News & Views

Perspectives on the locum tenens industry

Hello, the nurse practitioner will see you now

Last week was National Nurses Week, but we think recognition for our talented, and much needed, nursing professionals shouldn’t be limited to a single week. At Interim Physicians, we recognize the hard work and dedication of all nurses and understand our country desperately needs these healthcare professionals. That’s why, in addition to staffing physician jobs, we often work with nurse practitioners (NPs) to place them in locum tenens jobs across the United States.

It’s no secret that the United States is facing a physician shortage, and primary care is taking the biggest hit. In fact, we now have fewer primary care physicians per person than many other developed nations. Canada, for example, has 1.2 per 1,000 people; the U.S., just 0.3. This is harmful to patients, not only because they may not be able to receive the preventative care and health management they need, but also because it limits their access to specialists, who often are referred by a patient’s primary care physician.

NPs can lessen the impact of this shortage and expand care options for patients by serving as primary care providers in rural and underserved areas. While they may not have as much training as an MD, NPs are licensed to do many of the same things, like routine physical assessments, continuing care for patients with stable chronic conditions, and acute care in hospital settings. Even domains that were once formerly controlled solely by physicians, such as drug prescription authority, are included in nurse practitioners’ expanded scope of practice (depending on state regulations). Using NPs for things like wellness-checks and monitoring established therapies frees physicians up to focus on surgical cases and conditions that fall outside the scope of an NP.

But is treatment really the same? In most cases, yes. According to a 2017 study, practices with more nurse practitioners and physicians assistants had fewer specialist referrals, hospitalizations, and ER visits. Other research has found that when it comes to common problems, like high blood pressure, diabetes, and respiratory infections, there’s little difference in treatment from physicians and nurse practitioners.

Hospitals, practices, and companies are turning to nurse practitioners to help manage their patient populations more now than ever before. According to a 2017 review, nurse practitioners and physician assistants were the third highest recruiting requests by facilities, up from number five the year before. In fact, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that employment of nurse practitioners will grow 31 percent by 2026, much faster than the average growth of all other occupations (7 percent).

There’s never been a better time to take advantage of the freedom, flexibility, and unmatched earning potential that comes with an NP locum tenens job with Interim Physicians We recruit for top locum tenens jobs nationwide. Start your job search here, or reach out to a recruiter now to find your next locum tenens assignment.