Physician, nurse practitioner jobs lead healthcare surge

As the healthcare field enjoys a hiring boom, job security is especially good for physicians and nurse practitioners (NPs), according to the Chicago Tribune.

Doctors are continually in demand, according to the article, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the industry will need 123,300 new physicians by 2022. Moreover, the BLS data states, the median salary for physicians and surgeons was $187,200 as of 2012.

Demand for NPs, meanwhile, will grow 33.7 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the BLS. Demand for NPs and demand for physicians go hand-in-hand, as many states expand NPs' scope of practice as a way of offsetting healthcare gaps created by physician shortages. In January, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners noted "explosive growth" in the field as the NP workforce doubled between 2004 and 2014 and more than 15,000 students graduated from NP programs in the 2012-2013 academic year.  

Growth in the nursing field in general is similarly strong, particularly in Texas, according to the Houston Chronicle. Facilities are expanding, creating more demand for nurses at all levels. University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, for example, currently has openings for inpatient and ambulatory nurses.

Healthcare's across-the-board hiring surge is a drastic change from nearly two years of flat job growth in hospitals, doctors' offices and outpatient care, according to Forbes. Hospital jobs grew for 10 consecutive months as of last week's jobs report, according to the article, and healthcare jobs in general grew 14 of the last 15 months.

This may be due in part to both a generally improving economy and the Affordable Care Act, as hospitals, particularly those in Medicaid expansion states, have less bad debt, although numbers are stronger in both expansion and non-expansion states. The downside of this good news is that better performance typically leads to higher spending, flying in the face of one of the prongs of the Triple Aim, according to Forbes.

To learn more:
- here's the Tribune article
- check out the Forbes article
- read the BLS numbers for physicians and NPs (.pdf)
- check out the jobs report
- here's the Houston Chronicle article