Locum Tenens Advanced Practitioners Benefit Patients, Physicians, and Facilities

Male registered nurse showing ill elderly woman electronic padWith physician demand steadily outpacing supply, our nation could reach a shortfall of up to 139,000 physicians over the next 12 years, predicts research from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which was conducted before the COVID-19 crisis. Fortunately, advanced practitioners are ready and willing to fill in the gaps.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, advanced practitioner professions are growing much faster than average: Physician assistants (PAs) are expected to grow 31 percent by 2029, while certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners (NPs) are expected to grow 45 percent in the same time period.

As NPs, PAs, and CRNAs continue to supplement the healthcare workforce, facilities stand to reap countless benefits by utilizing those who work locum tenens.

Increased access to primary care
By 2033, the U.S. could be facing shortages of more than 55,000 primary care physicians, according to the AAMC. Across the country—and especially in rural, inner city, and other underserved areas—decreased access to primary care may result in fewer patients being seen, longer wait times, and greater frustration by patient and staff alike.

Advanced practitioners can significantly improve that situation. Healthcare organizations that utilize locum tenens NPs and PAs are able to treat more patients and reduce wait times, which can enhance patient satisfaction and ensure people receive the care they need when they need it.

Support for all specialties
The AAMC also projects a shortage of up to 86,700 non-primary-care specialists by 2033. NPs and PAs pursue a variety of specialties, from allergy and immunology to urology, with approximately 70 percent of PAs practicing a specialty, even subspecialties, such as neurosurgery and cardiothoracic surgery. Their advanced knowledge adds another layer of expertise for understaffed departments.

Collaboration to combat burnout
Nearly half of American physicians are burned out, according to a national survey of more than 12,000 doctors in over 29 specialties. And the cost of that burnout, according to a separate study conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, estimates that burnout costs the American healthcare system approximately $4.6 billion each year, based on models that accounted for physicians cutting back on work hours or leaving the profession altogether.

Locum tenens NPs, PAs, and CRNAs can provide invaluable support to physicians and other clinicians. What’s more, by working in tandem, both groups are less likely to suffer from burnout.

Improved bottom line
In addition to enhancing patient care and provider satisfaction, facilities that utilize locums advanced practitioners stand to save money. When a physician is not readily available, facilities lose patients, and consequently, revenue. But filling staffing gaps with locum tenens advanced practitioners is a cost-effective way to be ensure consistent, quality patient care is readily available.

To learn more about how your facility can benefit from adding NPs, PAs, and/or CRNAs into the staffing mix, call 800-928-0229 to speak with one of our dedicated consultants or contact us online.