Health care facilities across the country are paying higher rates to employ nurse practitioners (NPs). What’s changed, and how can health care facilities ensure they remain competitive and prepared?
Demand for NPs is at an all-time high, and it’s not simply due to the pandemic. The U.S. is facing a tremendous physician shortage, and NPs are some of the clinicians who step in to fill gaps and ensure patients are receiving the care and treatment they need. The physician shortage, coupled with many nurses choosing to leave health care, have placed NPs in a position to negotiate higher salaries.
Nurse practitioner salary at a glance
The average salary for NPs has been steadily increasing over the past few years. In fact, according to LocumTenens.com’s 2021 Physician and Advanced Practice Salary Report, 77% of NPs reported their salary stayed the same or increased during the pandemic, a time when many other specialties saw pay cuts due to decreased workloads brought about by the cancelation of elective procedures.
Other factors affecting nurse practitioner salaries
The past couple years have been especially draining on the majority of health care workers, and the effects of the pandemic have been particularly impactful for NPs. The 2021 Physician and Advanced Practice Salary Report also found
• 35% of NPs reported their workload increased due to the pandemic
• almost half (41%) experienced burnout
• over 60% of NPs have already or plan to take time off work in 2021
• almost half of NPs are planning to make a job change within the next year.
In an already overburdened health care system, NP departures could wreak havoc should facilities not be prepared.
Incorporating locum tenens staffing into your business strategy can help ensure your facility is prepared.
Nurse practitioners working as registered nurses, receiving hazard pay
Throughout the pandemic, many working in health care have left the profession entirely due to burnout, fears of catching the virus or passing it to their family members, vaccine mandates and more. This includes a tremendous number of registered nurses, many of whom were working on the frontlines caring for COVID-19 patients and receiving hazard pay. In their absence, in many cases, NPs have stepped in, choosing to work as registered nurses and therefore receiving hazard pay and increased salaries as a result.
How health care facilities can remain competitive, prepared
If you’ve recently had a number of RNs leave your health care facility, LocumTenens.com associates can help you piece together a team comprised of different types of clinicians, such as NPs and other advanced practice providers, to ensure you aren’t left with any gaps in coverage and the rest of your staff is not overburdened.
One of the most significant lessons health care facility administrators have learned throughout the course of the pandemic is the importance of being proactive and considering future staffing needs while also remaining flexible, as the health care industry is in a state of flux. LocumTenens.com associates are available to help you leverage contingent resources to ensure your health care facility is adequately staffed to meet everchanging demand.