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2 Possible Reasons for the Rise of Advanced Practitioners

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It’s no secret that the role of advanced practitioners within the healthcare spectrum has expanded lately. Proof of this plays out in the media on an almost-daily basis as the battle for greater independence for advanced practitioners plays out in the courts.

Beyond the obvious reasons of the physician-shortage crisis and the need for medical care in rural communities, there are two reasons—one fact, the other speculative--why advanced practitioners are gaining ground in today’s healthcare job market.

First, the salaries of advanced practitioners aren’t as high as physician salaries.

A hospital can hire a physician assistant for anywhere between $80,000 and $100,000 a year. By comparison, pediatricians start at $135,000, and internal-medicine and family-medicine specialists start in the $180,000 range.

That’s a significant difference that does not elude cash-strapped hospitals and health systems.

Second, and this point is more speculative than anything: could it be that there’s a difference in the mentality of advanced practitioners vs. the mentality of physicians?

Physicians are by nature an independent group. They have gone through four years of medical school in which it has been drilled into their heads that the buck for a patient’s care stops with them.

That’s a heavy responsibility they bear, and it’s one that never leaves them.

On the other hand, advanced practitioners, by nature of their background, are used to working as part of a team. And as we all know, today’s healthcare industry simply favors the team mentality over the autonomous decision-maker.

Call it a fad, call it changing times, call it the grand paradigm shift. Regardless, and this is simply a probing, curious question on our end, could hospitals be favoring advanced practitioners over physicians because they have the perception that advanced practitioners are easier to deal with?

Could it be they perceive that physicians will question the administration more than the advanced practitioner will? And could it be that with all of the federal demands being placed upon them, they value the team player over the decision-maker?

We have both physicians and advanced practitioners who read this site. What do you think? Is this what’s going on? Is this one of the factors contributing to the rise of the advanced practitioner?

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