A Day in the Life of a Rural Nurse Practitioner

While the exact daily responsibilities vary according to the type of clinic or office where an NP works, most rural NPs enjoy a great deal of autonomy while performing a wide range of tasks.

from NP Schools

Currently, only about 20 percent of physicians working in rural areas are under 40 years old, and 30 percent are rapidly approaching (or have already passed) retirement age. Due to an aging population and a lack of experienced and trained professionals, there is increasing demand for healthcare professionals in rural areas, leading to a significant opportunity for nurse practitioners to pick up the slack. Take a look at what a typical day in the life of a rural NP looks like.

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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.

Common Sense: Today’s Nurse Practitioner

There’s arguably no better time for NP’s to call their own shots, and no better time for healthcare administrators to apply this talent solution to meet their community’s need for care.

by Doug Carter

Nurse Practitioner is now the #1 ranked job in healthcare and #2 in the nation across all industries (US News & World Report Job Rankings for 2017, 1/12/17). Regardless of profession, no job gains such a high distinction without becoming a “win-win” for both those who do that job and those who understand the value of what that role brings to their organization.

There’s arguably no better time for NP’s to call their own shots, and conversely, no better time for healthcare administrators to apply this talent solution for the best opportunity to meet their community’s need for care.

Collaboration is Key

In order to understand the value of nurse practitioners within our healthcare delivery system, it’s important to first understand how they’ve gained the respect of other providers by successfully embracing their role within today’s collaborative settings.

It wasn’t long ago that many M.D.’s and their respective advocacy groups widely questioned the validity of nurse practitioners in a number of forums. However, those concerns have diminished in recent years. Nurse practitioners have gained respect from within, doing an outstanding job in proving their worth amongst peers, who together work toward a shared goal in the care of others.

There’s now acceptance of the fact that the success of our healthcare delivery system lies at the intersection of revenue & access to care; requiring a collaborative “team” solution in order to maximize a facility’s ability to meet both of those needs at the highest possible point of return.

The Proving Ground of Primary Care

According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 90% of nurses who become NP’s by completing their Master’s Degree originate from primary care settings. This is the ideal proving ground for new nurse practitioners because that’s exactly where they’re needed most as today’s physicians increasingly choose better paying opportunities outside of primary care.

Nurse practitioners are ideal within the scope of primary care’s growing demand for a number of reasons. They have the ability to provide care in a wide range of practice settings within all types of communities.

Rural areas of the country, specifically, remain hardest hit by our shortage of qualified providers. In rural areas, there are roughly 13 physicians per 100,000 people in comparison to 31 in urban areas, according to the National Rural Health Association. These communities have the highest rates of uninsured, underserved, aging, and vulnerable patients. However, when utilizing nurse practitioners, rural hospitals have been able to uphold satisfaction rates on par with physicians.

Healthcare executives and administrators praise the cost savings associated with utilizing NP’s as well.

“Nurse Practitioners play a critical role in the operation of our health center and in our Country’s primary care delivery network. Their skills, knowledge and commitment to the values of the nursing profession offer our patients high quality, cost-effective primary care,” says Ken Gordon, Chief Executive Officer at Coos County Family Health Services in Berlin, New Hampshire.

The rising costs of providing care are top of mind with all facilities. NP’s are more affordable to recruit, train, and retain in comparison to physicians.

A Bright Future

While the shortage of physicians becomes an unfortunate reality, the growth of nurse practitioners remains largely unhindered. Individuals choosing healthcare as a career see a faster, cheaper, and less bureaucratic route to reaching their goals by becoming an NP. On average a nurse practitioner requires only six years of education in comparison to the decade (or more) required to become a physician, depending on their choice of specialty.

Doctors are also strapped with higher debt upon their completion. In addition, our access to new physicians in the United States still arguably bottlenecks at the point of Medicaid- funded residencies through the national matching program. Even with sporadic state-level solutions to the problem and a continued political rhetoric geared towards shedding light on this longstanding issue of supply, we’ve been unable to keep up with our nation’s need for care. NP’s just don’t face the same uphill battle.

If you ask healthcare facilities to consider a larger pool of providers that bring 80%-90% of the skill set of doctors, they’ll take it. If the choice is a vacancy that equals lost revenue and inability to meet the healthcare needs of their community – or, a staffing solution that entails nurse practitioners – the choice is easy. In an urgent situation, with revenue-based healthcare delivery and the widespread reach required to meet increased numbers of patients in the US – NP’s make sense right now.


Doug Carter is a Partner at Ironside Human Resources. Ironside HR is a national healthcare recruitment firm based in Dallas, Texas, dedicated to meeting the needs of medical providers, executives, administrators, and the communities in which they serve. Doug can be reached at 214-785-2404
or doug@ironsidehr.com.

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.

According to This Doctor, NPs Are Not the Cure for Rural Health Woes

““Apples and oranges” does not even come close to comparing the levels of knowledge and training between nurse practitioners and physicians,” says Dr. Sudhakar Madakasira.

from Clarion Ledger

Allowing nurse practitioners to practice without oversight of physicians could help address access to care shortages in Mississippi, particularly in rural areas. However, physicians, including those in the state of Mississippi and American Medical Association, say there is no substitute for the advanced education and training doctors receive.

What are your thoughts? Share them below.

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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.

Maximizing Reimbursement: What Nurse Practitioners Need to Know

As NPs treat greater numbers of patients, they must take steps to ensure that they are properly reimbursed for their services.

from The Nurse Practitioner

With more people gaining access to healthcare coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act, the demand for primary care providers in the United States is expected to increase, dramatically outpacing supply. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the shortfall is expected to exceed 29,000 physicians by 2016 and more than 45,000 by 2020. Despite the anticipated gap, there is one group of healthcare providers that may stand to benefit from additional opportunities: nurse practitioners.

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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.

Survey: Most Nurse Practitioners Help Decode Medical Info for Their Patients

88% of NPs surveyed said they spend at least half of appointment times educating patients on diagnoses, treatments, and prescriptions.

from Drug Store News

Nurse practitioners play a crucial role in helping patients decode medical information, according to the findings of a recent Merck Manuals survey. The survey of 210 NPs, conducted at a recent medical conference, revealed that most (88%) believe they spend at least half of appointment times educating patients on diagnoses, treatments and prescriptions.

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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.

NPs Get Stressed, Too! How They Can Manage It.

Being a Nurse Practitioner can be physically taxing and emotionally arduous. Here are 11 self-focused strategies to reduce that stress.

from Contemporary Clinic

In recent years, nursing and advanced practice nursing have made great strides in the public’s awareness of their profession. Nurse practitioners are appearing more often in the media, greater numbers of college students are choosing nursing as a career, and more patients have an NP as their health care provider. A career in nursing also has become well known for its job security, opportunities for growth, and competitive wages. In addition to these excellent job attributes, the public often views nursing in a favorable light, as evidenced by a consistent number-one ranking in the Gallup poll for most trusted profession and some positives stereotypes, such as the nurse angel or hero. But at what cost?

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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.

More NPs Choosing Primary Care

In 2017, more than 89% of NPs were prepared in primary care programs.

from Clinical Advisor

Nurse practitioners are choosing primary care at a higher rate than physicians and physician assistants, according to data from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

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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 Practitioners Can Ease Discharge Process

A meeting with a nurse practitioner prior to discharge could improve the discharge process for patients.

from FierceHealthcare

A meeting with a nurse practitioner prior to discharge could improve communication between hospital staff and primary care providers, easing the transition after hospitalization and improving patient outcomes.

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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.

Does a Doctorate of Nursing Practice Make a Difference in Patient Care?

The question of whether the DNP impacts patient care has arisen among many NPs who hold those DNPs.

from JNP

To date, a large number of doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) degrees have been earned by nurse practitioners (NPs) with experience as master’s prepared clinicians. Among those of us who find ourselves in this situation, the question of whether that DNP has affected our patient care has arisen. In my own case, as a graduate of a DNP program designed specifically for experienced master’s prepared nurses, I like to think that my DNP program changed my thinking, my approach to problems, and maybe even to life generally. That is what doctoral degrees are supposed to do—orient us toward knowledge synthesis and development and, in the case of nursing, to develop and apply theoretical contexts that help us to understand our work and deliver care. Do those same contexts apply to our clinical knowledge and approach to our patients?

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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.