Which of Your Hospital’s Employees is Most Satisfied with Their Jobs?

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JOB-thumb2Take this survey for what it is: a small sampling of attendees at their association’s annual meeting. However, going by this small sampling, the employees most satisfied with their jobs at your organization may surprise you.

The survey in question was conducted by temporary physician and NP staffing firm Staff Care, an affiliate with recruitment firm Merritt Hawkins under AMN Healthcare.

In talking with NPs in attendance at June’s the American Association of Nurse Practitioners annual meeting in Las Vegas, Staff Care found that 100 percent of the 222 surveyed “are upbeat about their profession. The survey also found that 99 percent of NPs are optimistic about their future, 97 percent would recommend becoming an NP to their children, and 96 percent are optimistic about the future of their profession,” reports John Commins for HealthLeaders Media.

Merritt Hawkins and Staff Care Vice President of Communications Phillip Miller admitted this was “not a scientific survey, but it is more of a weathervane indicator of where things are going. The reason we think it is somewhat significant is that the response to the questions was overwhelming… And unlike physicians and even nurses we have surveyed, we have never seen satisfaction rates as high. We usually get 10 percent–15 percent of the people who have something to grumble about or something that didn’t meet their expectations or who have regrets. We got almost none of that this time.”

Why do nurse practitioners have so much to be happy about? For one thing, their field is broadening, Miller said, as more states are jumping on board with expanded autonomy for physician extenders. “There is a sense of confidence that their income and prestige are going to increase.”

“When asked what they plan to do in the next three years, 63 percent of NPs said they will continue in their practice,” Commins reports. “However, 10 percent said they would work independently, 10 percent said they would work in temporary practice, and 12 percent said they would work part-time.”

With a daily patient volume of 17 and an average salary of $95,800, NPs seem to have the medical world by the proverbial string, while, Commins observes, most physicians are highly dissatisfied with their jobs. “A recent national survey of physicians conducted by Merritt Hawkins found that 32 percent of respondents said they feel positively about their profession, 13 percent said they are optimistic about the future of medicine, and 42 percent would recommend medicine as a career to their children or other young people.”

“Doctors feel like their clinical autonomy is being eroded and that reimbursements are being cut, and in a lot of cases they are,” Miller said. “Before they were preeminent on the healthcare team and now it’s more like they are part of the team and not the dominant player.”

He added that registered nurses are experience similar frustrations, with more physically demanding jobs and poorer incomes than NPs. Most of their work is “grunt work” compared to the nurturing, patient-centered care providing by NPs.

Of course, if job satisfaction among NPs is truly this high, then that means dissatisfaction is right around the corner, Commins writes. “While much has been said about NPs and physicians’ assistants alleviating the physician shortage, the survey shows that 75 percent of NPs said there is a national shortage of NPs. More than 80 percent of NPs said they are overworked in their practices or are at full capacity. NPs said they spend an average of 25 percent of their time on non-clinical paperwork.”

If they think it’s bad now, Miller warns, wait until they do receive the ability to have their own practices.

Nevertheless, this “small sampling” of NPs gives insight into the shifting dynamic taking place within healthcare.

So, we’re curious, what kind of dynamic exists among your physician extenders? Are your NPs happy with their jobs? Have you been giving them more authority within the care team? How does the outlook of your NPs compare to the satisfaction of your physicians and nurses?

-by Pete Fernbaugh

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