Nationally, there is a practitioner shortage and healthcare needs are increasing. Between 2014 and 2024, the need for physicians and surgeons is projected to rise 14%. The need for physician assistants will grow 30%, and nurse practitioners will increase 31%. Simultaneously, almost 40% of the American population (i.e. the Baby Boomer generation) is aging and increasing the demand on the current healthcare system. Political uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act and a future replacement are beginning to drive changes within the industry.
Demand for trained medical providers has always been high, and continues to increase. While specific demands will vary by region, here are some medical specialties that need providers in nearly every community.
Primary Care (including family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics)
Today’s healthcare system increasingly relies on the primary care provider to coordinate a patient’s care. These providers write referrals to specialty care, and help patients navigate a complex healthcare system. While the primary care provider role is critically important, communities in every state do not have enough providers.
According to information from the Health Professional Shortage Areas website, over 8,000 more primary care providers are needed to resolve the healthcare shortage areas in states across the country. Some states have a greater need for primary care providers while other (smaller states) have a diminished need. Primary care providers routinely take the first place title for the most important and sought after provider type.
Today, the demand for psychiatrists is huge. Some experts suggest that psychiatry is the second biggest provider need behind primary care. Other sources state that it’s the third biggest need. Regardless, the shortage of (and demand for) trained psychiatrists is significant.
Although distressing now, the psychiatrist shortage will become more severe over the next decade. One study quoted in Forbes revealed that 60% of psychiatrists engaged in active patient care are ages 55 or older. With many of these providers nearing retirement, needs in this field is projected to increase substantially.
Hospitalists are medical doctors who care for patients who are currently hospitalized. They are aware of the unique aspects of a hospitalized patient’s stay, and are often more available than doctors who have other areas of practice.
With increasing demands on the healthcare system, the need for trained medical providers spans all specialties. Although each source ranks the most in-demand roles differently, primary care providers, psychiatrists, and hospitalists are routinely needed throughout the system.