Nurse practitioners most recruited providers for first time in 28 years, report finds

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Nurse practitioners have replaced physicians at the top of Merritt Hawkins' list of most recruited providers. 

The finding comes from the search and consulting firm's "2021 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives." 

The report, released Aug. 9, is based on a representative sample of 2,458 permanent physician and advanced practitioner search assignments that were ongoing or conducted by Merritt Hawkins/AMN Healthcare's physician staffing companies from April 2020 to March 2021.

Those searches were primarily conducted for hospitals (33 percent), group practices (29 percent) and academic settings (20 percent). Searches also occurred for urgent care, federally qualified health centers, the Indian Health Service and concierge medicine.  

From April 2020 to March 2021, Merritt Hawkins conducted more searches for nurse practitioners (335) than for any other provider type, according to the report. Next was family medicine physicians (284) and radiologists (136). 

In Merritt Hawkins' report in the 27 prior years, physicians were at the top of the list, according to the firm. 

"COVID-19 and other market forces are changing the dynamics of physician and advanced practitioner recruiting," Tom Florence, president of Merritt Hawkins, said in a news release. "NPs are coming into their own in a market that puts a premium on easy access to care and cost containment."

Mr. Florence also said nurse practitioners are being used to staff a growing number of urgent care centers and outpatient clinics and are being recruited to provide telemedicine services.

Read the full report here

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