Hiring Nurse PractitionerAn increase in the hiring of nurse practitioners is a great step for long term care communities looking to create a more cost-effective use of staff, while continuing to provide quality care to their residents. The advanced training involved in becoming a nurse practitioner allows these professionals to meet patient needs in an effective, independent manner; however, nurse practioners do not require the same high salary as other highly educated caregivers, such as physicians.

Cost savings

For long term care communities, nurse practitioners prove to be a very cost effective alternative to hiring physicians or physician assistants. Data published by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing cites research showing that when nurse practitioners were added to the care team at nursing homes, the average cost of providing for the needs of residents dropped by 42 percent.

An article from Advance Healthcare recognizes that while some long term care communities may be more familiar with hiring physician assistants when they need to broaden their team of medical professionals, they would be better off hiring nurse practitioners instead. Unlike physician assistants, who are licensed to practice medicine under the supervision of a physician, nurse practitioners have fewer practice restrictions in most states. For the most part, nurse practitioners don’t need to have their charts, prescriptions or documentation cosigned by a physician, and in many states they can maintain their own practice with no involvement from a physician.

Higher resident satisfaction

According to a study by New York University, the involvement of nurse practitioners in long term care communities is correlated with much higher satisfaction among residents, families, staff and physicians. The duties of these specialized providers include visiting sick residents or those in urgent situations, providing hospice care and wound care, collaborating with physicians and providing training and support to nursing staff, while functioning as independent service providers. The research concludes that there is a need for new strategies and funding to encourage the hiring of nurse practitioners to assist residents in long term care.

Business Week Magazine quotes Evercare Chief Executive Dr. John Mach, a geriatrician, agreeing with this point: “We know that investing in a Nurse Practitioner up front leads to better care and a lower cost at the back end. We’ve achieved a 45% reduction in hospitalizations with no negative impact.” Similarly, research at UCLA demonstrates that “the percentage of quality indicators that were satisfied for patients whose cases were co-managed by a nurse practitioner and a physician was higher than for those seen only by a physician.”

Managing the recruitment process

Hiring the best nurse practitioners is a challenging process because the volume of applications tends to be higher than it might be for physician candidates, and it involves scrutiny of many different facets of a candidate’s training, experience, education and behavioral fit. In order to stay organized and maintain consistant communication with top talent, long term care facilities should consider implementing an applicant tracking system. With applicant tracking software, users are able to send automated emails, set reminders and goals to ensure they’re always in touch with top talent. Due to the influx of healthcare jobs, and the subsequent flood of applicants, it’s essential that recruitment teams and hiring managers streamline their talent aquisition process with an automated system to stay to ensure they’re hiring the best nurse practitioners for their long term care community.

Want to learn more about improving your recruitment process? Download our white paper: Improving the Candidate Experience: Five Best Practices for Continuing Care Recruiting to learn how your long term care organization can remain a step ahead in the war for talent.

About The Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff is a team of writers with a passion for helping healthcare organizations manage their biggest and most important investment: their employees.