New Health Professional Practice Patterns

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Abstract

Career patterns and practice correlates of 143 New Health Professionals (NHPs) educated at one institution are studied to determine similarities among different types of practitioners (Health Associates and Nurse Practitioners). Employment since graduation has been high with low job turnover. Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are found most often in metropolitan areas, while over 50 per cent of Health Associates (HAs) are employed in rural settings. More NPs work in hospitals than HAs, who have a righer rate of employment in private practices, HAs are also involved in a wider range of medical specialties than NPs. In terms of patient care, HAs see more patients than NPs and also have larger primary care caseloads. From a functional perspective, only minimal differences are found in comparing the activities of the practitioners. Most NHPs have high job satisfaction, although HAs anticipate a high rate of job turnover; no differences were found in levels of perceived responsibility nor in the amount of supervision in patient care. Although there were only small differences in the activities of the two groups, numerous contextual and practice correlates were found to differentiate the NHPs, a finding which argues against the current practice of conceptualizing NHPs as a single group.

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