Last week as I was helping a Career Advisor candidate look for a new position, I typed “nurse practitioner jobs” into the search bar on my laptop. I sifted through the results of my query, my eye out for a position that would be a good fit for this particular nurse practitioner. A curious posting caught my eye. The job posting advertised for nurse practitioners not as clinical providers but rather to become Uber drivers.
A huge fan of Uber myself, I was intrigued as to why Uber would want to parter with nurses and nurse practitioners. Did the company have some cool new program up it’s sleeve? I had heard about the rollout of UberHEALTH’s flu shot on demand pilot program last year, what was next?
To quell my curiosity, I reached out to Jena Wuu, Uber public engagement specialist, and Luke Marklin, Uber Nashville general manager, to get the details of the company’s intent to partner with healthcare providers. Here’s what they had to say.
Me: Uber seems to be testing the waters in regards to healthcare as evidenced by last year’s flu shot program. Tell me more about how Uber is getting involved in providing healthcare services.
Luke & Jena: Right now, Uber primarily transports people, but it is really a platform to help things move around cities more quickly. If we can get a car to you in five minutes, we can get anything to you in five minutes. For example, we can deliver food or we can deliver a kitten adoption service to your office in 30 minutes (oh yes, it’s a thing). We can also apply this to concepts like healthcare and disaster relief. For example, in New York City Uber now has a faster response time than the city’s ambulance service (2.42 minutes vs. 6.1 minutes in Manhattan).
We also recently had our first Uber birth! A woman who summoned an Uber when she went into labor ended up delivering the baby in the back of the car on the way to the hospital. Uber birth isn’t a planned platform for us (I laugh), but it’s amazing to see how much people are relying on Uber.
Me: How are people currently using Uber’s services for health-related purposes?
Luke & Jena: One of the trends we are starting to see is the need for care of aging patients. Older people don’t have a reliable way to get around town. In many cases we see people requesting Uber rides for their aging parents to help them get healthcare and access to other services they need. We are thinking of expanding transportation services to help this population and have already done so in some markets. In Singapore, for example, we have a partnership with home healthcare workers where we provide free rides for caregivers in certain organizations. Even in areas where we don’t have a specific healthcare focus, we can fulfill the need for transport increasing access to care.
Me: So, where do nurses and nurse practitioners fit in with Uber? Why the advertisements calling for healthcare providers to become drivers?
Luke & Jena: Healthcare providers actually make up a significant percentage of our driver base in some markets. We think it’s becasue it makes a lot of sense. Healthcare professionals are going to provide good service, the arrangement works well for them and it works well for us. Many nurses, for example, are shift workers and find it convenient to fit driving for Uber into their weekly routine. By driving for Uber, healthcare providers can earn about $25 to $35/hour during high volume times (Nashville market) providing a good supplemental income.
Me: What do healthcare providers need to know about driving for Uber?
Luke & Jena: Right now, we are working on a global project to hire one million female drivers. There are many advantages to driving for Uber that speak specifically to women. First, the opportunity offers ultimate flexibility. This is an advantage for women as they make up a majority of the part-time workforce. With Uber you choose when, how often, and how long you work allowing a balance between driving, school, work and family. Second, there is no wage gap with Uber. You are paid for the trips you conduct. Finally, with Uber there is accountability that makes driving safe. As an Uber driver you are on a technology platform which removes anonymity. You are able to share your trip and know who is getting in your car. The ride is fully transparent.
As I concluded my conversation with Jena and Luke, I couldn’t help but smile. The genius behind Uber is simply unmatched as the company offers unique opportunities to employees and customers alike. As an Uber user, the service has given me unprecedented flexibility in my transportation and from the looks of it an ever growing number of accompanying services to come. For drivers, Uber presents the possibility of supplemental income on your own schedule. I can’t help but think I may have driven for Uber during my NP program had the company existed at the time.
If you are interested in driving for Uber, you can learn more about the opportunity here.
Do you think Uber has a place in healthcare? Would you consider driving for the company?
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