One of the major benefits of the nurse practitioner profession is flexibility. Not only do nurse practitioners often work nontraditional hours, they also have increasing opportunities to practice in new markets. With the emergence of practice settings like retail health clinics and employee wellness services, nurse practitioners are being called upon to staff these innovative types of practices.
Demand for nurse practitioners outside of the traditional clinic and hospital setting is on the rise. Here are some roles that may interest nurse practitioners who are looking for a change:
1. Home Health Nurse Practitioner
A number of businesses are staffing nurse practitioners to capitalize on new Medicare laws regarding hospital readmissions. These nurse practitioners visit recently discharged patients in their homes with the goal of keeping them healthy and out of the hospital. Home health nurse practitioners enjoy flexible schedules and the freedom of practicing outside clinic walls.
2. Retail Health Nurse Practitioner
According to the Convenient Care Association, there are more than 1,200 retail health clinics operating in 32 states. These clinics are staffed largely by nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners in retail health typically work alone in a small clinic within a grocery or drug store, treating patients for minor injuries and illness. Some retail health clinics plan to offer chronic disease care in the near future, creating even more employment opportunities for nurse practitioners. While nurse practitioners often practice alone in retail health clinics, on-call physicians are available for advice at all times.
3. Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner
On-the-job injuries are common and nurse practitioners are on the front lines of caring for these patients. Some clinics are devoted entirely to workers’ comp injuries while others also provide urgent care services. Nurse practitioners employed in workers’ comp clinics can expect to treat plenty of sprains, strains, fractures, lacerations, and other acute injuries. Nurse practitioners monitor the healing process, helping to decide when the employee is safe to return to work.
4. Employee Wellness Nurse Practitioner
Where the occupational health setting is reactive, nurse practitioners working for employee wellness programs are proactive, focusing on keeping workers healthy. Some employers, typically large companies, are staffing healthcare professionals to treat patients in on-location corporate clinics in order to reduce the number of sick days and keep insurance costs low by managing chronic disease. Nurse practitioners are the perfect, cost-effective solution to this problem. Nurse practitioners working in employee wellness treat acute illness and injuries and provide chronic disease management and preventive health services.
5. Urgent Care Nurse Practitioner
You’ve probably noticed new urgent care clinics cropping up lately in response to a shortage of primary care clinics. Working in urgent care gives nurse practitioners variety in their practice, as these clinics attract all kinds of patients with acute injuries and illness. For nurse practitioners aspiring to work in the emergency department, practicing in an urgent care clinic for a few years is a good stepping stone toward reaching this goal.
Traditional hospital and clinic settings offer a number of employment opportunities for nurse practitioners while emerging markets allow nurse practitioners to expand their scope of practice. These newer markets allow nurse practitioners even more opportunity to find a job that fits their interest and lifestyle.