What’s Out There for Nursing Graduates?

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By: Dr. Liza Alcances MD, RN, CPC, CPC-I, CIC, Assistant Manager, Training – Healthcare

In 2015, there were roughly 36,000 examinees of the Nurse Licensure Examination, of which around half were successful. This was in stark contrast to the hundreds of thousands of annual nursing graduates a decade ago. The contraction of the available nursing jobs in the Philippines and abroad led to a corresponding reduction in the number of nursing graduates. Still, the local hospitals and other health providers are hard-pressed to provide employment.

Here are some options for the newly-minted R.N.:

Overseas Employmenttravelingnurse.jpg

The Philippines is well-known for its massive overseas labor force. Whereas in previous years, the USA was the main destination of nurses, in recent years, the European Union and the Middle East are becoming the go-to place for nurses. The catch? Foreign hospitals would have additional experience and education requirements, and in the case of some EU countries, language fluency requirements.

Photo credits: scrubsmag.com

Local Healthcare Companies

If not in the clinics or hospitals, nurses can find employment in local companies that deal with healthcare. HMOs hire nurses in their processing divisions. Some pharmaceuticals hire nurses to run their clinical trials. There are companies that hire nurses as medical writers. Data generated in the local clinics and hospitals need the nurses’ clinical exposure to process them correctly.

BPO Companies

The BPO industry was the biggest beneficiary of the oversaturation of the local and international nursing pool. Nurses, lacking options, started to work as call center agents, data processors, data encoders, practically whatever jobs were available.

Healthcare BPO is now a thriving, constantly-progressing, rapidly-expanding field. The nurse may find his/her niche in any of the following fields:

medical-coding-main-image-300x152.jpgMedical Coding – medical coders review charts and assign codes to the documented diagnoses and procedures. Analytical skills are required, as well as a good clinical eye and a strong foundation in the basics of medicine, e.g. medical terminology.

There are different types of medical coders. Some work on outpatient office charts, some work on inpatient charts. Some work on both. Some work on the side of the care providers, others work on the side of the payers. It’s possible to specialize on coding for a specific medical specialty. It’s also possible to progress to auditing, or to practice management.

photo credits: www.wdt.edu

Most of the nurses in the BPO field eventually end up as medical coders, due to the higher compensation and the close correlation with clinical practice.

Claims Processors/Medical Billers – billers enter data into claims forms. A nursing degree is beneficial but is not required.

Case Management – requires that the case manager is a USRN. Case managers act as patient advocates and coordinators, or ensure that the care process is efficient and cost-effective. It also has a close correlation with clinical practice, but the certification requirement posts a difficulty.

Nursing graduates now have better options than those who graduated 5-10 years ago. A career in the clinics is just one option; other fields are just as fulfilling, and may even offer better compensation and a healthier work-life balance.

Related: How to Shift to the Healthcare Information Management Industry through Medical Coding

 

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