Becker's Hospital Review closed out the month of March (2015) by publishing the most recent statistics for 2015 healthcare recruiting, and there were few surprises in the data. Moreover, most of the predictions for the latter stages of 2015 materialized: The bottom line being that the physician shortage will continue throughout the remainder of this year while both medical facilities and recruiters strive to fill gaps in medical coverage.According to Becker's Hospital Review:
- Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Psychiatry are the most difficult specialties to recruit for.
- 73 percent of the 565 survey participants anticipated the number of open positions this year to be either the same or greater than 2014.
- More than 30 percent indicated they would use nurse practitioners or physician assistants to fill open positions.
- More than 20 percent indicated they would use per diem or locum tenens staffing.
- More than 5 percent indicated they would consider international staff to fill coverage gaps.
45 percent of the respondents indicated that they do not use alternative staff to fill coverage gaps, even for short durations. In other words, they would not consider using a nurse practitioner, physician assistant or other professional to fulfill another specialist’s role. Given the large national push to give NPs and PAs more responsibility for Primary Care, this statistic may be more representational of rules and regulations than belief in the skillsets of NPs and PAs.
As a recruiting agency, the 2015 data confirms a growing demand for locum tenens provider-ship. Now that more than 90 percent of America's healthcare facilities use at least one locum tenens provider annually, there is no reason to forecast a decline in provider-ship for this burgeoning form of healthcare.
International Recruiting Insights
A surprising statistic from the 2015 data is that just 5.3 percent of the respondents said they would be willing to utilize international staff. In consideration of how many international students come to the US to train for medical careers, it is surprising that there are not more international healthcare professionals who choose to practice in the US after receiving education in the states.
Still, a small percentage of American doctors who decide they want to practice medicine abroad remain. Though international placements are just a small piece of the recruiting gamut, every doctor who leaves US soil to work overseas contributes to the current domestic shortage. It might be time for us to look at ways to acquire international staff for locum tenens positions while streamlining practices to match those of international healthcare facilities, making for smoother transitions and familiarity with US procedures.
A Manageable Future
Despite revealing data about the provider shortage, we cannot help but have an optimistic outlook. The future is very manageable if healthcare facilities, recruiters and educational institutions all work collectively to find and implement creative solutions. As we move forward in 2015, look for a continued emphasis on locum tenens hiringand a concerted effort to debate and prove nurse practitioners’ and physician assistants’ capability of providing Primary Care.