You have surely observed the expansion of retail health clinics in your community. From drug stores to grocery stores and even airports, clinics are popping up everywhere. Patients are flocking toward the convenience retail clinics provide creating an increasing number of jobs opportunities for nurse practitioners.
The Washington Post reports the retail health business is booming. Visits to retail health clinics quadrupled between 2007 and 2009 according to health economists. In 2009, retail clinics treated 5.97 million patients at an average cost of $78 per visit making retail health a $460 million dollar industry.
Clinics in stores such as CVS, Kroger and Walgreens staff nurse practitioners to treat patients for minor illness and injuries. These clinics take advantage of the gap left by the primary care shortage. With weekend and evening hours, patients who are unable to get in to see their PCP can simply go to their local drug store and be treated by a nurse practitioner. More and more patients are opting for this prompt method of treatment. Below is a graph showing the growth in patient visits to retail health clinics (the spike each Fall is related to flu shot administration) between 2007 and 2009.
The convenience these clinics provide makes them a great resource for patients, but the retail health boom is also good for nurse practitioners. As the number of retail clinics continues to grow, so do job opportunities for NP’s. Like any job, working in retail medicine does come with certain benefits and challenges (see my post on ‘Is Working in Retail Health the Right Choice for You?‘) but if you are looking for a job as a nurse practitioner, the retail health industry is certainly worth checking out.