As the Delta variant surges throughout the world, I want all my Elite Nurse Practitioner sisters and brothers to be as objective as possible about what the near future holds for us as a profession and as a society. But most importantly, I want you to prepare for the worst. Not just for yourself, but for your family and for your patients.
A quick disclaimer here: these are my opinions which are based off my objective observations of the world, nothing more.
I have worked urgent care throughout this entire pandemic, and I am making my exit from urgent care for 2 predominant reasons:
- I have become financially independent secondary to my niche practices continued growth and having aggressively paid off all my debt over the past 3 years.
- I am burnt out… I cannot continue to see 60-80 patients a day with more to come.
I am not going to debate about how dangerous COVID is, vaccine effectiveness, or the political environment surrounding it, that is not my objective of this article. But I do not like the current direction of how events are unfolding around us, predominately with our economy and within the mainstream healthcare system that I have worked in over the past year and a half since this all started.
First, our economy is extremely fragile right now, regardless of how “strong” we are led to believe it is. Our government is 28 TRILLION DOLLARS in debt and is a few interest percentage points away from totally defaulting on its debt obligations. Inflation is rampant. Businesses cannot find enough employees to operate properly. Everything is overvalued. There are shortages of all types of products and supplies including semiconductors, meat, plastic, microchips, and so forth. My point is that if we experience another shutdown or a repeat of March-May of 2020, the supply chain and certain areas of our economy could see a significant decline in production and demand.
Everyone knows this: many unskilled workers in this country enjoy their free lunch. As soon as they can receive massive unemployment benefits and free rent again, they are going to jump right back on that train. It was getting so bad that in some states, the Governors had to put a STOP to unemployment benefits just to get people back to work. If another shutdown happens secondary to another large COVID surge, it will happen all over again. What does this mean? It will COMPOUND supply and product shortages because there will be no one to work in the manufacturing facilities, to grow our food, to deliver goods, and to sell them in stores.
For these reasons, I would advise all of you to prepare. I am not saying to go buy half the store, but I would highly advise that each and every Elite NP reader do the following within their personal life:
- Stock up on basic household items such as toilet paper, soap, detergent, batteries, and any additional items you and your family use often. I am sure we all remember the toilet paper shortage… I know I certainly do. Resorting to coffee filters will not be an option again in my household!
- Stock up on nonperishable food items. I remember I couldn’t buy bread flour for almost 6 months. I guess everyone took up baking during the shutdown…
- Have some cash on hand. I would advise at least $2,500. You just never know when you might be in a pinch and need some cash.
- Ensure you have an emergency fund to weather the storm if for some reason you have a temporary pause in your income. Many nurse practitioners lost their jobs during the last shut down… Many of those nurse practitioners didn’t have emergency funds. It was tough for them.
- If you are sitting on any extra cash, have it ready in case we see another stock market crash. Millionaires are made during recessions. The name of the game is to BUY LOW and SELL HIGH. Do not panic and sell off half of your 401k if there is another crash. That is dumb. Many of us made a lot of money during the “recession” last year. I wrote about that HERE and if you had followed my advice, you would have made A LOT of money.
Outside of this, be prepared for the following in your day-to-day jobs:
- We will see LARGE influxes of patients wanting COVID testing for every symptom imaginable. This cold/flu season will be one of the worst ones we have experienced in a long time. Everyone’s immune system is shot. I have been seeing 50-60 patients DAILY since mid-July in the urgent care. This is unheard of. July is usually the SLOWEST month in an urgent care. Everyone is wanting COVID testing for rhinitis, common colds, headaches, and every other common symptom imaginable. Imagine how this is going to be during REAL cold/flu season. Also, schools are requiring negative tests for every runny nose coming through. For this reason, I am out… I am experiencing burnout already and school literally just started yesterday. I can’t do it anymore if I value my own sanity, and I am not alone from what I have been hearing from other nurse practitioners.
- Burnout is becoming prevalent in many healthcare systems throughout the country because of COVID. Many hospitals and outpatient clinics are seeing worker shortages. Let’s face it… humans are not designed to be seeing this many patients and experiencing this type of stress. So many disciplines from radiology technicians, to nurses, and to physicians have experienced increased workload and stress over the past year. It is not sustainable. Burn out WILL continue. Check out Erica Dorns site about nurse practitioner burnout if you are needing help.
And finally for the nurse practitioner entrepreneurs, you need to do the following:
- Be prepared for either a decrease or an increase in demand for niche medical services.
- You will see a decrease in demand if you have not developed a “Modern Practice” where you provide telemedicine and mobile services. So, ensure you have these care delivery methods implemented into your practice, REGARDLESS of your niche service line.
- You will likely see an increase in demand if you are providing telemedicine and mobile services as people will still need medical care and the plethora of benefits that niche service lines deliver, but they will not want to venture out to busy brick and mortar practices as often to obtain them if we see another “COVID season.”
- Expect an increase in demand for COVID testing over the next 6 months. For this reason, I have dropped the price on The COVID Testing Course to just $99 to help everyone prepare for this. You should be offering this in your practice.
- Ensure you are providing immune boosting therapies for your patients that want to maintain an optimal immune system.
- Ensure you have enough cash on hand to sustain your business for 3-6 months JUST IN CASE you see a decrease in volume.
- We are already seeing medical and pharmaceutical supply shortages. So, STOCK UP as it could get worse!
I hope I am wrong, and nothing happens at all. I hope the world just continues chugging along and we do not see any significant changes to our way of life. But my job is to simply show you the reality of the situation and offer some advice to my nurse practitioner sisters and brother. We could be in store for some repeats of what we saw in the spring and summer of 2020.
As an Elite Nurse Practitioner, you should prepare for the worst and be ready to take advantage of the best, therefore read the above recommendations and make preparations. An Elite Nurse Practitioner should not unknowingly be hit from the back, but instead, should see what is coming head on. Don’t be like the rest of the herd and freak out when the storm hits. You should always be ready and have the appropriate redundancy in your life to sail through the storm to reach calmer waters. But lets hope nothing happens and that my predictions are totally wrong 🙂