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  • Writer's pictureLeanna Coy, FNP-C

The 5-Year Plan

Updated: Mar 2

Lofty ambitions in health writing led me to pivot in a new direction with nursing.


a man in a green shirt, a woman in a black tank top and white hat, a man in a green shirt and hat holding a backpack with yellow blue and red stripes, a woman in a green shirt all standing in front of a wall painted with birds and a quote from the Dalai Lama
Visiting a bird sanctuary in Colombia

Unlike many people during the pandemic, I was not quarantined at home in my stretchy pants, learning to bake sourdough bread. Although, I did get to watch my daughter do this when her college shut down. As a nurse practitioner, my workplace did not shut down, and I continued to show up every day. It was not the soul-draining hospital experience many of my colleagues suffered through. No, I worked in a rural primary care clinic trying to keep people out of the hospital. I enjoy my job immensely and worked hard to get here. 


Providing care in a rural clinic was part of my 5-year plan. I’m a big fan of the 5-year plan idea. The 5-year plan got me through nursing school and guided me to becoming a nurse practitioner. Another 5-year plan led me to a home on the Oregon coast. My current plan is winding down this year, and I’m looking forward to the next five years. After more than 20 years in nursing caring for patients and my family, I am ready to do something meaningful for myself.


In 2020, I came across information on healthcare writing. This was something I never considered before. Writing for healthcare was never a dream of mine. But writing was. My interest in writing goes back to my high school years when I was really into journalism. “Broadcast News” was one of my favorite films. I attended conferences and was editor-in-chief of my school paper with plans to attend the University of Montana School of Journalism. Then…I didn’t follow this path.


At 17, I decided to join the Air Force instead of attending college. There were many reasons for this decision that I won’t go into here. Life carried on with its ups and downs. I lived overseas, married, had children, and started a career in nursing. Because I started college later in life, nursing was a better choice at the time to help support my family. I built my nursing career from the ground up. First as a certified nurse assistant to bedside nurse, clinic nurse, and then as a nurse practitioner. 


I was thrilled to learn about healthcare writing by nurses. I could combine two things I loved, working in healthcare and writing. Since starting down this path, I’ve gone through some coaching and education to help ramp myself up, and I am growing my business at a pace that works well for me. As I look to the next five years, I aim to continue growing my young business as a freelancer while transitioning out of clinic work. My 5-year plan is:

  1. Continue gradually cutting back on my patient facing hours to allow more time for writing 

  2. Continue to grow my business by taking on more regular clients

  3. Shift my primary income from patient care to writing

  4. Develop editing skills to add this aspect to my business

  5. Spend more time enjoying life and traveling with my husband


Nursing is in my blood. I’m not sure I will ever completely give up on working with patients as my empathetic heart draws me to them. However, I am thankful for the varied career paths nursing offers and the ability to find a new direction in healthcare writing.

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