4 Signs It’s Time to Hire a PA or NP

All over the country, healthcare facilities are experiencing staffing shortfalls due to a wide variety of issues. As a human resources manager or practice administrator, you are always planning and looking to the future to avoid staffing gaps that can leave your facility unprepared. Adding the overhead of a new physician extender is a big step for many practices, but it can be the right move to ensure continuity of patient care and prevent burnout of your physicians and medical staff.

As a boutique medical staffing firm specializing in recruiting physician assistants and nurse practitioners, we know firsthand the reasons why facilities decide to add a physician extender to their team. Here are six signs that it’s time to start recruiting.

#1) Your medical staff is fatigued

Provider burnout is a concern of epidemic proportions, affecting medical professionals of all types. According to The National Academy of Medicine (NAM), “More than half of U.S. physicians are experiencing substantial symptoms of burnout.” Burnout can lead to multiple issues, including depression and decreased productivity.

When doctors and clinicians are overworked, staff turnover is higher for healthcare facilities. The NAM goes on to report that physician burnout increases the odds by 200% of a physician leaving a practice for reasons other than retirement.

Today’s PAs and NPs have extensive skills and are authorized to handle duties that were once performed only by physicians. Bringing a capable and competent extender on board can take the workload and stress off your doctors, reducing the risk of your current team experiencing burnout.

#2) You have limited capacity for new patient intakes

Another sign that it’s time to bring on additional providers is when your practice is unable to accept the usual rate of new patients. New patients are less likely to agree to first-time appointments if you are forced to push their appointment date months into the future due to a shortage of providers.

New patients are the future of your medical practice; your ability to serve them with quality care in a timely manner is essential to your long-term viability. Hiring the right type of provider for your specific needs will put time back into your schedule, so you can accept new patients and continually grow your business.

#3) Patients are starting to complain

Online review sites and forums are riddled with negative reviews and comments about medical office wait times and limited facetime with doctors. If your packed schedule forces you to move hastily through a high volume of patients each day, your doctors and staff become frazzled. Make no mistake — patients will take note.

If you are noticing a spike in disgruntled patients, consider how a physician extender could improve the quality of care you provide. It could mean the difference in retaining your existing patients or losing them to other practices — not to mention, having another qualified resource to relieve stress and fatigue for your current team.

#4) It’s time to replace an underperforming provider

Letting someone go is never easy, for either party involved. If you’ve tried unsuccessfully to correct the behavior of an under-performing provider, it may be time to terminate. A provider who is no longer pulling his or her weight can put a strain on the entire facility, causing more issues than just underperformance.

When separation is necessary, your primary goal is to execute a smooth transition and minimize disruption to the practice. Consider who will take on the provider’s responsibilities during the transition period before a new practitioner is placed. If possible, start the process of recruiting a replacement before the termination. A healthcare staffing firm can source quality candidates and do the preliminary screening for you, helping you fill the open position as quickly as possible.

As it relates to dismissing the non-performing practitioner, take the proper steps to document the provider’s performance and treat them with respect throughout the dismissal process. Schedule the termination at the end of the day on a Friday so that other workers will be leaving and he or she can have the weekend to regroup. Get straight to the point and leave no room for confusion or debate. Be sure to address the termination date and how pay, benefits, unused vacation time and references will be handled.

Finding a top medical staffing agency

Is your medical practice experiencing any of these signs telling you it’s time to hire? TinkBird can help you navigate through the hiring process with ease. We recruit from our extensive network of skilled physician assistants and nurse practitioners to find the perfect candidate for your situation.

We’re also a leading locum tenens recruiting agency – offering experienced doctors, PAs and NPs to fill in for busy holiday months, planned vacations, last-minute unplanned absences and maternity leaves. Skilled locum tenens providers are a valuable resource during these peak periods.

Courtney Driver is CEO of TinkBird Healthcare Staffing, a boutique medical staffing agency focused on permanent and temporary placement of primary care physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners.

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