More NPs, PAs working as locum tenens providers, survey suggests

Healthcare professionals who temporarily fill in for colleagues, known as locum tenens, have long been part of the industry. For a closer look at these professionals, Staff Care, a national physician staffing firm and a subsidiary of AMN Healthcare, surveyed locum tenens physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified registered nurse anesthetists and dentists about their practice patterns and preferences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey, sent to physicians and advanced practice professionals in March, collected data from 672 respondents who worked as locum tenens sometime in the previous 12 months.

Researchers found that 16 percent of respondents were either nurse practitioners or physician assistants, up from 8 percent in the 2016 survey.

Jeff Decker, president of Staff Care, attributed the growing number of locum tenens providers to potential shortages in the nurse practitioner and physician assistant professions.

"As we have seen with nurses and physicians, when shortages occur, temporary providers are used to fill gaps," Mr. Decker said in a news release. "This is now happening with NPs, PAs and other advanced practice professionals."

Staff Care's survey also found that 71 percent of respondents have treated COVID-19 patients, and only 23 percent stopped working locum tenens assignments or reduced the number they work because of coronavirus.

To read more about the survey, click here

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