January 2014 Newsletter Article

Entrepreneur Profile: Rosemarie Torrento

[Photo credit: Doug Coombe]

Title: Founder, CEO and President
Company: Health Providers Choice
Year founded: 2002
Industry: Health Services
Offices: Detroit
Activity: Nurse staffing firm
Annual Revenue: $15 million
School Attended: Wayne State University
Degree: B.S., Psychology, 1998
Certification: RN, Henry Ford Hospital, 1988
Company website: HPCNursing.com

“What I loved about research is the same thing I love about being an entrepreneur—seeing the gap and figuring out what it’s going to take to solve the problem.”

While working on her doctoral degree in biopsychology at Wayne State University, Rosemarie Torrento’s marriage unraveled, forcing her to look for a way to support herself and her daughter, then in high school. Sacrificing her remaining education, Torrento decided to take everything she had learned up to that point and look for a full-time job. A latex allergy she had developed earlier in her career as a nurse kept her from returning to that career, but she knew she could draw on what she knew about research, databases, human resources and what she had picked up while assisting a professor in occupational psychology.

She was hired at Beaumont Hospital as a nurse recruiter, reporting directly to the CEO. She established Beaumont’s first nursing employment department and created measurement metrics still used as benchmarks in many U.S. hospitals today. After four years, she decided to take her career to the next level and venture out on her own.

“You don’t have to know everything to be an entrepreneur. But if you put the right people in the right places, your company will grow.”

Torrento’s decision to start her own nurse staffing company in 2002 turned out to be a smart move. The economy was weakening in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and Torrento was able to bring in as partners three seasoned professionals who had run businesses in the areas of staffing IT and engineering.

While she didn’t have a lot of equity to bring to Health Providers Choice, she had a solid business plan. Torrento promised her new partners she would eliminate their outstanding debt and begin earning a profit within five years. She wildly exceeded her own projections, going from zero to $15 million in revenue within the first three years by providing nurses who provide excellent patient care at a highly professional level.

Torrento has recently co-founded a new non-profit organization. Located in the Detroit metropolitan area, Nurses for Detroit’s mission is to address the health needs of the city of Detroit by aligning nurses with the needs of local community agencies and local residents. Torrento also is writing a book that addresses how incivility within the nursing profession affects safety and the quality of care patients receive in hospitals and extended care facilities.