed to sell my product.
      JAB: How do you describe what Navi Nurses is?
      JB: Navi Nurses is essentially the Uber of nurses for the ordinary person. We make it just as easy for you to find a qualified nurse as it is for you to find a ride or have your groceries delivered to your house. But underneath, there is so much more. Navi takes the science behind nursing care and combines it with on-demand availability. We are matching the nursing provider with the exact needs of the person needing care.
      For the nurse, Navi Nurses is a way that they can pick up flexible hours providing the one-on-one care that they absolutely love when and where is best for them. For the average person, it means when they leave the hospital, they have an exciting way to tap in to support where they can feel listened to and acknowledged when they’re feeling overwhelmed or scared. And for families who live far away from the person they are providing care for; it gives them the peace of mind that there is someone qualified to go check in on their loved one when they aren’t there.
      For health care systems, Navi Nurses is an incredible partner. We can be their eyes and ears on a much more holistic level once a patient is back home. Since our services are cash pay, we are not limited to codes. Our services are dictated by the person and their family. The physicians we have partnered with absolutely love the fact that we can communicate quickly and directly with them to provide the best experience and care for the person.
      JAB: What kind of obstacles did you encounter as you were leading this work?
      JB: One of the greatest obstacles we have had from the beginning is defining the role of the nurse to the public. Many people just see nurses as compassionate, hand-holding figures, but we are so much more. I remember sitting in a room with a few startup advisors who questioned what value nurses bring to the table. They didn’t understand the difference between a nurse and a caregiver even when some of them had mothers who were nurses. So the greatest obstacle for us is creating a new definition of the nurse for people to understand clearly.
      It’s important to recognize that the health care that is covered by insurance or a traditional payer system is often not enough for people. Many people still feel vulnerable and scared because a 2-hour visit from home health is not enough time for them to learn and understand everything. People will gladly pay for it because they truly want the support, and it often ends up saving the system money because we are able to help prevent readmissions or overutilization of outpatient services. So the significant obstacle for us is the fact that some health care providers do not believe that people should pay for our services. As a result, they miss an opportunity to refer our services to people who could truly benefit from them.
      JAB: How did you overcome them?
      JB: As we continue to grow our company, our goal is to help rebrand the image of nursing from just compassionate individuals who follow orders, to autonomous professionals who can contribute so much towards the health and wellness of a person in their family. We want to help people really understand the multiple ways that nurses can be influential in their health and well-being, from advocacy and care coordination to direct physical care. Well, this is something we all need to be working towards as a professional community, Navi Nurses definitely wants to help augment this process and be a part of highlighting all of the incredible things that we do on a daily basis.
      The direct-to-consumer nursing model of care is not necessarily new. We know that long before nurses became staple figures in hospitals, families hired their own nurses to come to hospitals with them. Navi Nurses is just bringing this old model of care back into existence in a much more complex health care system. People themselves are desperately seeking their own family nurse. So now the challenges to appeal directly to people rather than waiting on a referral from a health care system or a medical provider. People are driving their health care experience, and it’s exciting to be able to now provide them an opportunity to feel like they can experience what health care really should look and feel like.
      JAB: What is your vision for Navi Nurse in the future?
      JB: Our vision for the future of Navi Nurses is twofold. It’s very bold and exciting, and can be immensely transformative for health care as we know it. We would like Navi Nurses to become a household name just like Uber or Lyft. We firmly believe that every single person deserves a nurse, and that is exactly what we would like to deliver on. Our first major goal is to step outside of the market here in Arizona and expand nationally, but we do recognize that this is a need across the whole world. It’s just going to look a little different from state to state and country to country.
      The other half of our vision is to give nurses another way to experience the profession in a way that they love. My heart breaks for the nurses who have just worked through the pandemic. It has been far from easy, and well, I only worked on a COVID step-down unit, I can at least say from experience that there is so much pain and trauma. But the last thing I want to see is for them to leave this sacred profession when they have so much still to give and so much to share. I want Navi to be a place of refuge for nurses who struggle with their traumas but want to continue working. I want to show them that they can still do what they love, in an incredibly fulfilling way. I want to show them that they can still find so much joy and love.
      JAB: Do you have advice for nurses who may have an idea they think can improve care?
      JB: Every single nurse reading this article can probably think of 1 or 2 ways that care can be improved. Don’t second guess what you think and believe. You are a nurse. You are knowledgeable. You are an incredible professional. Take your idea to someone who will listen, and if they don’t listen, go find someone who will. Whether that’s going to someone within your organization or outside of your organization. And just start. When I think back on my own journey, I can’t believe that just a few years ago, Navi Nurses was an idea. I could’ve never imagined being exactly where I am today. All I needed to do was just start, and then share my idea. So many times, we’re afraid people will steal our ideas, when in fact being an entrepreneur and creating a business takes an incredible amount of work. It’s not easy, and an idea, it’s just an idea. What helped me was getting involved with my local startup community. Being around other people who are passionate about solving problems and making a difference in the lives of others was incredibly invigorating. It also connected me to people who were outside of health care to help me see the world through different lenses. I also was able to tap into my university resources and that was incredibly transformational for our business. I am so grateful for the humble start that was awarded to us at Arizona State University because that opportunity has now blossomed into so many other priceless opportunities. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help because people truly want to help and support you and watch you grow. And don’t be afraid to trust your instinct. If you think you are truly solving a problem, and you have an exciting way of seeing or doing something, then take it and run with it. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, and don’t be afraid to give away control to others to help you grow. It’s impossible for you to know everything about everything, so instead, find the right people who know almost everything about something and put them to work. And when your passion is contagious, those people will work harder than you would’ve ever imagined because they carry that same passion now, too.
      JAB: Are there lessons learned you would like to share?
      JB: There are so many incredible lessons I have learned over the last year. I have learned that there’s still so much I still don’t know, and I probably never will. And that’s OK. I’ve had to learn that I can’t do everything perfectly, but I can still accomplish work that I’m proud of. And that is okay, too. I’ve learned that people want to be a part of something big and exciting—so it’s important to keep the passion alive. And I’ve learned that crucial conversations can be hard, but they are also some of the most important conversations we will ever have. I’ve learned that networking is important, but it’s equally important to find the space to connect with yourself and your own needs. As a leader, the very best thing I can do for those around me is to take care of myself first.
      Name:
      Jasmine Bhatti.
      Hometown:
      Scottsdale, Arizona.
      Current job:
      Chief executive officer of Navi Nurses.
      Education:
      PhD candidate, MS, RN.
      First job in nursing:
      I was honored to start my career working in neuro at Barrow Neurological Institute.
      Being in a leadership position gives me the opportunity to:
      Create the culture I would want to work in and experience as a client myself. This responsibility furthers my own personal and professional growth, and most importantly affords me the opportunity to encourage growth and development of our team.
      Most people don’t know that I:
      Would love to run for office one day. We need a nurse president.
      My best advice to aspiring leaders:
      My father would always say God gave us one mouth and two ears, so we can listen more than we speak. So always start with listening, be authentic in your words and actions, and give back every chance you get.
      One thing I want to learn:
      I can’t wait to learn to play the cello!
      One word to describe me:
      This year: limitless.

      Biography

      Joyce Ann Batcheller, DNP, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, FAONL, FAAN, is adjunct professor for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing in Lubbock, Texas, and executive nurse advisor at AMN Healthcare in Dallas, Texas. She can be reached at [email protected] or [email protected] .
      Photography © Matt Young Photography