Betty Long, RN, MHA,
President and Founder of Guardian Nurses Healthcare Advocates,
Bala Cynwyd, PA
Guardian Nurses provides advocacy services for clients, both private and corporate, all over the United States. The driving mission for its nurse advocates is simple: to act as representatives and advocate for their patients. And since nurse advocates work independently of hospitals, doctors, insurance companies and government agencies, they can be a strong voice for patients in all areas of the healthcare system. Nurse advocates understand healthcare issues from the viewpoint of caring for the patient and of the medical professionals trying to provide care.
Betty began her career in 1986 as a critical care nurse and after getting her masters’ degree in healthcare administration, went on to leadership positions in hospital administration and healthcare consulting. In addition to her hospital career, Long has management experience in long-term care and in working with the out-patient senior population. As a nurse, she has always been the one friends and family call when they wanted suggestions or advice about their healthcare. She credits her passion for helping people get the best care and the best service as the driving force behind the growth and success of Guardian Nurses.
Nationally, Long’s advocacy work has been featured on The Doctor Oz Show and National Public Radio’s Marketplace and Marketplace Money shows. Guardian Nurses’ success has also been featured in the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Business Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, and the New England Healthcare Journal. In September 2009, Long’s work with a client was featured in a New York Times Business Section article entitled, “After a Diagnosis, Someone to Help Point the Way.” In November 2008, Long was honored in New York by TAG Heuer North America and Glamour Magazine for making a difference in her community. The “What Are You Made Of” Award was presented by TAG spokesperson Uma Thurman in conjunction with Glamour’s Women of the Year Gala at Carnegie Hall. In December 2011, Long was named by the Philadelphia Business Journal as one of their 2011 Women of Distinction. Long is a content expert on Sharecare.com, an interactive social QA platform for healthcare founded by Dr. Oz as well as a contributing editor for Employee Benefit News, a monthly national magazine for employee benefits professionals. She is on the Advisory Board of the Professional Patient Advocacy Institute. She writes a blog, “Guarding Your Health” and also speaks regularly to healthcare professionals, insurance industry and human resources’ leaders.
Observing challenges and then doing something to improve and remedy the situation is what spurred Betty Long to start a business that utilizes her extensive nursing background and zeal for helping people. She discusses how the illness of her mother steered her away from her dream of becoming a sports newscaster and to one where she was given a new compass that pointed her in the direction of becoming a nurse. From her nursing vantage point, she saw where people were falling through the cracks in the healthcare system. She decided to do something about that. And Guardian Nurses was born!
3 Key Points:
- Career Choices can sometimes come out of experiences that brings one in contact with others where there is influence to consider a new life direction.
- Observing gaps in care spurred Nurse Betty Long to build a business Guardian Nurses.
- Being a nurse entrepreneur has its challenges and rewards and new skills are needed to be successful