Workforce Briefs: August 2015

Jobs Growth Cools Off after Torrid Spring

Healthcare added nearly 28,000 jobs in July, according to the latest preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While job growth remains strong, it’s actually down from the previous few months. Healthcare had added about 40,000 jobs in June after adding about 50,000 jobs in May and 47,000 in April.

July growth included significant job increases at hospitals. It’s been an up-and-down year for hiring in in that sector of healthcare. Hospitals logged an increase of 15,700 jobs in July, after adding just under 7,000 jobs the prior month. Hospital hiring has vacillated since the beginning of the year.

Most of the rest of the new jobs came from ambulatory care facilities, about 8,900; physician’s offices, about 4,500 jobs; and nursing and residential care facilities, about 3,300 jobs.

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Top Ten Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations

Registered nurses lead the way by far in employment numbers in healthcare, with nursing assistants a distant second, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are approximately 2.7 million RNs and 1.4 million nursing assistants. Top ten in wages are dominated by physicians, with anesthesiologists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons leading the way.

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Majority of U.S. Physicians Work in Small Practices

Believe it or not, there are still some doctors who work in a solo practice, though their numbers are shrinking quickly. According to the American Medical Association’s most recent study on physician practice arrangements, the share of physicians who were in solo practice decreased from 18.4% in 2012 to 17.1% in 2014.

However, the AMA’s study also found that a majority of U.S. physicians still work in small practices. The study found that 60.7% of physicians work in small practices with 10 doctors or fewer. The study also noted that 56.8% of physicians worked in practices wholly owned by physicians in 2014, down from 60.1% in 2012. The share of doctors who worked either directly for a hospital or for a practice owned at least partially by a hospital grew from 29% to 32.8%.

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21 States Now Allow Full Practice Authority for Nurse Practitioners

When Gov. Larry Hogan signed the bill into law in May, Maryland became the 21st state to grant full practice authority to nurse practitioners.

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) defines full practice authority as allowing NPs to “evaluate patients, diagnose, order and interpret diagnostic tests, initiate and manage treatments—including prescribe medications—under the exclusive licensure authority of the state board of nursing.”

In other words, the NP does not have to function under the direction or supervision of a physician in a state with full practice authority.

Maryland followed Nebraska, which expanded practice authority for NPs earlier in the spring. The District of Columbia also allows full practice authority. According to AANP, seven states have enacted such laws in the last four years.

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