With the physician shortage worsening, healthcare organizations of all types and sizes are leaning on advanced practice providers (APPs) to help meet the needs of patients. According to an MGMA Stat Poll earlier this year, 65% of medical practices planned to add at least one new advanced practice provider job during 2023. However, the demand for advanced practice providers has been on the rise for several years. At Jackson Physician Search, the number of nurse practitioner placements in 2022 was four times that in 2020.
This heightened demand means job opportunities for APPs abound, but it doesn’t mean the advanced practice provider job search is without its challenges; this is especially true for APPs coming out of training. While many organizations incorporate APPs into their staffing plans, most clients want to hire APPs with (at least) several years of experience. So, newly trained APPs may have limited options. The flip side of this is that experienced APPs may be overwhelmed by too many options.
Regardless of where you are in your APP career, these 4 tips will help to move your advanced practice provider job search forward.
Know What You Want in an APP Job
Whether you are completing your training or have several years of experience under your belt, it is helpful to know what you want in a job in terms of practice setting, area of focus, compensation, and potential for growth. This will help experienced advanced practice providers narrow their focus and filter out jobs that don’t align with their career progress and expectations for the stage they are in. New APPs should also have a clear vision of what they ultimately want in a position; however, it is important to understand it may take time to reach every box.
New APPs should map out a five- or ten-year plan and be open to jobs that will put them on the path to their end goals. In some cases, this could mean taking an opportunity with a lower compensation or in a less ideal location. Keep an open mind as you set out to gain the needed experience to command whatever job you want eventually.
Don’t Fixate on Location
When searching for your first job as an advanced practice provider, it’s essential to keep an open mind in all aspects of the job search – especially regarding location. If they have the choice, employers often prefer hiring someone with more experience, and the availability of experienced APPs will be greater in larger cities than in less populated areas. It’s beneficial for trained APPs to be open to work in smaller towns or rural areas where employers will likely be more flexible with the experience requirement.
Experienced APPs should also keep an open mind when it comes to location; however, if looking to relocate, there are a few things to consider. Be sure to research the state’s laws regarding APP supervision, scope of practice, and the licensure timeline. APPs should also consider the cost of living in the city they are targeting. A six-figure NP salary may stretch far in middle America, but usually, the same is not said in coastal cities. Additionally, organizations in bigger towns (with abundant candidates) often offer lower compensation packages. For these reasons, the best course of action for all APPs is to research before deciding where to apply.
Interview With the Goal of Getting an Offer
If you have applied to well-suited opportunities, an invitation to interview is likely to follow. Advanced practice providers should follow basic interview etiquette: arrive on time, dress professionally, ask thoughtful questions, and, of course, treat everyone with respect. Do your best to make a good impression, but remember that you are also there to evaluate the organization to determine if it is a good match for you. Ask questions to help you evaluate the culture and, more specifically, learn how physicians and APPs interact and relate to each other.
Even if it becomes clear that the job isn’t a good fit, use the opportunity to practice your interview skills. Treat every APP interview seriously, with the goal of walking away with a job offer.
Start the APP Job Search Earlier Than You Think
Healthcare organizations are increasingly adding advanced practice providers to their staffing plans, and those plans often map out hiring needs for the next three to five years. It’s not unusual for employers to extend offers with start dates two or more years in the future. While this is a more common timeline for medical residents, APPs are increasingly critical components to staffing plans, so it follows that organizations may begin to fill those roles earlier, too. Therefore, those who start the APP job search early may find themselves with offers well before their peers.
It’s an excellent time to be an advanced practice provider. Demand is high, and opportunities abound; however, strategic planning still requires identifying the ideal opportunity to advance your career. Start your APP job search early and map out a clear vision of the job you want. Keep an open mind and take each opportunity to interview seriously. And finally, work with a trusted recruiter to help you identify and evaluate your options.
If you are searching for your first advanced practice provider job or thinking about making a change, the recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search can help you assess the market in your target locations and prepare you for your next steps. Reach out today or start searching for APP jobs online now.
About Neal Waters
Neal’s career in retained physician search began more than 15 years ago. Early on, he recognized the strain an entire community feels when there is a shortage of physicians to meet patient demand. Since his first successful placement, Neal’s passion for identifying the best providers for each healthcare organization with which he recruits has grown.
Neal serves as Regional Vice President of Recruiting. In his role, he serves as a mentor to a growing team of Jackson Physician Search recruiters. He also enjoys collaborating with in-house recruiters dedicated to optimizing their physician recruitment and candidate acquisition strategies. Likewise, Neal specializes in helping physicians — especially residents and those early in their careers — advance their professional careers by finding the right fit.