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ADVANCE for NPs & PAs Blog

Healthcare Jobs: Nursing and Healthcare IT on the Rise

Published August 8, 2012 11:14 AM by Jennifer Ford

As healthcare providers grapple with the historic June 28 Supreme Court Decision upholding the Affordable Care Act, one thing seems to be clear: it is going to create more jobs. With an estimated 30 million people gaining healthcare insurance coverage as a result of the new law, the healthcare system is already gearing up to accommodate the huge influx of patients.  According to HealtheCareers’ Q2 2012 Healthcare Jobs Snapshot, healthcare jobs across all specialties are expected to grow in the next 8 years.  Some areas — such as nursing and healthcare IT — are already seeing significant growth.

Healthcare networks across the country continue to seek trained physicians and surgeons to combat the ongoing shortage. Amid the changing healthcare landscape, they remain the most sought-after healthcare professionals — accounting for about 40% of HealtheCareers network job openings in Q2. Even with this need, job openings only increased by 1%, the report said.

“Like many healthcare organizations, we have been operating [against] a physician and nursing shortage for quite a while… and our hiring volume has increased significantly,” said Willie French, director, talent acquisition, The Methodist Hospital System in Houston, Texas.

Physician assistants and nurse practitioners seeking employment shouldn’t have too much trouble landing a job, as both of these professions saw significant increases in job openings from Q1 to Q2 — 10% and 16%, respectively. (See The 2012 Job Outlook for NPs & PAs for more information about the NP and PA job market.) And the opportunities don’t seem to be disappearing: Forbes ranked physician assistant studies as the top long-term employment opportunity, according to the report. This increased interest in physician assistants and nurse practitioners comes as no surprise because many hospitals are tackling the physician/surgeon deficit in a new way by hiring NPs and PAs. All states give these professionals the ability to prescribe medication, and employing NPs and PAs has become a popular cost-effective alternative that creatively meets growing patient demands.

In conjunction with these increases, demand for skilled nurses skyrocketed in Q2, with openings increasing by 40% from Q1. Specifically, providers are now seeking more general/surgical registered nurses (a 12% increase in job openings), emergency medicine registered nurses (9%) and nursing assistants (6%). Unfortunately for those finishing their education and looking for an entry level position, most job postings focus on candidates with more than one year of experience and list more stringent job requirements. The report notes that this trend will most likely continue as older generations of skilled nurses retire and leave high skilled vacancies in the workforce.

Healthcare IT positions are on the rise as well with healthcare networks transitioning to electronic medical records and focusing on meeting meaningful use requirements. Although general IT openings increased by only 18%, 30% of those were specific to HIT analysts/systems analysts. The report postulates that HIT analysts will remain much sought-after hires while health systems are still in the process of evaluating potential technology innovations. Tellingly, though, enough healthcare networks are moving forward with their new technology implementation, as systems/network engineers were in high demand in Q2, with position opening growing by 190% from Q1.

HealtheCareers collected their data from their online database of job openings from April 1 through June 30, 2012. Given that their database is comprised of approximately 50,215 healthcare and medical job openings placed by 3,294 hospital and healthcare organizations, the report offers significant insight into industry trends in the job market:  Physicians and surgeons are still the top priority, but physician assistants, nurse practitioners and skilled nurses are all in higher demand as of Q2. Healthcare IT is growing, although it has yet to overtake healthcare provider needs.

To read the full report, click the link provided above, or visit HealtheCareers.

Editor's note: This post was written by Rebecca Hepp, on staff at ADVANCE.

4 comments

Carol thanks for your input, unfortunately we did speak with our representatives and they say they cannot help us.  We are being told that it is fraud for us to admit, discharge, etc and have the physicians bill.  We work for the hospital not the docs.

We are all incredibly discourged!

gina August 10, 2012 11:48 AM

Thank You Patrick for clarifying that Physician Assistants in ALL States including the St. Thomas, Virgin Islands have prescriptive practices.  

Rebecca- With all due respect, the Physician Assistant program is a vigorous program based on the medical model in which the first year is comprised of the physician core studies, and then in the second year, PA students complete 2000 hours of rotations in areas of Ob/Gyn, Pediatrics, Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Emergency Room, Surgery, Pyschiatry, and electives in the students area of interest.  This is often in the setting of 3rd-4 th year medical students and residents learning right next to us.  Physicians have a minimum of 7 years of schooling/rotations and Physician Assistants close to 3 years.  We respect that Physicians have more classroom time and rotations/residency and it is what makes our partnership as a team so important.  Our general education in all areas provides the PA profession  flexiblity to adapt to the needs of the medical field.  Our committment from our national organization the American Academy of Physician Assistants to the state contingencies for a physician lead TEAM insures quality patient care and delivery.

Nurse practioners on the other hand, come from a nursing background and only require 400 hours of clinical rotations.  But, I would add like any other field, an individual may be of excellent caliber and may have had previous experience that makes them a stand out in their field.  I have met and respect some very intelligent, talented nurse practitioners who have shared their knowledge with me.

Gina, I do not know which state you practice in but you should alert your State Physician Assistant Society and alert them that the hospital is infringing on the PA scope of practice.  The legal counsel for your state society will address this and help where they can. Your state society can also direct you to someone that can answer the billing questions that seem to be dicating the hospitals perception of how revenue can be generated by Physican Assistants in the hospital.

Carol, Primary Care - MCMSc, PA-C, St. Anthony's Primary Care August 9, 2012 9:45 PM
St. Petersburg FL

To the Author Jennifer Ford: In the early 1960s the PA career was developed due to a physicain shortage. Now in 2012 the PA career continues to expand  becuase PA provide coordinated compasionaste  patients care. As a result, Forbes ranked physician assistant Master's Degree as the top long-term employment opportunity.  Physician Assistants have perscriptive pirvilages in ALL states. PAs do not provide "lower skill sets" than physicians.  While practicing autonomously, it is the team approach with physicains that PA provide stellar patient care.

Patrick , Pediatrics - Physician Assistant, Danbury Hospital August 9, 2012 1:18 PM
Danbury CT

At our hospital they are almost phasing out mid-level providers.  They are taking away all  our privileges, we can no longer admit or discharge patients, in the future we will no longer be able to write daily notes or see consults.  They claim that the physicians are billing for these procedures so we cannot do them.  I don't if this is going to become a trend everywhere but it's a big problem here.

Gina August 9, 2012 11:38 AM

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