Whether you are employed by a large company, or own a small, solo practice, as a nurse practitioner, part of the responsibility for structuring and maintaining a successful business falls on you. Building your patient panel may seem like a daunting task, however the ability to do so is a huge advantage. As part of this process, nurse practitioners have the opportunity to create a practice catering to patients they, well, actually like. Let me explain.
Even nurse practitioners whose practices service medically diverse patient populations, such as those working in primary care, have specialized interests. Practicing in the emergency department, for example, I enjoy treating adolescent and young adult populations the most. These patient’s medical histories are less complex allowing me to focus on the problem at hand. They are young and impressionable, seeming the most eager to soak up and apply healthcare advice I provide. Some NPs prefer to treat patients of specific age groups, others prefer patients with certain types of medical problems.
Along with our varied medical interests, our personalities inevitably come into play in our profession. Some nurse practitioners enjoy the challenge of treating patients less likely to comply with medical advice. For others, working with these individuals leads to insurmountable frustration. How do you build a patient panel packed with patients you actually like?
1. Define your target audience
To start the process, identify the types of patients you enjoy treating most. If you are working in family practice, do you prefer pediatric patients, adult patients, or a mixture of both? Do you enjoy treating patients with complex or straightforward medical problems? Are there certain healthcare habits that irk you? Define the patient population you are the most excited about working with so you can focus your practice building efforts.
2. Ask for referrals
As I mentioned in this post, asking your current patients to help get the word out about your services is perfectly appropriate. Let the patients you enjoy working with most know you are looking to grow your practice. Ask them to let friends and family members who might benefit from your care know of your availability. Chances are, you will mesh well with the friends and family members of your favorite patients.
3. Coordinate with other providers
If you work in a practice with other healthcare providers, capitalize on the strengths and interests of coworkers. This way, each provider can work treating the types of medical conditions and patient populations that interest them most.
4. Seek out additional certifications or credentials
Obtaining advanced certifications, skills, and credentials helps you market yourself as a nurse practitioner catering to a specific type of patients. If a certain specialty or skill interests you, attend conferences or obtain additional certifications in your area of interest. Post these credentials in your bio on your company’s website to attract patients that might benefit from such knowledge.
What types of patients do you enjoy treating most? How have you built your practice around your interests?