Do Nurse Practitioners Get the Workplace Short End of the Stick?

As a nurse practitioner, I enjoy my workplace. It certainly isn't glamorous, but the facility serves its purpose. Hospitals come with a certain smell that waxes and wanes depending on the ailments of resident patients. The walls are inevitably some sort of drab pastel color - like the designer was afraid to verge to much from a healthcare facility stereotype. The nurses' lounge fridge is inevitably disgusting, a make-your-own penicillin mold situation plaguing forgotten lunches. Not to mention, the cafeteria cuisine leaves something to be desired. 

No, there is certainly no lunchtime yoga program that accompanies life as a nurse practitioner. Employee lounges take on the appearance of a Jiffy Lube waiting area rather than a trendy coffee shop. While I'm not unhappy with my surroundings on the job, sometimes I can't help but wonder if nurse practitioners and those working in healthcare are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to employment perks. 

Company culture and offerings are all the rage these days. The tech industry seems to head up the trend wen it comes to extras. Free gourmet employee cafeterias, massage rooms, nap pods and on-site haircuts are just the beginnings of Google's workplace draws. Other employers like Salesforce offer paid time off for volunteering along with travel stipends. On a wider scale, companies are adding complementary employee workout classes and boosting parental benefits as part of perks packages. How do these employers justify the added expense?

Workplace environment is certainly part of the consideration when looking for a nuse practitioner job. So, to attract top talent, companies add unexpected benefits like an attractive workplace to the package. These conveniences also reward those who work hard to keep the company running and encourage longevity with the organization. Some companies have been accused of making their workplaces so accommodating so that employees don't have to leave. This encourages longer work hours and ultimately higher productivity. But wait? If there are so many positives to gourmet food offerings and on-site massage, why doesn't it seem like hospitals and clinics are following suit? Am I in the wrong profession? After all, providers are the revenue generators in the patient care equation. 

After mulling the matter over, I have decided that forgoing a career with souped-up company perks and sticking to single-serving size cereal packages in the cafeteria for three meals a day on the job is perfectly OK with me. There are several benefits to working as a nurse practitioner that outweigh the ability to get an on-demand massage the moment stress arises or an on-site haircut when I have split ends. Here's my thinking: 

1. I've got less weighing on me after hours

Once I gained some experience in my career as an NP, I was able to complete most of my work, well, at work. I don't arrive home tied to my phone with the stress of closing a sale lingering. When I'm out of the office, I'm off duty. Sure, there are some nurse practitioner jobs that come with taking call or that require charting at home. But, generally, as a nurse practitioner there's less hanging over your head when you are off the clock than in the business world, especially once you get a little experience under your belt. To me, you can't put a price on this after hours personal freedom. There's something to be said for shift work. 

2. I'm all about efficiency

Yeah, getting a massage at work sounds nice and all, but I'd rather complete my job responsibilities while I'm on my workplace premises and hit the exit door earlier to go enjoy my personal life than take a mid-morning break. Even if I had breaks to enjoy workplace offerings during the day, I would still be left with the same amount of stuff to get done overall. I'd rather keep things moving so I can get on with my afternoon or evening, free from the bounds of my employer. 

3. My paycheck

The money to fund such perks must come from somewhere. I would rather receive a higher paycheck than enjoy a complimentary farm-to-table turkey and brie sandwich at lunch. Employers may choose to pass savings along to employees rather than spend them on more frivolous workplace features. 

4. Healthcare realities

Healthcare is a hot political topic these days. Not only is the face of healthcare changing in our country, we cant be sure what these changes will amount to in the future. Furthermore, with the price of healthcare ever increasing, facilities are under mounting pressure to decrease costs. The government and insurance companies control reimbursement rates and are increasingly making it more difficult for healthcare facilities to get paid. With uncertain reimbursement structures and the requirement to adapt to large scale changes, healthcare companies are wise to conserve resources and invest them in strategies to remain viable in an unpredictable market. I'd certainly rather have a nurse practitioner job without frills than no job at all. 

These musings aren't meant as a complaint or that I'm an ungrateful employee. My job is flexible and comes with a competitive paycheck which are at the top of my list when it comes to employment benefits. Rather, this topic has simply been an observation of mine as companies that go out of their way to be the next big thing in workplace extras commonly make the news.

How does your nurse practitioner workplace compare? Could you use more on-the-job frills?

 

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