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Career Coach

'Interesting Times' for NP Employment

Published July 2, 2009 11:31 AM by Renee Dahring
When I contemplate the changing employment scene for NPs over the last few months, I can't help but be reminded of a set of three ancient "curses." The mystery of these "curses" is that they can be interpreted either as curses or as blessings.
  • May you come to the attention of those in authority
  • May you find what you are looking for
  • May you live in interesting times

Certainly the economy has played a role in the decreased number of NP jobs, but I think it may only be part of the story. I was listening to the radio the other day and overheard a radio personality voicing concern over the proposed "healthcare reform" bill. He said "you won't be able to see a doctor, you will be forced to see nurse practitioners or physician assistants because they are cheaper!"

No matter which side of the healthcare debate you fall on, this is a message that should be concerning to all NPs. We have worked hard to get where we are, and right now we cannot afford to let others define us as the "Wal-Mart" of healthcare.

For years we have touted our affordability as if it was a blessing, but it ironically could also become a curse and used against us. Certainly WE know we provide quality care at less cost, but have we adequately managed that message?

Maybe I am going all "black helicopter" here, but it seems to me to be more than a coincidence that as the economy has declined there has been a revived interest (and in some states blatant opposition) towards us from the AMA.

With healthcare reimbursement on the decline we are now beginning to find ourselves in more direct competition for patients and the scarce healthcare dollars that go with them, and in a position of having our physician colleagues now look at us as very real threats to their livelihood.

I am afraid we are indeed living in interesting times...

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    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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