For many people visiting their primary care provider today, a large amount of their time in the office won’t be spent interacting with a physician. Instead, many practices are increasing their utilization of Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants in their practices to relieve some of the pressure on physicians. As the demand for primary care providers outpaces the supply of primary care physicians, Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants are stepping in to fill those gaps. 

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Administrators are quickly realizing that with the physician shortage making physician recruitment a more costly and lengthy undertaking, non-physician providers are becoming an increasingly economical way to meet the needs of their patients.

 

 

States Expand Scope of Practice

In response to the physician shortage, especially in smaller communities, governments are stepping in to give non-physician providers a wider scope of practice, allowing some (such as Nurse Practitioners) to diagnose and prescribe without mandated physician oversight. This also comes into play as more and more non-physician providers are deciding to pursue advanced degrees (ex: DNPs). As these providers accrue more education and practive privileges, their role in health care systems and health systems’ corresponding recruitment strategy will continue to grow in response.

 

Filling Gaps

Non-physician providers, while fulfilling a need for physical providers in many practices and communities, fill gaps in other ways as well. Having received training that emphasizes different aspects of care, NP’s and PA’s can often provide a unique perspective on the care and treatment of patients. This different approach can serve to enhance the quality and scope of care a patient receives, improving outcomes and patient satisfaction.

 

Recruiting Nurse Pratitioners and Physician Assistants

The recruitment of NP’s and PA’s is an essential part of any organization’s healthcare recruitment strategy. As states continue to expand their scope of practice, their value to a practice will grow and the demand for these non-physician providers will increase. While hospitals and health systems need to ensure that they get ahead of this anticipated demand increase for NP’s and PA’s, they also need to take into account several factors before undertaking a recruitment push for non-physician providers, such as:

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  • What amount of autonomy will such providers be afforded according to your organizations regulations?
  • How much experience will you and your patients feel is necesary to allow non-physician providers this autonomy?
  • How and where can we find non-physician providers who are highly qualified and dedicated to our mission and values?

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Prior to undertaking these recruitment efforts, an organization must first answer these questions, establish an ideal candidate profile, and come up with a detailed candidate sourcing and marketing strategy just as they would for a physician recruitment effort.

 

Moving forward, Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants will continue to be crucial parts of a complete healthcare recruitment strategy. As their scope of practice increases to grow, as as our aging population’s demands for high quality care increases, the recrutiment and retention of non-physician providers will become a crucial aspect of a practice’s success and longevity.