Nurse practitioners were the most recruited providers among physicians and advanced professionals, according to a new report from search firm Merritt Hawkins.
This is the first time in the report’s 27-year history that physicians have not ranked first. For the past 14 years alone, family physicians were the most widely recruited position, Merritt Hawkins said.
“COVID-19 and other market forces are changing the dynamics of recruiting advanced practitioners and practitioners,” said Tom Florence, president of Merritt Hawkins, in a statement. “NPs are gaining ground in a market that prioritizes easy access to care and cost containment.”
There is demand for nurse practitioners to staff urgent care centers and outpatient clinics, as well as to provide telemedicine services, Florence said.
The report noted that more patients, often the youngest, are choosing alternatives to the traditional primary care setting, which is also softening the demand for primary care physicians, who were the second most recruited providers according to the report.
“Primary care physicians remain a vital part of team care and will be increasingly responsible for coordinating the care of older patients with multiple chronic conditions,” Florence said. “But the recruitment frenzy in primary care is over.”
Family doctor search engagements only accounted for 18% of Merritt Hawkins’ engagement during the one-year period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 analyzed in the report, which is down from 20% a year earlier. and 22% two years earlier. the company said. In contrast, specialist physicians accounted for 64% of the company’s search jobs over the past year, and advanced professionals, including registered and registered nurses, physician assistants, and nurse anesthetists, made up 18%.
Merritt Hawkins attributed the increased demand for specialists to the country’s aging population, the number of specialists approaching retirement age, and the ability of nurses to handle many of the functions of primary care physicians. In a June 2021 report, the Association of American Medical Colleges estimated there would be a shortage of 48,000 primary care physicians and 77,000 specialists by 2034.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of searches Merritt Hawkins did for doctors dropped 25%, but the company expects this decrease in demand to be temporary and linked to pandemic closures. Florence said the factors that have historically created the demand for physicians are still in place, such as a growing and aging population, a limited supply of newly trained physicians and an aging physician workforce.
In line with declining demand, starting salaries were also lower for many suppliers, the firm said. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants, however, experienced increases. Starting salaries increased 12% to 140,000 for nurse practitioners and 14% to $ 128,000 for medical assistants, according to the report.
Physicians, who typically see cost-of-living salary increases each year, generally experienced much more modest salary gains in 2020, according to Modern Healthcare’s 28th Annual Medical Compensation Survey, which analyzes survey data from 10 placement companies, including Merritt Hawkins. In 2020, the overall average reported median medical compensation increased little to less than 0.5% from the prior year to $ 416,966. Compare that to 2019, when the overall average was up 2.7% from the previous year.
The healthcare sector added 36,800 jobs in July, reversing a drop in June, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.Overall, the sector has improved employment figures every month in 2021 except June. .
Merritt Hawkins is an AMN Healthcare company.