…Some physicians, anyway
This week, Forbes reported that demand for nurse practitioners is higher than the demand for most physician specialties. Only family physicians, psychiatrists and internists are more highly sought after than NPs in today’s job market. Demand for nurse practitioners was higher than that of 15 other physician specialties. Why the changing employment tide?
One contributor to the demand for nurse practitioners is changing scope of practice legislation. Regulatory momentum is in nurse practitioners’ favor as states increasingly eliminate restrictions placed on the way nurse practitioners are allowed to practice. Fewer regulations means less bureaucratic red tape for employers interested in bringing NPs on board. A more permissive scope of practice allows employers to use NPs to fill larger roles making them more attractive options when it comes to provider staffing. Currently, 22 states and the District of Columbia give nurse practitioners full practice authority.
Changes to our country’s healthcare structure on a federal level have also contributed to increasing demand for NPs. First, with the passing of Obamacare, the upheaval in the healthcare market resulted in a greater number of Americans with health insurance seeking care. Healthcare facilities brought nurse practitioners on as a cost-effective way to treat increasing patient volumes. Second, with the election of President Trump, the healthcare community faces uncertainty as to what the future of healthcare for Americans will look like. Hiring nurse practitioners in the face of uncertainty poses less risk to employers than hiring physicians. Not only do NPs pose less of a financial risk to employers than physicians given their salaries, they are also less likely to have an ownership stake in the practice contributing to these financial benefits. Faced with uncertainty, many employers choose to mitigate risk, and find NPs a more palatable option for growing their practices.
The Forbes article offers an additional perspective on the rising demand for NPs. It suggests that the shift away from fee-for-service medicine to value-based care may have an impact. Reimbursement rates now depend more heavily on quality of care and patient satisfaction than volume, leaving employers to look for new methods for staffing to maximize reimbursement structures.
Have you seen demand for nurse practitioners increase in your area?
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