4 Job Search Tips for Advanced Practice Providers


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.


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Leaning On Advanced Practice Providers to Meet Growing Mental Health Needs


The increasing demand for mental health services, coupled with a slim supply of physicians trained to provide aid, has exacerbated the mental health crisis in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five American adults suffers from mental illness, and nearly one in five adolescents have had or are continuing to suffer from a mental illness. The state of mental health in the US is precarious, at best, and just when we need mental healthcare more than ever, like other medical specialties, we are faced with a serious shortage of psychiatrists. 

The situation seems bleak, but just as we have seen in other areas of healthcare, advanced practice providers (APPs) are proving to be a critical element in expanding access to care. Healthcare organizations of all types are taking notice and increasingly looking to hire advanced practice providers who specialize in mental health.  

Mental Healthcare: An Imbalance of Supply and Demand

The mental health crisis is the result of a perfect storm of circumstances: 1) rising levels of depression and anxiety due to the pandemic, social media usage, cultural changes, etc., 2) a nationwide opioid epidemic creating a large patient population in need of mental health services, 3) a significant portion (60%) of psychiatrists in the workforce are already over age 55, and 4) increasing physician burnout among psychiatrists causing them to reduce their hours or stop taking insurance and therefore see fewer patients. 

According to the AAMC, a third of Americans currently live in areas without access to a mental healthcare provider, and the data indicates this is likely to get worse. In 2021, 61.6% of active psychiatrists were over the age of 55. So, more than six in ten psychiatrists will reach retirement age in the next eight years. Research from Psychiatry Services predicts the US will see a shortage of between 14,280 and 31,091 psychiatrists by next year. This prediction, published in 2018, doesn’t even factor in the impact of the pandemic on both patient demand and physician burnout. 

There are clearly not enough psychiatrists to meet the demand for mental healthcare. So, who will treat the more than 50 million American adults battling a mental illness? 

Advanced Practice Providers to the Rescue 

The answer can be found in the very studies that show psychiatrists are already seeing fewer patients. In two separate studies, published by Health Affairs and reported on by Patient Engagement HIT, researchers found Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs) and Physician Assistants (PAs) are filling in the gaps where psychiatrists cannot meet patients’ needs. The first study tracked Medicare data which showed that while psychiatric visits declined by 29% from 2011 to 2019, visits with PMHNPs increased by 111%. By 2019, the percentage of PMHNPs treating Medicare beneficiaries grew by 162%. Researchers concluded PMHNPs see the same types of patients as psychiatrists, work in similar settings, as well as diagnose and treat in similar ways. 

The second study documented how changes that allowed APPs to prescribe buprenorphine significantly expanded access to medication-assisted therapy (MAT) for adults suffering from opioid use disorder. This study reinforces the takeaway of the former: advanced practice providers are helping to meet the mental health needs of patients when physicians cannot.  

Placement data from Jackson Physician Search also shows an increasing number of APPs are being hired. According to our internal data, we successfully placed four times as many Nurse Practitioners in 2022 as we did in 2020, and all mental health provider placements, including advanced practice providers specializing in mental healthcare, have increased by 85% in the same timeframe.

Now Hiring: Healthcare Organizations Seek Mental Health Advanced Practice Providers

Healthcare organizations of all types and sizes are considering how to better meet the mental health needs of their patients. According to a September MGMA STAT poll, 30% of medical practices are planning to add or expand behavioral health services at their organizations this year, and many of them will leverage advanced practice providers to do so. The MGMA poll found many are planning to integrate mental health services into a primary care setting. This approach allows patients to conveniently receive treatment for mental health issues in the same place they go for basic care. Several respondents specifically cited adding APPs to manage ADHD, anxiety, and depression evaluations. 

Incorporating advanced practice providers into the care team is already proving successful in rural areas, and it is not a new approach in the world of mental health. There are many benefits of hiring advanced practice providers, and organizations of all types leverage them to support physicians and meet patient demand. Advanced practice providers have been known to increase patient satisfaction, boost their organizations’ bottom lines, and reduce the burden on physicians, which in turn decreases burnout and improves retention. These outcomes are valuable, of course, but when it comes to mental healthcare, the expanded access that advanced practice providers bring is more than nice to have — it’s a must-have. Advanced practice providers who specialize in mental health are a critical part of the solution if the industry hopes to meet the rising demand for services that is sure to continue in the coming years.  

Could your organization benefit from adding an advanced practice provider specializing in mental healthcare? The recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search has the national reach and regional expertise to connect you with the best APP candidates for the job. Reach out today to learn more. 

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