There is no doubt that being a nurse practitioner (NP) or a physician’s assistant (PA) is challenging and rewarding work. NPs are advanced practice registered nurses who have taken specialized courses, training, and certifications to manage a wide range of healthcare issues. They often collaborate with other members of the healthcare field and enjoy autonomy in their practice. PAs are healthcare professionals that practice under a licensed physician and perform a wide range of medical tasks. PAs can conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, and prescribe medications. These medical professionals are the first contact for a lot of patients and will often act as a liaison between the rest of the medical team and the patient and their family.
There are many great reasons to pursue a part-time career in these areas. A great work-life balance and wellbeing are just two of the reasons why part-time work as an NP or PA is a desired position for some seasoned healthcare workers.
Work-life balance is the balance between the time and effort dedicated to employment and the time and attention allocated to personal interests and leisure. A healthy balance of the two is acquired when one does not overshadow the other but a sustainable equilibrium between the two is reached. These activities provide a good way to relax the mind and body and feel refreshed, which means the individual is working at optimal capacity for those hours spent with patients.
Burnout can occur among workers in any field and is the state of physical or emotional exhaustion from a severe lack of work-life balance. Some ways PAs and NPs can enhance feelings of wellbeing and increase productivity throughout the day include staying informed about the latest developments in healthcare and engaging in ongoing professional development. This can inoculate them from burnout.
PAs and NPs often have flexibility in their practice as they have the credentials to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication. This autonomy can provide deep feelings of fulfillment in their work, and an increase in confidence and respect.
Enhanced job satisfaction
Seeking support from colleagues can contribute to feelings of great job satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment. Fostering strong communication with patients, practicing empathy, and participating in wellness initiatives can positively impact the overall wellbeing of both healthcare providers and those they care for.
Varied practice settings
A part-time NP and PA will have a choice of which settings they want to work in, such as hospitals, outpatient clinics, primary care, urgent care centers, telemedicine, home healthcare, and education and research.
Outpatient clinics such as private practices, community health clinics, and specialty clinics often offer flexible work hours for experienced medical professionals looking for a lighter workload. These clinics can offer NPs and PAs a choice of practice settings that the individual may be interested in.
PAs and NPs play crucial roles in hospitals, working closely with physicians and other healthcare professionals to deliver comprehensive patient care.
PAs and NPs conduct thorough physical exams, review medical histories, and assess patients’ conditions to formulate a diagnosis. This practice includes a holistic view of patient care which looks at the whole picture of a patient’s environment, family, and capabilities. The patient assessment can also be considered a collaboration with the patient as they provide useful information to get a clear picture of their illness.
NPs and PAs collaborate with physicians to develop and implement treatment plans, prescribe medications, and order diagnostic tests. This practice makes them indispensable members of the medical community and is one of the reasons why they are so well respected and valued by their colleagues.
PAs may assist in surgical procedures, while NPs may perform certain medical procedures, depending on their specialty and state regulations. The more experience they have in these procedures, the better able they are to train the next generation of nurses if they choose to move on to teaching in their careers.
PAs and NPs often participate in daily rounds, updating the medical team on patients’ progress, addressing concerns, and adjusting treatment plans.
Additionally, PAs and NPs both educate patients and their families on health conditions, treatment options, and preventive care measures.
Collaboration and specialization
PAs and NPs work closely with nurses, therapists, and other healthcare professionals to ensure coordinated and holistic patient care. Depending on their specialty, PAs and NPs may focus on specific areas within the hospital too. In emergency departments, for example, PAs and NPs may be involved in the rapid assessment and treatment of critically ill or injured patients.
NPs may offer part-time services in family medicine, pediatrics, or internal medicine depending on their interests and special education. As NPs can practice without the direct supervision of a doctor, they are able to offer healthcare to those in underserved areas and still maintain hours that support a healthy work-life balance. These medical professionals fill a much-needed role in the healthcare industry by offering comprehensive medical care to those who may otherwise go without.
Urgent care centers and telemedicine
Urgent care centers often handle a variety of non-emergency medical issues on a walk-in basis, and the flexible hours can be attractive for part-time practitioners. Likewise, part-time practitioners can also help those remote communities by providing telemedicine. Patients who may be too infirm to travel or do not have access to travel can benefit from these medical professionals.
Home healthcare is a burgeoning area of medicine as more people want to stay at home for their illnesses and recovery rather than staying in a clinic or hospital. Part-time home healthcare is a perfect fit for NPs who want to treat patients while still maintaining a certain level of free time for other activities.
Education and research
Teaching roles are an attractive area of work for seasoned NPs and PAs who want to give back to the field while also maintaining a healthy emotional and physical balance. These medical professionals could be part-time teachers or researchers who spend their time focusing on the future of nursing.
NPs and physician’s assistants who work part-time hours can invest time in their professional development so they can acquire advanced degrees and certificates that allow them to choose a specific career path. Having these options helps these individuals achieve an enhanced level of job satisfaction as they have the time to focus on areas that they feel passionate about.
NPs and PAs can also engage in temporary assignments, filling in for other healthcare professionals during their absence, which allows for flexibility in choosing when and where to work, providing supplemental income as needed. With the rise of telemedicine, part-time NPs and PAs can offer virtual consultations outside of their regular part-time position which can be an additional source of income that doesn’t necessarily require a physical presence. Some also provide consulting or advisory services to healthcare organizations, pharmaceutical companies, or other entities to leverage their expertise for supplemental income.
Part-time practitioners may also take on educational roles, teaching at universities, colleges, or healthcare training programs which not only contributes to the profession but also provides an additional income stream. NPs and PAs working part-time may also engage in research projects or clinical trials which allows them to contribute to advancements in healthcare while earning extra income. Some NPs and PAs offer health and wellness services independently, such as conducting workshops, providing health coaching, or offering preventive care services to supplement their income.
These professionals can also explore online platforms that connect healthcare professionals with patients for virtual consultations. By diversifying their professional activities, part-time NPs and PAs can create multiple streams of income, contributing to financial stability and allowing for a more varied and fulfilling career.
When a registered nurse is looking at making a career change and debating whether to be a Nurse Practitioner vs. Physician Assistant, they should look into online courses at an accredited school such as Wilkes University. The curriculum for these professions is challenging and rewarding, and they both prepare students for career advancement. Online courses give the necessary flexibility to working nurses so they can still maintain their careers while attaining advanced degrees and certifications.
Working part-time also allows a nurse to pursue educational interests they may not have otherwise had the time to do. Part-time NPs and PAs can join workshops, take classes online, join webinars, or pursue advanced degrees because they have the extra time for these pursuits. They may also branch out into other fields of study they find interesting or explore alternative medicine approaches they can bring back to their patients.
Healthcare is a lifelong learning process as the innovations in technology and advancements in the field are constantly evolving. Medical professionals who have more time to pursue these interests can find themselves involved in the cutting-edge of the nursing profession.
Transitioning into retirement
Transitioning from a full-time career like nursing to retirement can be an adjustment for some individuals, so going to part-time hours is a great way to transition from full-time to not working at all. NPs and PAs who are close to retirement age may find that going to part-time hours helps ease them into a lighter caseload while leaving them with more time to pursue interests, spend time with family, and enjoy things outside of work.
Some individuals consider acting as a mentor to newer nurses coming into the field so they can pass on their extensive knowledge and expertise before leaving the medical field for good. These professionals have a wealth of experience, so it is important that they help shape the future of the profession.
PAs and NPs usually have extensive experience in the field and a notion of what they might want to pursue within and outside of medicine. When an individual has more time for personal pursuits, they may start a course of study to teach others, or they may start a research program to help develop the field of medicine. Personal pursuits can also include learning how to play the piano, water ski, or paint, each of which can help fulfill interests they did not previously have time to try.
Diverse patient populations
PAs and NPs may work in diverse areas of medicine on a contract basis or open a part-time practice in underserved areas that are in desperate need of accessible healthcare. Often, these areas cover a diverse portion of the population and give these medical professionals a chance to work with populations they may have no previous experience with. This can lead to part-time PAs and NPs exploring different cultures and their beliefs within the area of medicine.
PAs and NPs have a great work-life balance and time to pursue interests within the medical field when they go to part-time hours. Working part-time allows these medical professionals to improve work-life balance, pursue passions, teach new students, and earn supplemental income while they transition into full retirement out of the profession.