Why physicians are recommending careers as NPs

Primary care physicians are more likely to recommend a career as a nurse practitioner than as a physician to qualified college students.

In a sample of 505 PCPs, 66 percent said they would recommend a career as a nurse practitioner, compared to just 56 percent who would recommend their own career, according to a survey published in Academic Medicine.

Most nurse practitioners agreed: in a group of 467 NPs who were simultaneously surveyed, 88 percent would recommend their own careers, while 67 percent would recommend a career as a PCP.

Results of the survey suggest career satisfaction has something to do with it. The majority of both professions said they were very or somewhat satisfied with their careers (83 percent of PCPs and 88 percent of NPs). However, a closer look reveals PCPs are less satisfied: Only 43 percent of PCPs are very satisfied, versus 73 percent of NPs. Of the PCPs who reported feeling less than very satisfied with their careers, only 37 percent would recommend it to a qualified college student and 63 percent would recommend a career as an NP, according to the report.

"Our data have shown that primary care physicians and nurse practitioners are being educated in very different ways to provide similar types of clinical services. Nurse practitioners report much greater career satisfaction, work fewer hours and have more time with patients. Primary care physicians appear more beleaguered and work longer hours but are better paid," said senior author Karen Donelan, ScD, EdM, in a statement.


More articles on integration and physician issues:

What concerns physicians about value-based care?

Survey takes pulse on future of medical education

Dr. Who? What happened when a CMO learned physicians weren't introducing themselves to patients

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