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Change is Here: A Look at Compensation for Physician & APP Specialties

By: LocumTenens.com | Updated on April 13, 2023

Change is Here: A Look at Compensation for Physician & APP Specialties

The 2023 Salary Report provides unique insights into the current state of healthcare and delivers a game plan for how physician and APP specialists can advance their careers.

Data is driving change in healthcare. Beyond patient outcomes, it can empower clinicians and hospital administrators to make career and compensation decisions. The 2023 Salary Report provides a window into the industry and where we are going.

We took a look into some of the big-picture findings in 2023 Clinician Salary Report: Key Stats on Physician and APP Earnings. Now, we are diving into clinician specialties to gain insights on how physicians and advanced practice professionals (APPs) are performing in particular areas.

Nurse Practitioner Salaries are on a Steady Rise

Nurse Practitioner

The average nurse practitioner’s salary has been steadily climbing for years. 2022 saw a new high water mark, rising to $130,845 on average. Contrary to many medical specialties, 35% of NPs stated that their workload actually increased due to COVID-19.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Hospitals and medical practices have increased their usage of APPs within the care model. With a more important role in patient wellness, APPs are seeing their salaries rise as well. It is a trend that is likely to continue. However, with increased workload comes the potential for burnout. It is a serious consideration for NPs and something administrators should monitor closely.

Nurse Practitioner Historical Salary Data

2021 data not available.

Fewer Critical Care Physicians are Working Full Time

Critical care physician

Physicians have more opportunities than ever before. Traditional, full-time employment models are only one option, and we are seeing more physicians take new career paths. Critical care is one specialty that has seen a decline in employed, full-time clinicians. When looking at data from two years ago, the number of critical care physicians working full-time, employed positions has dropped from 63% to 47%.

This is representative of a trend across much of the healthcare industry. There are more physicians embracing locum tenens work or are choosing to work part-time. In critical care, it breaks down to 21% locums and 16% part time. Physicians want to find a career that fits with their lifestyle, instead of defaulting to the traditional model that may not provide the desired amount of flexibility and work-life balance.

Family Practice is Driven by Established Physicians

Family practice physicians

While many specialties are seeing significant fluctuation in their compensation or employment rates, family practice maintains some consistency. In 2022, 45% of physicians in this specialty had been in practice for more than 20 years. This makes it all the more interesting that the segment working contract or locum tenens (31%) has nearly caught up to traditional full-time family practice physicians (35%). The ages of family practice physicians continue to be fairly evenly distributed across millennials (25% born between 1981 and 1997), generation X (35% born between 1965 and 1980) and baby boomers (33% born between 1946 and 1964).

This data is important for the sustainability of the workforce. There is a long-documented shortage of primary care physicians, particularly in poorer or rural areas. It is critical for the long-term health of our communities to increase access to care. Bringing more primary care physicians into the industry will go a long way to secure the future of an aging workforce.

Technology and New Expectations have Led to Fluctuating Neurology Salaries

Medical Technology

Neurology salaries have seen significant fluctuation over the past five years, currently resting at $265,313 on average.

Technology and new expectations for clinicians may be to blame. The pandemic pushed many providers to a virtual setting. In particular, neurology has shown to be immensely successful for telehealth appointments, which increases access to care and has even led to an improved patient experience. Despite that, reimbursement for telehealth has lagged behind traditional in-person reimbursements, resulting in diminished earnings for many clinicians.

Neurology Historical Salary Data

2021 data not available.

Additionally, a trend toward sub-specialization is contributing to gaps in the neurological care that hospitals and practices can offer. It is important to continue to invest in telehealth and compensate medical care appropriately, regardless of the setting.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is much more data to glean from the 2023 Salary Reports. Be sure to dive into the specialties to see what is on the horizon.