TCU Nursing Alumna Takes the Road from Nurse to Entrepreneur
After a long road to success, Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences alumna Sara Camp ’01, APRN, MSN, AG-ACNP-BC, now owns and operates a thriving plastic surgery practice alongside her husband in Fort Worth. Starting their own business was something the Camps wrestled with at first. Nurses and physicians aren’t typically taught entrepreneurship while in school. But with the help of mentors for guidance, long discussions over walks and late nights on the couch, they took the leap.
“We still eat, sleep, breathe, live every minute of it. You can’t take your eye off the ball. As we say, we are ‘accidental entrepreneurs’,” said Camp, “and it isn’t easy. You have to commit and recommit all the time.”
TCU Nursing taught Camp professionalism and follow-through. She believes her professors were the best at instilling those qualities in their students.
“Going to clinical as a nursing student was the best experience for putting yourself out there,” said Camp. “You had to represent not only yourself but the university in the best light. I always wanted to make my professors proud of me.”
Camp’s life as an entrepreneur is different every day. She owns her destiny. She is the creative type and loves listening to podcasts and reading business and marketing books. Owning a business has allowed her to move forward with ideas as quickly as she wants to and be truly successful.
“It feels so free to have the ability to do what we want to do,” said Camp.
Camp graduated in 2001 with her BSN and found her love for critical care and cardiac disease while working in cardiac surgical critical care at Duke University Medical Center. Her newfound passion led her to the University of Pennsylvania where she received her Acute Care Nurse Practitioner degree in 2004. Camp then moved back to North Carolina where she worked for five years as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner in a cardiac surgical critical care department. She focused on early extubating, the improvement of quality and team leadership.
Charlotte is where she met her husband, Dr. Steven Camp, a general surgery resident at the time. Due to his training, they moved to Utah where he could pursue a plastic surgery fellowship, and then to Laguna Beach, California for his aesthetic surgery fellowship. At the completion of his training, they moved back to Fort Worth where he joined a group practice, and Sara worked as the national director of quality research and marketing with the American Heart Association.
In this role, she helped hospitals with their heart attack, stroke and heart failure quality improvement data capture, door-to-needle times and peer-reviewed research articles. She also helped the department present to large pharmaceutical companies for corporate donations. During those five years with the American Heart Association, Camp brought in tens of millions of dollars to support its mission.
One day, her husband pitched the idea that it was time to take her unique background of nursing, business and marketing, and apply it by opening their own private plastic surgery practice. In September 2016, Steven Camp MD Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics was established.
“I love what we can do to help people find their joy, save marriages, feel good in their skin, rock a bikini when they didn’t feel like they ever could again and shine in their wedding dress,” said Camp. “In a world where life can be really hard, we are there to make people just feel good.”
One of the things that set their practice apart is that they don’t accept insurance and run their practice like a high-end hotel, she said. They want their patients to feel pampered and taken care of. The Camps understand that their medical practice is a choice and that there are other plastic surgery and nonsurgical services options in Fort Worth for a patient to select from. Because of this, they tend to develop lifelong relationships with their patients.
“We hope that they adore us as much as we do them,” said Camp.
Camp’s advice to any aspiring entrepreneur in the healthcare industry is to read as much as you can; surround yourself with mentors who have had great success; gather family who supports you because it’ll be a bumpy ride; and remember to take care of yourself physically.
“Don’t be afraid to pivot if something isn’t going well,” said Camp.
The Camps hope to be seen as leaders in teaching others in the industry and want to have their practice more involved with Harris College and TCU’s business and marketing departments, as they set out to open two operating rooms this fall.