For those who want to avoid the hectic pace of a hospital environment, nursing jobs in a private physician practice have always been a good option. Now there’s a new spin on that: nursing in a concierge practice.
Concierge medicine is relatively new in healthcare, but growing rapidly. In a concierge practice, primary care doctors provide specialized and/or personalized services by limiting their patient base to a small number of consumers who pay a membership fee to be included. Physicians who practice this way often say they can practice better medicine, offer same-day appointments, provide higher quality care, and spend more time with their patients, even accompanying them to specialist visits, for example. Patients may experience less frustration and have more peace of mind, knowing their doctor is readily available to them.
But the concierge trend has also become highly controversial. Critics say the system is too exclusive, and that it creates a larger pool of underserved patients—most often the poor or chronically ill. They say it increases healthcare inequalities, at a time when the broader industry is trying to eliminate disparities. This may prove especially troubling to nurses, who are trained to advocate for all patients, promote wellness, and work to improve community health.
Yet although concierge medicine began as a type of premium service for the wealthy, the field has evolved and is now entering a variety of practice settings—including lower cost care. An article in U.S. News & World Report cites examples of concierge practices with retainer fees as low as $10 a month for pediatric patients, $50 for young adults, and $75 for those over 45. This can cover primary care procedures from a routine physical to sutures, with drastically discounted prices for medication and lab work. Clearly, such a pricing structure could be more affordable, in some cases, than a comprehensive insurance plan with a deductible and co-pays, particularly for those consumers who don’t get health insurance through an employer.
As concierge medicine spreads, there will be many opportunities for nurses to work in physician practices. This environment may offer several benefits. You may enjoy the slower pace, which allows you to develop closer relationships with your patients and feel like you are truly partnering with them to promote wellness, lose weight, stop smoking, or manage a chronic condition. In some states, where nurse practitioners are legally able to practice independently, there will likely be job opportunities in nurse-directed concierge practices.
If you’re looking to make a career change, concierge medicine may appeal to you. But there is no shortage of exciting nursing specialties to choose from. American Sentinel has put together a free e-book, You Choose: 28 Careers That Every RN Should Consider, that you can download.
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