COVID-19 has infected your NP job search

It’s no surprise NPs are wondering whether this is the right time to look for a position.  The global pandemic has not only changed the way we live but has also impacted the NP job market in some ways we have never seen before and to the casual observer don’t seem to make much sense. NP job seekers are wondering if this is even an appropriate time to look for a new job. New graduates are beginning to have serious concerns as graduate NP prospects are rapidly dwindling. This blog will unravel the mystery surrounding the current NP market to assist you in making the best decision for your job search.

Where did the NP jobs go?

We have shifted from what was a steadily expanding NP market to one that is rapidly transforming before our very eyes.  In the middle of a pandemic, we are seeing many healthcare sectors begin to decrease hours, lay off or furlough personal.  For the first time in my memory, NPs have actually experienced active job offers being retracted by employers.

One of the areas most impacted are urgent care, which may seem somewhat counter intuitive when everyday we are hearing how the Coronavirus is straining our healthcare systems.  The reason, however, is that patients are being strongly encouraged not to seek face to face care for complaints that are not deemed to be essential.  For instance, cold and flu symptoms which are one of the leading reasons people seek care, are told to stay home unless they are experiencing more concerning symptoms such as respiratory distress.  If at risk for COVID-19 they may be directed to screening centers.  Concern over use of PPE and supplies is also prompting urgent cares to scale back.

Primary clinic hiring has also dramatically decreased, and some have actually begun to claw back outstanding job offers. Why? Like urgent care, daily patient visits have declined. Many are refilling prescriptions for stable chronic conditions without visits in order to minimize direct contact. The result is that patient loads have dropped by half or more in these clinics, so staffing has decreased accordingly.  Hiring has also partly halted because the workload is not there to support their current staff.  Remaining staff are working hard to adjust to changes and employers have redirected resources to support current staff. The result: hiring has been put on the back burner.  There is so much uncertainty surrounding how long this crisis will last, so increasing staff at this time is not a good business decision This new way of doing things is likely to have many repercussion going forward as healthcare organizations will be evaluating how they do business in the future.

Other areas impacted are centers that specialize in anxiety disorders. Again, it seems like we might need more of them, but in during this crisis where we must weigh risk vs benefit, they are deemed to be less urgent.  Specialty practices which refer patients to hospitals and same day surgery centers are essentially on pause because of cancellations for elective surgery.  Booming esthetic and cosmetic type practices are deemed “non-essential” and are another sector retracting offers.

Who is hiring?

There are sectors where you can get a job right now. These tend to be in areas such as long-term care, cancer care infusion centers, senior living facilities, residential care facilities, drug and alcohol treatment, and correctional health.  The common thread here is care that must be continued.  Patients can’t simply be discharged from these settings. Reservations continue to hire. Check areas that don’t have a high number of COVID-19 infections as they may still be hiring. If you have surgical skills or respiratory skills and willing to work in the trenches you are likely to find an opening.  Mental health evals are in high demand so Psych NP hiring will remain strong with a likely shift to more telehealth visits.

“If something cannot go on forever, it will stop”

Don’t get discouraged, this is not about you, it’s the pandemic. We are in new territory. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking.

My next blog will outline how you can adjust your job search tactics now to maximize your prospects for when hiring begins again.