Closing the Gap in Women’s Health with Brookes Vaughn, NP
NP STUDENT: Tell us your story. What inspired you to start your practice or company?
Vaughn: As a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) who worked in a large healthcare system for around five years, I began to notice a gap in care. I noticed, especially among my friends who were getting married, pregnant, and then having babies, that often times they would avoid going to see their healthcare provider when they actually needed to. This was commonly due to the inconvenience of finding a babysitter, the hassle of getting a newborn infant ready again for another doctor’s visit, or simply out of frustration with navigating the medical system. One friend shared that she waited for over an hour to see her provider for less than ten minutes for mastitis which cost her over $200! This inspired me to create a business that was convenient, affordable, high quality, and patient-centered for women of all ages and stages of life. I noticed that there are very few, if any, virtual clinics that are specialized in Women’s Health. Therefore, I was able to capitalize on a need and run with it.
My business is a virtual women’s health clinic and online community. We launched in October of this year, and I have thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it and honestly been blown away by the response from women all over the state of Georgia and the country. At Girl Health Co. my patients are able to choose from a variety of services without any hidden fees, and never ever wait. Plus, they are able to conduct their appointment from the convenience and privacy of their own home or office. While there are certain issues in women’s health that may require an examination in person, there are many that we are able to evaluate and treat virtually.
“It is more than medicine. My company affords me the opportunity to evaluate and treat my patients as well as educate, encourage, and walk alongside them in whatever season of life they’re in. It’s such a gift!“
NP STUDENT: What sets your organization apart from the others? What are you most proud of as the owner?
Vaughn: I am most proud of the fact that Girl Health Co is the most patient-centered healthcare company from my knowledge. Patients choose the amount of time they need for their visit, they pay accordingly without hidden fees, we offer several visit slots as early as 7 am, as late as 9pm, and on the weekends, and they don’t even have to get out of their pj’s. I offer both a medical and holistic perspective, which I believe in today’s age is desired by patients. I am so proud of the community that we are building. Girl Health Co is more than medicine. My company affords me the opportunity to evaluate and treat my patients as well as educate, encourage, and walk alongside them in whatever season of life they’re in. It’s such a gift!
How does an NP entrepreneur who may not see the immediate results of a new business prepare for the growth?
Vaughn: I would say start by being a visionary. Set goals to achieve your dream big and write out ways that you plan to grow. Also measure your progress. I use quickbooks, my website’s analytics, mailchimp, and a few other outlets to measure progress. I also sit down each month and take a retrospective look at the business as well as a prospective look at the business. I consider what worked well and what didn’t. I also understand that patience, persistence, consistency, and hard work are all vital when it comes to growing as a company.
NP STUDENT: What was the biggest challenge you faced with launching your business? What steps did you take to propel forward?
Vaughn: Starting a company is a BIG undertaking. The hardest thing is to overcome the challenges. Challenges can vary from drowning out self doubt and negativity from naysayers, navigating the business and legal side of running a healthcare company, and overcoming my own fears. I learned that while heeding the right people’s advice was imperative, I could not heed everyone’s advice. I also realized that I had a lot of education and experience in medicine, but when it came to business and law…not so much. I learned to engage with individuals who were trained and skilled in these areas (including my husband) and ask for help when needed. Fear can be crippling OR catapulting, depending on what you do with it. I chose to let it catapult me into what I felt called to do. I learned that taking it step by step, facing my fears day by day, I gained more and more confidence and also saw God work in ways that I could’ve never imagined on my own accord.
At NP Student, we understand that many lessons are revealed as one takes risks to start a business. For this reason, we ask all of our guests to complete this statement, “If I only knew then…” to encourage our readers that growth comes from learning from one’s mistakes.
Vaughn: If I only knew then that I didn’t have to have everything figured out and laid out perfectly before stepping out and “going for it”, I would have likely stepped out much sooner. I was afraid of failing, but now I know that failure is often what leads to success. I consider it “failing forward”, and I am much more willing to do so these days.