Nurses 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.

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.

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)

Are Physician Assistant Jobs Jeopardized by Supervision Rules?

If two years of the COVID pandemic have taught us anything, it is that the U.S. healthcare system is anything but perfect. At the pandemic’s height, many states went so far as to temporarily relax rules regarding how and where physician assistants and nurse practitioners can work. Now, with the pandemic mostly behind us, it is time to answer an important question: are physician assistant jobs jeopardized by supervision rules?

 The question was central to the debate of a bill that was recently defeated in Colorado. House Bill 1095 would have given physician assistants a bit more freedom to practice independent of direct physician supervision. In the end, the bill was defeated after heavy lobbying by medical groups and others opposed to the changes.

Access to Quality Care

 Among its provisions, House Bill 1095 would have allowed physician assistants to work independently, but still require them to consult with a patient’s healthcare team, as they already do. Those opposed to the measure argued that freeing PAs from direct physician supervision would limit access to quality care. Some argued it could even be dangerous. The argument appears sound, but there are two sides to every coin.

 Proponents of the bill argued that PAs routinely live under the shadow of potential unemployment because their work is intrinsically tied to a physician’s job. In rural areas for example, there may be a single physician assistant working under the supervision of a single doctor. If that doctor decides to leave and go elsewhere, not having another doctor to immediately step in could mean the physician assistant loses their job. Likewise, patients served by that PA would lose access to healthcare services.

 Is either situation better or worse than the other? That is for politicians to figure out. In Colorado, they decided it is better to maintain the status quo. For the time being, PA jobs in the state will continue being subjected to physician supervision.

Other States Are Loosening Up

 If you are in favor of less supervision for physician assistants, you will be happy to know that other states are loosening their restrictions. A bill passed in Utah in 2021 eliminates the direct supervision requirement after a PA works for so many hours under a doctor.

 For example, a PA would work directly under a supervising doctor for 4,000 hours. After that, another 6,000 hours of supervision would be required – either under a doctor or another PA with 10,000 hours of experience. Completing both regimens would give a PA 10,000 hours of supervised work, leading to the right to practice independently.

Scope of Practice Remains the Same

 Whether you are talking Colorado’s defeated bill, Utah’s passed bill, or rules in any of the other states, the bigger issue is scope and practice. A PA’s scope and practice is clearly defined by state law. Proponents of the unsupervised work model say that PAs are not looking to broaden it. They are happy to continue doing what they do. They simply want to be able to do it without being tethered to a physician whose interests may or may not be aligned with the PA’s.

 What we are really talking here is primary care. That is what PAs provide in most settings. They handle routine cases so that doctors can focus on more serious cases. As a patient, this makes sense to me. If a physician assistant is trained and licensed to provide primary care, direct supervision by a doctor seems redundant.

 Are physician assistant jobs jeopardized by supervision rules? Proponents of Colorado’s recently defeated bill seem to think so. They make a good point.


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 People with High-Tech Healthcare: Five Advantages to Being a Radiologic Technologist

Radiologic technologists, also called “rad techs” or “x-ray techs,” are crucial healthcare professionals who perform medical imaging examinations. Every day you get to help people and use cutting-edge medical technology. That can be a great combination.

I’ve been a radiologic technologist myself as well as an instructor in this field, and I know firsthand the satisfaction that this career path can bring.

In the following, I’ll discuss five reasons to consider being a radiologic technologist.

1. Become a highly valued healthcare professional in two years

If you’re interested in a healthcare career but have concerns about the time and expense your education would take, radiologic technology could be a great option for you.

Becoming a radiologic technologist generally requires attaining a two-year associate degree. In other words, you could be working full-time as a valued healthcare professional — and earning a good salary — in as few as two years.

(See How to Become a Radiologic Technologist for more information.)

2. Experience the rewards of helping people on a daily basis

Some people find medical examinations stressful. As a radiologic technologist, your warm, friendly demeanor can help patients feel more calm and comfortable. This also helps create trust and can go a long way toward creating a positive experience for patients.

In fact, as you interact one-on-one with your patients, you have lots of opportunities to make a difference in their experience by doing things such as:

  • Gently and carefully positioning their body
  • Directing them through procedures in a clear and calm manner
  • Addressing questions and concerns in a compassionate, thoughtful way
  • Protecting them from unnecessary radiation through specific radiation protection protocols

In addition, you may also be talking with family members of patients.

3. Work with advanced medical technology

Are you a hands-on kind of person? Radiologic technologists perform medical imaging examinations like the following using sophisticated equipment and technology:

  • X-ray (also known as radiography)
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Mammography
  • Interventional radiology

The resulting imagery — of tissues, organs, bones, or blood vessels — helps physicians diagnose and treat illnesses and diseases.

On top of that, medical imaging technology is continually advancing. You’ll get to learn about, and experience firsthand, the exciting ways that your profession is helping to improve patient care.

4. Enjoy the benefits of a profession needed widely

If you want a profession that doesn’t limit you geographically, radiologic technology could be an excellent fit. Radiologic technologists are typically needed wherever healthcare is offered — from small towns to suburban areas to big cities.

Also, radiologic technologists generally must pass a national registration exam (see No. 5 for more info). That’s good news because it means the credentials you’ve worked so hard to earn are valid in all 50 states. (In fact, it’s even possible that your education and registration can help you secure employment beyond the U.S., if desired.)

Then there’s the question of your work environment. Because radiologic technologists are needed in so many facets of healthcare, you’ll have more opportunity to be selective about the setting you work in. Here are just some examples of where radiologic technologists are employed:

  • Primary care medical offices and clinics
  • Specialty clinics
  • Outpatient imaging centers
  • Hospitals
  • ERs
  • Trauma centers (within ERs)
  • Chiropractic clinics

5. Choose a professional path with plenty of opportunities for career development

Radiologic technologists have many ways to advance their career and create more professional opportunities. Graduating from a radiologic technology program generally makes you eligible to sit for The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists’ (ARRT) radiography exam.

Passing that exam means you become a registered radiologic technologist certified in radiography — the most common way people enter the profession. That also opens the door to acquiring more registrations in the future, which can:

  • Help you become a more competitive job candidate
  • Allow you more options to specialize
  • Give you more control over the kind of environment you work in (see also No. 4 above)

Note that these additional registrations do not require completing more programs or acquiring more degrees. Instead, you’ll need to 1) complete continuing education units (CEUs), often available through online courses, and 2) demonstrate competency by performing the procedures under supervision in a professional setting.

You can also can take your radiologic technologist background in related career directions like these:

  • Radiography equipment training
  • Medical sales
  • Healthcare management (which would typically require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree)

Take the next step and start exploring programs

Helping people, working with cutting-edge technology, enjoying a flexible career path — those are just a few highlights of being a radiologic technologist. Plus, you could join the profession in around two years.

If what you’ve learned above sounds appealing, I strongly suggest you take the next step: Start exploring radiologic technology schools today!

Heather Schepman, MS, R.T. (R), is an experienced radiologic technologist who is also the Radiography Program Chair 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.

How to Use Healthcare Job Boards More Effectively

It used to be that using a healthcare job board required very little effort above and beyond posting your resume and waiting for responses. Many job seekers still do that today. However, the most successful use healthcare job boards differently. They do more than post their resumes and wait.

 As far as job boards go, Health Jobs Nationwide is among the best. We are comfortable saying that because of the tens of thousands of listings we offer along with the well-known, reputable companies who post their jobs with us. Still, the quality of our job board alone will not get you hired. There is more to it.

 The good news is that we won’t leave you hanging. Below are strategies for helping you utilize healthcare job boards more effectively. Ultimately, our goal is to be your gateway to the physician, nurse practitioner, or registered nurse position you are looking for.

 1. Practice Different Filtering Methods

 Healthcare job boards like ours tend to offer multiple filtering methods. We do this because job applicants have different ways of searching. What must be understood is that our filters are heavily dependent on the data posters enter. This means that not every job that could be appropriate to your search will turn up under all your filters.

 From a practical standpoint, you may have to utilize several different filters. Don’t stress over it. Just practice utilizing different filters to see the results they turn up. With enough practice, you will know exactly how to search every time you log on.

 2. Take Advantage of Employer ATS

 Healthcare employers receive so many resumes that they just don’t have the resources to manually look through each and every one. So these days, they use automated systems known as applicant tracking systems (ATS) to narrow down potential candidates. Out of 500 resumes, perhaps only 30-50 will be actually viewed by human eyes.

 You increase your chances of getting your resume seen by understanding and taking advantage of ATS. For starters, always send your resume and CV in .pdf format. That’s the one format most ATS systems can read. If you submit a .docx, your resume may not make it past the first level.

 Next, don’t use tables, text boxes, etc. Most ATS systems cannot read the data contained in boxes and tables, so that data will be ignored. However, do use formatting – like headings, for example. An ATS can recognize headings like ‘Education’, ‘Work History’, and so forth.

 Finally, use the right keywords. ATS systems are a lot like search engines in that they look for keywords to understand a document. Use keywords that are appropriate to the type of job you are looking for. If you’re not sure what those keywords are, look in the job description of a particular post. That will tell you everything you need to know.

 3. Make Proactive Contact

 Finally, the one thing about job seeking that hasn’t changed is the need to be proactive. After you submit your resume and CV to a particular employer, try to make contact with someone in that organization. A common suggestion among job coaches is to look up the employer on LinkedIn. You might find an HR officer, healthcare administrator, or someone else you can connect with. A simple note of introduction is all you need.

 Healthcare job boards are a fantastic resource for finding career opportunities across the country. Whether you are looking to stay local, or you are prepared to move, don’t just submit your resume and wait. Utilize the three strategies described in this post and you’ll increase the chances of finding a great job.


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.