Decoding Nurse Practitioner Job Board Jargon

If you’re on the hunt for the perfect nurse practitioner job, you’ve undoubtedly searched a job board or two. Eventually, after scrolling through posting after posting, your eyes begin to glaze over. Until your phone start ringing, that is. The forms of interest you’ve filled out online have triggered an endless string of calls about jobs and you can’t keep track of who’s who. Inevitably, you step away from the computer, your head space too overwhelmed to deal with reading about one more position that isn’t a match for your needs. 

Slogging through job boards can certainly feel unproductive (instead try starting your job search here). But, an understanding of the jargon employers and recruiters use in their postings can help you sort through opportunities more effectively. Here are a few key words to know and understand.


Locum tenens job opportunities, often referred to on job boards as ‘locums’, are technically temporary positions. These may be short-term assignments seeking applicants to cover only a few shifts or long-term seeking coverage for a few months or more. Locums opportunities that do not delineate specific dates or a time frame the nurse practitioner will be needed are often available on an ongoing basis. So, jobs labeled as ‘locums’ deserve a look even if you aren’t looking for a temporary opportunity.


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‘Perm’ is simply recruiter jargon for “permanent”. These positions are exactly what you think of when you consider your typical nurse practitioner job. Employers hiring for permanent positions are looking for a long-term commitment, usually a year or longer.

Allied Health

Allied health refers to careers in the healthcare field outside of medicine and nursing. But, some recruiting agencies lump non-physicians including nurse practitioners and physician assistants into the allied health category. If you are searching a healthcare recruiting website and can’t seem to find any NP or PA positions, look for “allied health” in the drop-down menu.

HRSA or NHSC Qualified Area

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and the National Helath Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) offer student loan repayment programs for nurse practitioners practicing in certain medically underserved areas of the country. Employers hiring in areas qualifying as underserved often list this in their job posting to help attract candidates. Be advised, just because an area qualifies as underserved does not mean you are eligible to receive the maximum loan repayment amount through these programs. Even if the position won’t get you the $50,000 maximum loan repayment, any cash toward paying off your student loan debt is a nice perk!


DOE stands for “depending on experience”. On job boards, this terminology is typically used in association with salary.

High Volume or Fast-Paced

Job postings describing the position as “high volume” or “fast-paced” should clue you in to the fact that the employer in question values productivity. Some employers, for example, are looking for nurse practitioners to treat 40 patients a day. If you notice these terms in a job posting apply only if you are comfortable with that type of clinical environment.


Nurse practitioner job postings labeled “1099” signal the employer is looking for an NP to work as an “independent contractor”. Taking a position as a 1099 employee rather than one receiving the standard W-2 can have some significant tax implications. If you are looking at taking a 1099 position, consider running your situation by a financial advisor first.


New grad nurse practitioners often lament that all job postings online are looking for experience. In reality, some employers are a little lenient when is comes to the level of experience they are willing to accept. If a job description states something along the lines of “new grads need not apply”, don’t waste your time if you lack NP experience. But, it may be worth submitting your resume to positions requiring only limited nurse practitioner experience.

Candidate vs. Client

Job opportunities posted by recruiters often refer to the ‘candidate’ and ‘client’. You, the nurse practitioner, are the candidate. The employer looking to hire is the client. This terminology is used because recruiters are paid by employers to place NPs in jobs. The employer is the recruiter’s client.

Trigger Point Injections

Pain management jobs are stigmatized in the medical world. So, employers often don’t label them as such on job boards. If you are reading a job description and notice the words “trigger point injections”, this is often a sign the position is one in a pain management practice. By no means does this mean you shouldn’t express interest in the job, but ony do so if you’re interested in a pain management type specialty.

Competitive Salary

The words “competitive salary” are by far the most frustrating to find in a job description. An employer’s definition of competitive salary may be much different than your own! If salary is not disclosed in a job description, do your homework. What is the average nurse practitioner salary in your area? What is the average salary for the position in question? This will help you determine if the offer is in fact “competitive”.


Nurse practitioner job postings often advertise for NPs who can “work independently”. This doesn’t refer to state scope of practice laws, but more to nurse practitioners who are confident in their skill set and have progressed past new grad status. For jobs labeled with the word “independent”, it’s important to asses the level of support you will receive should you take the position.


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You Might Also Like: 7 Questions YOU Need to Ask in a Nurse Practitioner Job Interview


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