Nurse Practitioners More In Demand Than Most Physicians

When it comes to what a hospital or health system needs to fill the vacancies in a medical staff, primary care doctors like family physicians and internists have long been the top need.

But climbing the ranks and jumping past many doctor specialties on the demand scale aren’t physicians at all. They’re nurse practitioners and physician assistants who are filling a critical role for the health care industry, according to national doctor recruiting firm Merritt Hawkins.

Here are the most in-demand health care career specialties for 2015:

1. Family Medicine
2. Internal Medicine
3. Psychiatry
4. Hospitalist
5. Nurse Practitioner 
6. OB/GYN
7. Orthopedic Surgery
8. Emergency Medicine
9. Pediatrics
10. General Surgery/Physician Assistant (Tie)

For the ninth consecutive year, the family doctor was the most highly recruited doctor. Internists were second on the Merritt list followed by psychiatrists amid a nationwide shortage of behavioral health specialists.

“Combined, physician assistants and nurse practitioners were fourth on the list,” Merritt Hawkins said in its report. “Four years ago, neither NPs or PAs were among (the firm’s) top 20 assignments either collectively or individually.”

On their own, nurse practitioners ranked fifth behind hospitalists who were fourth and physician assistants were in 10th place, tied on the “in demand” scale with general surgeons. Advanced practitioners are more in demand than several specialties including general surgery, cardiology, urology and neurology.

Merritt Hawkins’ review comes from a database of more than 3,100 recruiting assignments conducted by the firm from April of last year through March of this year.

Read the full article from Forbes here.