What it Takes to Become a Dental Assistant

Becoming a dental assistant is a popular job choice because it offers a stable salary, the ability to help others, and a quick entry into the workforce of dentistry. Dental assistants need to have a high skill level and the ability to pay attention to detail. If this sounds like the job for you, here is what you need to do in order to become a dental assistant.

Get Your Education

Dental assistants may attend a program at a technical school or community college. It usually takes around two years to get the schooling, depending on the certificate, degree, or diploma pursued. Education includes hands-on learning in a clinical setting. Typical coursework includes dental materials, dental pharmacology, oral anatomy, CPR and first aid, and dental radiography.

Not all states require students to get an education before becoming a dental assistant. However, those who do have an advantage over the competition since they’ve had in-depth training and a chance to really learn about what they’re doing compared to assistants who learn on the job.

Get an Externship

An externship is a voluntary part of coursework. An externship gives students a chance for real world learning by assisting a dentist in their office, allowing them to really see what the job is like and what they’re signing up for. It’s here that students learn about dental pathology, oral anatomy, oral hygiene, radiology, and dental pharmacology. Students looking to focus on a particular area of dentistry can seek dental assistant training that focuses on their desired area of expertise during their externship.

Get State Licensing or Certification

The certification and license requirements for dental assistants are different from one state to another, so it’s important to be aware of what your state requires. It is recommended that a person contact their state dental board or look at the Dental Assisting National Board’s website information. The DANB’s certified dental assistant examination covers radiation health and safety, general chairside, and infection control.

Of the 900 possible points scored on the exam, students must score 400 or better to get the certification. Some states may require additional coursework for students who fail the first time around to retake the exam. If a student wants to work in a specialized position, they can get additional training and certification in orthodontics, preventative functions, and therapeutic functions.

Get a Job

After graduation and licensing, you will have several opportunities to work in various settings and specialty areas. This field is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the US and has an annual salary of between $41,000 and $58,000.

As a dental assistant, you will be one of the first individuals the patient encounters. Your professional and compassionate communication will go a long way in making the patient feel at ease. It is estimated that the need for dental assistants will continue to grow over the next two years. This makes it a job that offers possibilities now and room for growth in the future.


Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Nurse’s Leaving Direct Patient Care – Where Will They Go?

A recent study from McKinsey & Company offers few surprises about the state of the nursing profession. The study highlights what many in healthcare have known for a long time: registered nurse jobs are plentiful because nurses are leaving direct patient care and there are not enough new nurses coming in to take their spots. However, the study does raise an interesting question.

If as many as one-third of all currently employed nurses plan to leave direct patient care, where will they go? There are non-clinical opportunities out there, but there may not be enough to keep all of them employed in nursing. More non-clinical jobs could be created, which could possibly help boost the number of new nurses being trained in the years to come.

Planning to Leave Soon

The McKinsey & Company survey questioned both registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) about their plans for the future. Researchers noted that prior to the start of the COVID pandemic, new nursing licenses were up roughly 4% year-on-year. That probably would not have helped ease the nursing shortage even if the pandemic hadn’t reared its ugly head. But now, with the pandemic largely over, so few new nurses seeking licensing will barely make a dent in the problem.

That is because the pandemic has left some 30% of currently employed nurses reconsidering the commitment to remain in clinical care. By 2025, they expect to be in non-clinical positions or out of nursing altogether. That is a significant number by any measure. Any other industry losing 30% of its workforce would find itself in big trouble in short order. Healthcare already has its problems. Losing one-third of its nursing staff cannot be good.

Non-Clinical Job Options

So, what does the job market look like for nurses hoping to leave clinical work? LPNs are probably going to find it tougher to remain in nursing after a decision to leave direct patient care. RNs should have an easier time. Creating more registered nurse jobs in education would be a start.

According to McKinsey & Company, one of the reasons nursing schools are not producing enough new nurses is that there aren’t enough spots for all the students looking for an education. Expanding nursing programs is the obvious solution here. To do that, schools need to create more educator spots. The study also suggests creating more mentor programs whereby experienced RNs mentor smaller numbers of students as they work through the later stages of education.

Another suggestion in the McKinsey & Company report is that both government and the private sector find ways to make more use of registered nurses. What that would look like, in terms of job creation, is unclear. But if keeping RNs employed in nursing after leaving clinical work is the goal, jobs need to be created somewhere.

Rethinking Healthcare Profits

There is no arguing that RN and LPN jobs or readily available. Employers cannot fill them fast enough. But with more nurses planning to leave clinical work within the next few years, something must be done to keep hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices operating. Perhaps it is time to rethink profit. Maybe it is time for the industry to accept lower profits in exchange for more nurses who really just want lighter workloads, more flexible schedules, and a bump in pay.

We have been talking about the nurse shortage for some time now. Continuing to talk about it will not change anything. If we really want to prevent one-third of our nurses from leaving clinical work, we need to get serious about addressing their motivations for doing so.

Safely Managing the High-Stress World of Healthcare

Working in the healthcare industry is noble, exciting, and fast-paced. No two days are the same, which can give you a lot of energy and motivation to go to work each day.

 However, no matter your position in the industry, it’s safe to say that healthcare is high stress. It’s exciting, but there are a lot of demands placed on your shoulders every day. That can take a massive toll on your physical and mental health.

 Healthcare workers are especially susceptible to more stress in uncertain times and chaotic situations. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, 93% of healthcare workers were experiencing stress, while 83% were more anxious, and 75% were overwhelmed.

 Feeling stressed at your job can cause you to experience burnout. That often leads to a lack of motivation at work, but it can also put you and your patients in danger.

 Let’s take a closer look at why properly mitigating stress in the healthcare field is so important and a few ways you can make stress management a priority.

The Importance of Stress Management

As a healthcare worker, you spend most of your days putting the well-being of others before yourself. Unfortunately, when your mental and physical health takes a back seat, you could end up doing more long-term harm than you initially realize.

 Some of the most serious issues associated with excess stress include

  • High blood pressure
  • Body aches
  • Digestive issues
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Increased risk of anxiety and depression

Too much stress can even be harmful to your skin. Stress can impact your immune system and your skin’s ability to heal. You’ll be more susceptible to irritants and allergens, and when you’re hyper focused on how irritated and itchy your skin feels, it will contribute to even more stress, perpetuating the endless cycle.

 Finally, it can impact the way you feel about your job. You might love what you do, but if you’re straddling the line of burnout, you could start resenting your job, especially if you don’t have a healthy work-life balance. Not only will that impact your mental state, but it can cause you to become a risk to your co-workers and patients since it’s harder to focus and concentrate.

 Outside of work, the physical and mental toll of stress can impact your relationships and social life. You might feel like you don’t have enough time to spend with your family and friends, or the pressure of too much stress might cause you to become irritable with those closest to you.

The Dangers of Negative Coping Habits

If you know you’re stressed, but you feel like you don’t “have time” to properly deal with it, you could also be putting yourself at risk for developing unhealthy coping habits. Yes, even healthcare workers knowingly do things that can cause harm. One of the most common in the industry is substance abuse. Studies have shown that 10-15% of healthcare professionals will misuse substances at some point. Some of the most common signs of this type of abuse include

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent nausea
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Arriving to work late
  • Difficulty performing on the job

 Whether it’s drugs, alcohol, risky behaviors, or overeating, there are plenty of negative and potentially harmful ways to cope with stress. Unfortunately, they could put your career at risk, and wreak havoc on your health. That’s why it’s essential to know how to mitigate stress in healthy, effective ways through coping mechanisms that don’t cause harm.

How to Manage Stress the Right Way

Now that you know how important it is to manage your stress in the world of healthcare, how can you do it? We know, it might often feel easier said than done when you’re working 12-hour shifts and dealing with countless patients who need help.

 However, your well-being needs to be your top priority. If you don’t take proper care of yourself, you won’t be able to effectively care for others.

 Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to mitigate stress daily. The best part? They don’t have to take up a ton of time. Small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference. Some of the easiest and most effective ways to manage stress are

  • Exercising
  • Prioritizing sleep
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Deep breathing exercises (mindfulness and meditation)
  • Journaling

 If you’re really struggling with stress and you’re worried about developing anxiety or depression, don’t hesitate to talk to someone. It’s not always easy for those in the healthcare field to reach out to other professionals for help, but it’s sometimes necessary. Working with a therapist, counselor, or attending group therapy can help you get to the root cause of your stress while making it easier to establish healthy coping techniques to work through it.

 By choosing to prioritize your health and manage your stress now, you can enjoy a long, fulfilling career in healthcare for years to come. However, you’ll also have a better experience outside of work, enjoying a healthier work-life balance, more time focused on your friends and family, and a deep dedication to self-care.

Image Source: Unsplash

      Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, activism-related content. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter. 


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Searching for Medical Jobs: Going Where the Money Is

Despite the modern workforce wanting more than just good pay and benefits, there is no getting around the fact that people want to be paid what they feel they are worth. Healthcare workers are not an exception to the rule. It is with that in mind that looking at the top job markets for healthcare workers gets interesting. Some markets definitely pay more than others.

 Becker’s Hospital Review recently released a list of the highest paying job markets for healthcare workers in the U.S., based on data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS). Most of what the data shows isn’t surprising. But there are a few hidden gems in the numbers.

 It is reasonable to assume that job seekers on the hunt for medical jobs might consider salary and benefits first. After that, they might look at things like location and work environment. Moreover, it could be that the majority of American workers do not necessarily want to pick up and move just to make more money.

 Top Locations for Nurses

 The first category examined by Becker’s was registered nurses (RNs). We already know that RNs are in high demand across the country. But where do they earn the most money? Apparently, it’s in California. All the top spots on the Becker’s list are found in the Golden State. Here they are:

  •  San Jose – $155,230
  • San Francisco – $151,640
  • Vallejo-Fairfield – $146,360
  • Santa Rosa – $141,440
  • Napa – $139,680.

 California seems like the place to be if you are a registered nurse hoping to maximize your paycheck. That’s curious, considering that supply and demand heavily influences salary and benefits. What is it about California that appears to make it more difficult to recruit registered nurses there?

 Advanced Practice Nurses

 Becker’s Hospital Review took the approach of dividing advanced practice nurses into two categories: nurse practitioners and physician assistants. That could be due to the fact that the top paying locations for both are different. NPs are paid most in four of the same five cities listed in the RN category. For the fifth city, just remove Santa Rosa and insert Yuba City. San Jose keeps the top spot at $197,870.

 PAs apparently make the most in the joint cities of Portsmouth, NH and Portsmouth, ME. There, they earn roughly $167,240. The remaining four of the top five cities for PAs are:

  •  Panama City, FL – $165,000
  • San Francisco – $164,150
  • San Jose – $163,720
  • Vallejo-Fairfield, CA – $162,030.
  •  California still commands three of the top five spots for physician assistants. So far, the Golden State appears to be the destination of choice for high paying medical jobs.

 Top Locations for Pharmacists

 Last on the list for Becker’s are pharmacists. If you are guessing that California jobs pay the most, you are spot on. Here are the numbers:

  •  San Jose – $168,640
  • San Francisco – $163,840
  • Santa Rosa – $158,420
  • Vallejo-Fairfield – $156,850
  • Santa Cruz – $152,770.

 It is clear that medical jobs pay extremely well in California. We just don’t quite know why. We cannot discount supply and demand but getting a clear picture would also require looking at things like median income, cost of living, and so forth. Just because healthcare workers make more money in California doesn’t mean they enjoy a higher standard of living. Things cost more on the West coast as well.

 At any rate, if you are in the hunt for medical jobs, California has plenty to offer. So do most other states. Take a good look around our job board and see what you can find. With so many jobs available in nearly every healthcare sector, you’re bound to find something that suits you.


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

That Moment You Realize the Doctor Is a Wannabe Rock Star

Search as many physician jobs as you want on our job board, and we’re betting you won’t find any that require musical skills. Musical ability has nothing to do with providing quality medical care. But that has not stopped a group of physicians in suburban Chicago from not only learning to play, but also using their musical talents to thank nurses and support staff.

 Imagine that moment the staff realized some of their doctors were wannabe rock stars. Imagine seeing a doctor you work closely with, day after day, doing his best Jimmy Buffet impression – just to make you smile. What recently happened at Central DuPage Hospital undoubtedly made a lot of people happy. The healthcare industry needs more of it.

 Plenty of Bad News

 We do not have to look far to find bad news in healthcare. There is plenty of it. From physician burnout to nurses leaving clinical work in droves, we could spend all day focusing on the problems. Those problems do need some attention, but they shouldn’t command all of our attention. There is more than enough good to focus on.

 Some of that good was tapped into by Northwestern Medicine’s Dr. Anthony F. Altimari, M.D. According to the Daily Harald, Altimari’s love of music goes beyond just the music itself. He finds it therapeutic. When the stresses of his profession start getting to him, he picks up his guitar and goes to town.

Altimari is apparently not alone. He has made it his mission to encourage colleagues at Central DuPage to do the same thing. Many of them have. So much so that a bunch of them got together and put on a concert for hospital staff. The concert was a way for them to show their appreciation for how hard nurses and support staff worked during the COVID pandemic.

 Doctors Are People Too

 Physician jobs are a dime a dozen. That being the case, it is easy for the rest of us to forget that doctors are people too. They have families to take care of. They have bills to pay, houses to maintain, and cars that need to go into the shop for work. They also have their dreams and ambitions outside of medicine.

 Some of the nursing staff at Central DuPage were probably shocked to discover that the doctors they work with are also wannabe rock stars. But why should that be so unusual? Music is universal. People love it wherever you go. Furthermore, far more people possess musical talent than actually use it to benefit others.

 Your surgeon may have the steadiest hands in the business. And if so, you probably appreciate that. But perhaps those same hands are capable of performing guitar licks that would rival anything Jimmy Hendrix produced. Then again, maybe your highly skilled surgeon couldn’t carry a note in a bucket. You just don’t know.

 The Good Side of Medicine

 If nothing else, nurses and support staff at Central DuPage recently got a break from their stressful jobs. They got to enjoy the good side of medicine brought to them by a group of rocker doctors who just happen to be very good on their instruments. What a sight that must have been for the staff.

 Are you currently on the hunt for good physician jobs? If so, remember that there is more to life than work. Do whatever job you eventually land to the best of your ability. But do not hesitate to pursue other interests as well. You might be able to use those interests to do something good for others.


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Where to Go for Help Getting into Med School and Other Professional Healthcare Programs

Even if you already have a bachelor’s degree, you may not be ready for the advanced education required for medical school, dental school, physician assistant school, or other professional healthcare programs. So what can you do?

You may want to consider a post-baccalaureate premedical/prehealth program. In the following, I’ll explain how you can benefit from such a program.

I’m an associate professor and Chair of Natural Sciences in the Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program at Northwestern Health Sciences University. Over nearly 20 years, I’ve seen firsthand how a post-baccalaureate program can help prepare students for the next stage of their education path — and their life.

Could you benefit from this type of program? Let’s take a look.

1. Prove you’ve mastered certain subjects

When you apply to a professional healthcare program like med school, the admissions committee will invariably be looking closely at your undergraduate academic performance.

But if your grades aren’t especially strong, a post-baccalaureate program could help. That’s because it enables you to retake courses — upper level science courses in particular — that you didn’t do so well in the first time around.

More specifically, a post-baccalaureate program gives you a chance to demonstrate an upward trend in your academic performance, which is what that admissions committee will be looking for if your undergraduate GPA is less than ideal.

(For more information, see 8 Things to Know About Improving Your GPA to Get Into Medical School and Other Professional Healthcare Programs.)

2. Fulfill prerequisites

Before you can pursue a professional healthcare degree, you will need to have successfully completed a number of prerequisite science courses.

But if your undergraduate degree is in a subject like, for example, history, English, or a foreign language, it’s likely that you didn’t take many science courses.

A post-baccalaureate program gives you the opportunity to take those prerequisite courses.

3. Prepare for the standardized entrance exam

If you want to be a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathic medicine, you’ll need to take the Medical College Admission Test. If you’re interested in becoming a dentist, then you’ll need to take the Dental Admission Test. Other healthcare programs have their own entrance exam equivalents.

Obviously, you’ll want to be as ready as possible for your entrance exam.

The good news is that post-baccalaureate programs commonly offer preparatory classes and other resources specifically intended to help students prepare for entrance exams.

4. Benefit from advising that caters to your specific needs

To be thoroughly prepared for the next phase of your education, you’ll likely need to do more than just retake a few upper level science courses at a local university. In fact, if you do that, you’ll largely be on your own.

On the other hand, the best post-baccalaureate programs can help you at every stage of your journey thanks to personalized support from an individual advisor — as well as from experienced professors familiar with the unique needs of post-baccalaureate students.

Your advisor and course professors can also support your efforts by providing letters of recommendation, offering insights for your personal statement, and helping you prepare for entrance exams, to name just a few examples.

(Important note: Post-baccalaureate programs will vary. As you consider potential programs, be sure to ask about the advising component. Also, check out Choosing the Right Post-Baccalaureate/Pre-Med Program: 10 Key Questions to Ask.)

5. Gain other advantages from an organized program designed for people like you

In addition to the above, you can gain a number of other advantages from being in a post-baccalaureate program. Here are some of the most important:

  • Enjoy a support network of fellow students with similar goals
  • Have access to opportunities like volunteering and job-shadowing, which can make you a more competitive applicant
  • Participate in mock interviews to prepare for the real thing
  • Practice taking admission tests
  • Connect with current and retired healthcare professionals for advice and insights

Take the next step and start exploring post-baccalaureate programs

If your dream career in healthcare seems out of reach, you now can see how a post-baccalaureate premedical/prehealth program could help. Do any of the points above resonate with you?

If so, then I strongly recommend you take the next step and start exploring programs.

 Jason Thoen, PhD, is an associate professor and Chair of Natural Sciences in the Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program at Northwestern Health Sciences University.

 


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Helping Healthcare Workers Combat Compassion Fatigue

The last few years have been extremely hard for healthcare workers. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare personnel often struggle with long hours and stress, and the pandemic has only made things worse. The trauma of directly confronting the consequences of COVID-19 has caused many people to develop a stress and trauma-related phenomenon known as compassion fatigue.

 Compassion fatigue is a common problem among people who work in high-intensity, stressful jobs involving other people. This advanced form of burnout often leads to people leaving these critical fields for their own health and well-being. So, what can be done to help prevent or reverse compassion fatigue?

 What is Compassion Fatigue?

 Compassion fatigue occurs in people who have careers focusing on helping others in difficult situations. Healthcare workers, counselors, social workers, and other professionals are at the highest risk of developing compassion fatigue.

 Essentially, compassion fatigue occurs when people work long hours while working with people who are sick and dying, struggling with severe mental health issues, or are victims of violence and trauma. Confronting these tragedies on a daily basis takes its toll, leading to extreme exhaustion, burnout, and secondhand trauma.

 Everyone experiences work-related stress at some point during their careers. Many people also develop burnout from working under stressful conditions for too long without rest. However, compassion fatigue takes these problems to an even higher level, due to the nature of the jobs that cause it.

 Compassion fatigue should be taken very seriously. Burnout on its own is bad enough, but the secondary trauma caused by compassion fatigue is even more serious. In addition to causing a range of physical and mental symptoms in the short term, compassion fatigue can even lead to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

 Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue

 If you work in healthcare, it’s important to know how to spot the symptoms of compassion fatigue in yourself and others. Some of these symptoms affect one’s ability to work and care for patients, while others affect personal health and well-being. Signs and symptoms of compassion fatigue to watch out for include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Reduced decision-making ability
  • Edginess
  • Loss of enjoyment and job satisfaction
  • Reduced ability to care for patients
  • Inability to stop thinking about patients
  • Overwhelm; feeling a lack of control
  • Irritability
  • Reduced empathy
  • Anger
  • Disconnection
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse

 People with compassion fatigue can’t relax even when they’re off the clock. They often dwell on patients’ stories and situations, which makes secondary trauma worse.

 Ways to Address Compassion Fatigue

 Healthcare workers give so much to their patients, but it’s important to remember that you can only neglect your own needs for so long before you’re unable to care for others. To prevent and address compassion fatigue, self-care steps need to be a priority, including the following:

 Physical Activity & Diet

 Although healthcare workers are on their feet for long hours, this isn’t the kind of physical activity that can help stabilize mood and promote good health. Making time for regular exercise during free time is important for overall well-being.

 Eating well is also important. Many healthcare workers end up snacking on junk food, which can lead to a host of health problems. Packing healthier snacks and eating nutritious meals are necessary for mental and physical health.

 Relaxation & Rest

 Sleep is incredibly important for everyone, especially those at risk for compassion fatigue. Making time to relax and rest is key to preventing stress from spiraling out of control. Rest improves focus, reduces stress, and makes people better able to cope with their responsibilities at work.

 Healthy Coping Mechanisms

 People who confront awful things daily need ways to cope. Unfortunately, many of these coping mechanisms are unhealthy. Substance abuse is common among those experiencing compassion fatigue.

 Finding healthier coping mechanisms is important. Breathing exercises, muscle relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, and journaling are all good ways to cope with the stress of secondhand trauma. Some people also find that spiritual practices help them feel prepared to go back to work ready to help others.

 Support From Friends, Colleagues & Professionals

 Social support is key, as compassion fatigue can be very isolating. It’s important for healthcare professionals to lean on each other and to keep up their social ties. Being able to laugh with colleagues and relax with friends can make a huge difference and help prevent or improve compassion fatigue.

 For those who need additional support, working with a mental health professional can be a good choice. They can help people who are struggling to develop strategies for dealing with compassion fatigue.

 Finding Your Passion to Make a Difference

 Although compassion fatigue is a hazard of working in healthcare, many people wouldn’t dream of any other career. Without compassionate people who want nothing more than to make the world a better place by helping others, we would be in deep trouble.

 If healthcare is your calling and your passion, then you can make a difference! Just be sure to take care of yourself, too.

by Sarah Daren
With a Bachelor’s in Health Science along with an MBA, Sarah Daren has a wealth of knowledge within both the health and business sectors. Her expertise in scaling and identifying ways tech can improve the lives of others has led Sarah to be a consultant for a number of startup businesses, most prominently in the wellness industry, wearable technology and health education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life with a focus on making America a healthier and safer place for future generations to come.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Healthcare Jobs at the Mall? Yes, It’s a Thing!

Could your search for healthcare jobs lead you to a new position at the mall? Absolutely. As healthcare systems and medical groups are looking for ways to expand without putting a ton of money into new buildings, they are finding the mall environment quite attractive. Malls all over the country are being transformed into mixed-use facilities that include medical facilities of all stripes.

 Vanderbilt University Medical Center has already successfully converted open space at one Nashville mall into multiple clinics. Now they have their eyes set on the Hickory Hollow Mall in the city’s southeast district. The mall offers more than 1 million square feet of easily flexible space, space that could be utilized by a health clinic just as easily as a clothing boutique.

 Saving the Dying Mall

 America’s shopping malls became the place to see and be seen when they first emerged in the 1970s. Throughout the eighties and into the nineties, shopping mall owners enjoyed strong revenue and plenty of growth. But then, for whatever reason, the mall began dying out. An already struggling business model took a big hit from the COVID pandemic.

 These days, owners are looking for every possible way to save the dying mall. Mixed-use projects are one way to do that. Furthermore, inviting medical facilities to set up shop in empty mall space is a win-win for multiple reasons. Property owners benefit by signing new tenants. Medical facilities benefit from two things malls offer in spades: floor space and parking.

 Shopping malls are known for their wide-open spaces, especially in anchor stores. Turning a former department store into a surgical center is just one example. The owner of a medical center walks in and has hundreds of thousands of square feet ready to be converted into surgical suites. Outside is a vast ocean of parking space that offers patients easy access.

 The Possibilities Are Endless

 If this new mixed-use model catches on with medical groups, the possibilities could be endless. From primary care clinics to remote healthcare screening solutions, nothing is off the table. That means plenty of healthcare jobs in spaces that used to be occupied by retail workers hawking everything from bedsheets to jeans.

 Turning vacant mall space into medical space is the real estate equivalent of repurposing. It is a fantastic idea whose time has come. Think about it. How much land was cleared to build that huge mall that now sits nearly empty? It doesn’t make sense to tear the structure down and start over again. So why not re-purpose it?

 Malls are perfect for redevelopment because they are essentially skeletons of flexible space. Malls are architectural shells. You keep the perimeter walls and roof intact while inside, the space is flexible enough to accommodate just about anything. Malls are designed to be that way.

 Mixing Medical with Retail

 Even more intriguing is the concept of mixing medical with retail. One group of workers goes to the mall in search of retail jobs. Another group seeks out medical jobs. While they are all working their typical 9-to-5s, patients and customers become one and the same. They see their doctors first thing in the morning, then head down the walkway to pick up a cup of coffee before going shopping. It is a marriage made in heaven.

 Your next search for healthcare jobs may very well have you looking at mall employment. You might not be staffing the cash register at a retail shop, but you could be offering primary healthcare services in a clinic right next door. It is the wave of the future.


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Per Diem vs. Part-Time vs. Travel: What’s the Difference?

Beginning a job search on Health Jobs Nationwide takes you to a main page where you can filter search results. Among your many options is Employment Type. Our jobs board lists hundreds of thousands of open positions across many types including per diem, part-time, and travel work. Have you ever wondered how the three job types different?

 By far the number one employment type is full-time. There are more than 120,000 full-time positions posted on our site right now. But there are also thousands of per diem, part-time, and travel jobs. If you are not looking for full-time work, one of these categories might interest you. Note that these are all medical jobs.

 1. Per Diem Work

 Although a lot of per diem healthcare jobs are in nursing and teaching, it is technically possible for any medical job to be offered on a per diem basis. Per diem employees do not have a regular schedule. They do not have consistent hours they work from week to week. Rather, they fill in for full- or part-time employees who need to take time off.

 As a per diem nurse, for example, you might work three consecutive shifts to fill in for another nurse who is out. Then you might take three or four days off. Another opportunity will come up for you to take a couple of weekend shifts to fill a temporary gap.

 There are definite benefits to working per diem, including flexibility and premium pay. Some people prefer per diem because it offers an opportunity to learn new skills, broaden one’s knowledge, and work in different environments.

 2. Part-Time Work

 Most of us are familiar with part-time work. It is included in this post as a way of drawing a clearer distinction between per diem and travel work. A part-time worker generally works no more than 32 hours per week. The employee may or may not have access to an employer’s complete benefit package. However, part-time healthcare jobs generally offer benefits of some type.

 Part-time workers may have set schedules. For example, you may have a nurse who works three weekend shifts – a single 12-hour shift or two tens. Their schedule is consistent but, because they only work 32 hours, they are considered part-time.

 3. Travel Work

 Medical jobs in the travel category are almost always clinical jobs. You are talking nurses, doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. Travel workers are usually full-time workers who take work on an assignment basis. Assignments can be as short as a few weeks or as long as 6 to 9 months.

 The key to the travel work category is that employees frequently change locations. Whether that means working at five different hospitals in the same general vicinity or traveling from one state to the next, travel workers don’t make a career at any one facility. Some do not even work exclusively in the U.S.

 Travel workers do have some flexibility in the sense that they have the freedom to choose when and where they want to work. For legal purposes, travel nurses and doctors are self-employed contractors. They contract with facilities or staffing companies to provide services at a given location for a set amount of time. When one assignment expires, it is on to the next one.

 One of the most interesting aspects of working in healthcare is that there are so many different types of medical jobs and working arrangements. Healthcare is anything but static, that’s for sure. Just take a look at our jobs board. We offer so many possibilities that you are bound to find something that’s right for you.

by Tim Rush (CEO HSI, LLC)

Kansas Becomes 26th State to Loosen NP Practice Restrictions

Nurse practitioner jobs in Kansas now offer a bit more freedom thanks to a bill recently signed into law by Governor Laura Kelly. The bill eliminates the need for direct supervision among nurse practitioners looking to provide the primary care they are trained and licensed to perform. Kansas is the 26th state to make the change. Two U.S. territories and the District of Columbia have also given greater practice authority to NPs.

 Will the remaining twenty-four states follow suit? That’s hard to say. A similar bill was defeated in Colorado in early 2022. In other states, legislators are not even having the discussion. Whether or not to sever the supervisory relationship between physicians and nurse practitioners is by no means settled.

 Independent Primary Care

 Prior to the new law, Kansas nurse practitioners were allowed to offer primary care under the supervision of a physician. An NP could work in the supervising doctor’s office or, with a written agreement in place, offer care in a separate facility. In either case, the NP’s scope and practice remained subject to doctor supervision.

 Such restrictive scope and practice laws have been common in the U.S. for decades. However, the COVID pandemic made it clear that NPs and their physician assistant counterparts are more than capable of providing quality primary care without being tethered to a physician. Perhaps that’s why just over half the states have since loosened their restrictions.

 The most intriguing aspect of eliminating direct supervision is its potential impact on nurse practitioner jobs. How will NPs choose to practice in states that don’t require it?

 Retail Primary Care

 A recent Forbes article by Senior contributor Bruce Japsen briefly mentioned the proliferation of retail healthcare clinics operated by well-known companies like CVS. The retail health clinic is nothing new, but it has gained widespread attention thanks to the pandemic. Such clinics are prime candidates for independent nurse practitioners.

 Japsen suggests that patients could be willing to seek primary care from a nurse practitioner in a retail clinic if that meant avoiding crowded doctors’ offices and long waits in the waiting room. It is hard to argue his point. Anyone who has sat waiting an hour or more for the doctor, only to be given 10 minutes of their time, might welcome the opportunity to walk into a retail clinic, see the NP, and be out the door in under 30 minutes.

 Of course, not all retail clinics get patients in and out as quickly. But the advantage of the retail model is that nurse practitioners are not bound by tight scheduling. They can see fewer patients in a day and, as a result, spend more time with each patient.

 Not Everyone on Board

 It is clear that not everyone is on board with the idea of loosening restrictions on nurse practitioner jobs. There are doctors and healthcare groups who don’t feel as though NPs have enough training to work independently. There are also patients who just do not feel comfortable visiting with an NP – especially if a doctor is available.

 Efforts to prevent states from cutting direct ties between physicians and nurse practitioners is to be expected. Healthcare is a very touchy subject for obvious reasons. Therefore, wide differences of opinion are part of any debate. Furthermore, such differences are not always worked out as evidenced by the fact that there are still twenty-four states that require physician supervision of nurse practitioners in primary care settings.

 Such supervision is no longer necessary in Kansas. With the new law in place, Kansas joins twenty-five other states in allowing nurse petitioners to practice independently.

by Tim Rush (CEO HSI, LLC)