Aging baby boomers, fewer people choosing the medical field, and early retirements are all helping to shift hospital demand from primary care physicians to specialists. Martin/Fletcher surveyed 2,960 hospitals in 45 states and 4,265 clinics in 39 states to get a better read on what hospitals want. Primary care physicians are still in demand, but not to the degree they were in the early and mid 1990s. Instead, the survey reflects a growing need for specialists such as orthopedics, anesthesiologists, and radiologists. "Due to the aging of the baby boomer population, there is more need for hip replacements, knee scopes and elderly related surgeries," the report's authors note.
Retaining physicians isn't the primary concern for hospitals — other providers are in even more demand. Those most sought include pharmacists and nurses. A survey of 3,960 hospitals in 48 states shows great competition to "keep pharmacists in the hospital setting and also recruit new grads." In the meantime, nurses are retiring earlier and, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 3,000 fewer nurses have graduated from baccalaureate programs in the last five years. Salaries offered to pharmacists and nurses by cash-strapped hospitals reflect just how much in demand they are.
SOURCE: NURSING & ALLIED HEALTHCARE ANNUAL COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS REPORT, APRIL, 2001, MARTIN/FLETCHER