9 Ways to Overcome a Lousy Nurse Practitioner Job Market

The realization that you have just become a nurse practitioner living in a less than favorable job market is a bitter pill to swallow. As you look for a position, student loan obligations loom in the back of your mind. Not to mention, it seems totally unfair that everyone has told you throughout your career that NPs are in increasingly high demand and your job outlook is bright. What recourse do you have if you find yourself a nurse practitioner in this position?

There are a few things you can do to better your chances of landing a job if you are a nurse practitioner living in a lousy job market

1. Take an Interim RN Position

If you have relocated or were not working during your nurse practitioner program, accepting a nursing position while you wait for an NP job may be a wise choice. Not only does this provide you with an income, it gives you a forum for networking. If you are well liked at work, and use this opportunity to connect with others in the local healthcare scene, job offers may follow

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2. Improve Your Marketing Tactics

If you live in a highly competitive job market it’s imperative that your personal marketing tactics are on point. Spruce up your resume. It must be perfect. Wear a suit to your interview. Make sure to iron out any wrinkles first. Rehearse responses to potential interview questions in front of the mirror. The ThriveAP Career Advisor ebook can help guide your efforts. 

3. Start Networking

Sorry introverts, but networking is the best recourse you have in landing a nurse practitioner job in an unfavorable job market. Get to know everyone you can in the medical community. Join local nursing or nurse practitioner organizations. Ask nurses, NPs, PAs, and physicians you know if they can recommend anyone else you should connect with. Meet people for coffee. Seek out new connections at work. Be aggressive in making professional connections that could lead to helping you find a position. What do you have to lose?

4. Maintain Two Residences

The nurse practitioner I see personally employs this tactic. Living in Alabama, a poor job market for nurse practitioners, she lives in Tennessee for a few days each week to work then returns home to Alabama for a long weekend. Maintaining two residences is expensive and may not be feasible for nurse practitioners with families or other considerations, but it is an option to consider. 

5. Reconsider Your Commute

A 5 minute commute is of course ideal, but if you live in an area with few job prospects for nurse practitioners you may need to expand your job search radius. Don’t forget to consider a reverse commute. If you live in a large city, for example, willingness to leave the city for the ‘burbs to work may improve your job outlook. You can continue living in an urban area while commuting to a surrounding suburb for work. 

6. Look into Locum Tenens

Short term locum tenens assignments are an excellent option for nurse practitioners living in poor job markets. Typically with these positions the employer pays for travel to and from the job location as well as housing for the duration of the assignment. Nurse practitioners may travel to a different location, work anywhere from a few shifts to a few weeks or months on a particular assignment, then return to their home base. Schedules for some locum tenens positions may even allow the NP to return home weekly. 

7. Move

I hate to say it folks, but relocating broadens your job search horizons. This may mean a move within your city or state to find a position within commuting distance or it may mean relocating to a different state. If you are able to relocate, do your research or better yet secure a job first. You don’t want to move only to find yourself in a similar position a few months later. 

8. Practice Environment Flexibility

Maybe you have dreamed of a career in the emergency department since age six or always imagined yourself working alongside a cardiologist. Getting your foot in the door as a new graduate or in a tough job market will be easier if you are willing to accept a job that’s less than your dream position. Taking a job that’s not your ideal will still open doors for your future. With your continued connections and experience, you just may eventually land the job of your dreams-competitive job market or not. 

9. Be Patient

Handing out resume after resume without a response is discouraging. If you live in an area with a tough job market, prepare yourself financially and mentally for a lengthy job search. Persist in your efforts no matter how many doors close in your face. 

Could you use some help in your nurse practitioner job search? Check out ThriveAP+, our residency-like program that helps new grad NPs and PAs kick off their careers. 


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2 thoughts on “9 Ways to Overcome a Lousy Nurse Practitioner Job Market”

  1. I had no idea the market was not as good I’ve recently heard and read about. I absolutely love your blog and read most of your pos . I recently just started UAB’s AMNP program and although I won’t be a nurse practitioner for another 3 years, its disappointing to know the market is not as bright as I looked forward too. Although things can always change in two years also!

  2. Hi C, 

    You are correct – the job market may very well change over the next few years. Keep in mind that job markets for NPs depend heavily on location. In some places there is a great need for nurse practitioners and new grads do not have trouble finding work. 

    Good luck with your NP program!

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