As Healthcare Options Expand, Nationwide Demand Grows for Nurse Practitioners, Creating Healthy Business for Online Job Search Site Advanced Practice Solutions

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From 'No Job' to 'Dream Job' - Minnesota nurse takes her own job search frustration and turns it into gold for herself, other healthcare workers with online match service that gives providers (clinics, hospitals, specialists) and job seekers a one-stop site for matching up the right person with the right position. With healthcare needs of the USA expanding with the aging baby-boomer population, employment prospects for nurse practitioners, physician's assistants soar.

When registered nurse Lynn Schiff finished her master's degree in nursing 10 years ago, she became a certified family nurse practitioner, commonly known as an NP. Good career move, say the experts. All indicators point to registered nursing and specialized practice and caregivers like NPs and PAs (physician's assistants) having excellent earnings potential in a very large marketplace for many years to come.

According to the US Department of Labor's recent statistics, employment in the nursing field - especially for specialized care - is expected to grow much stronger than the average occupation through 2014. The government website notes that all four advanced practice specialties--clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, midwives, and anesthetists--will be in high demand. So Schiff's decision to get her master's degree to become a NP was a wise choice. Because she had small children at home, after graduation Schiff decided she wanted to find "flexible, fulfilling part-time employment". Armed with a new degree and all the early momentum, industry buzz and demand feeding her profession, she still didn't find the employment situation she was searching for. Instead of settling for a less-than-perfect job, she decided it was time to find a cure for this problem on her own.

"I soon realized I needed to create the perfect solution to my needs", Schiff says, " I designed business cards and began calling clinics and other health care facilities to see if they needed a spare nurse practitioner on their roster for maternity leaves, illnesses, and vacancies. Soon after, a friend joined me, then another, and so on. As the internet grew, we added a website with a back end database enabling us to reach and match potential clients and nurse practitioners across the nation."

Advanced Practice Solutions was born. Now NPs from around the country can job-hunt online at advancedpracticesolutions.com and view openings from hospitals, clinics, and practices nationwide. The web site generated interest early, eventually gathering momentum that led to a growth spurt in 2007 of over fifty percent from the previous years in job placements. Midlevel providers are happy to have a comprehensive site online to help find just the right NP for their specialty or to fit their patient needs or holes in the practice. Job-hunting NPs looking for general, or like Schiff, specific employment situations, can find a user-friendly online portal to help with their hunt. They can view job openings, tips of the trade and current trends and requirements. Since the business is almost completely run by NPs, there's no extraneous material to wade through. In 2002 The Atlanta Journal and Constitutions noted that as the U.S. moves toward health care reform, the health care system increasingly depends on NPs for health services in a wide number of fields. The continued web-traffic and placement numbers at Advanced Practice Solutions bear that out.

At the core, what is really driving the need for more NPs in our healthcare systems? Schiff interprets why NPs are a more than a "new trend" in health care, they are actually a welcome solution for many hospitals and practices:
" I believe that as the demand for high quality health care services increases due to the aging baby boomers and increased life expectancy of our elderly population, the NP and PA role should increase and numbers of providers should expand" Schiff explains. She also notes that specialty areas such as cardiology, oncology and orthopedics are growing rapidly as Advanced Practice Solutions is receiving more job orders for those specialties. And, as usual, for the caregiver and the patient, money plays a part. She notes, " As we speak, mid -level providers are lobbying for stronger reimbursement rates from insurance payers, making it more attractive for clinics to hire a nurse practitioner or PA. Under the current system if an MN and NP see the same type of patient with a strep throat the MD is allowed to bill $100 for example, while the NP can only bill $85."

The Department of Labor notes the same. Relative to physicians, NPs increasingly serve as lower-cost primary care providers. Does this mean less care for the patient? Studies say no. Multiple studies measuring clinical outcomes for both general and complex medical conditions note no difference in MD and NP care. Schiff notes, " The general public is very receptive to what this kind of care can offer, such as patient education and additional training in areas such as wellness, preventative health care and family systems."

Advanced Practice Solutions continues to place higher numbers of registered nurses, NPs and PAs annually. If the predictions for the future of healthcare in the United States is correct, this is a win-win situation for both patients and providers.

Where to go on the web?
http://www.advancedpracticesolutions.com

Academy of Nurse Practitioners, http://www.aanp.org    

College of Nurse Practitioners, http://www.acnpweb.org

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Renee Dahring
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