MinuteClinic, a subsidiary of CVS Caremark, is not only changing the face of urgent care, but also giving nurse practitioners (NPs) a new setting where they can treat patients with acute conditions.
Located in mini-malls, pharmacy stores and grocery stores across the country, MinuteClinic walk-in centers are staffed by teams of NPs and/or physician assistants who work 12-hour shifts, three days a week. Physicians supervise the clinics, with typical patient visits lasting 15 minutes. No appointments are necessary. Since the first MinuteClinic opened in 2000, the growing chain, which now operates 337 clinics in 24 states, has already seen more than 1 million patients.
Leslie Van Ostran of Columbus, Ohio, was working as an NP in a wellness clinic when she first heard about MinuteClinic’s expansion into the Columbus market. She was intrigued by the company’s reputation for high-quality healthcare and the opportunity to care for patients with minor illnesses.
“At MinuteClinic, we see patients with conditions such as strep throat, sinusitis, skin rashes and other acute conditions,” she says. “By visiting our clinic, they avoid long hours of wait time in the emergency room. We typically see patients in 15 minutes or less and most of our services cost $59 or an insurance copay.”
Van Ostran was also attracted to MinuteClinic’s competitive salaries and benefits, including the opportunity for employees to take a paid 40 hours of continuing education annually. She also appreciates the flexibility in her schedule. Clinics are open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We’re able to work independently and do a lot of patient education,” says Van Ostran, who works three 12-hour shifts per week. “On a busy day, we may have two NPs on staff taking care of 70 patients, while in a new clinic we may initially see 10 patients a day.”
Opportunities to Advance
To work as an NP at MinuteClinic, nurses must have an MSN, a current RN license in the applicable state and national certification as an adult, family or pediatric NP.
While many NPs work in the clinics, MinuteClinic also offers opportunities for nurse practitioners to advance within the company. NPs can work in operations positions, as well as in regional staffing and training. As trainers, they serve as clinical coaches who travel within their regions to conduct in-service training.
Anne Pohnert, FNP, serves as manager of operations for the Northern Virginia/Washington, DC, area. She says most NPs in her position oversee operations at 10 to 30 clinics in their regions.
“We have an incredible IT support team at our corporate offices that helps us with our electronic medical records,” Pohnert says. “Nurses find that working at MinuteClinic means working with cutting-edge technology.”
Pohnert says nurses also enjoy flexible schedules, working three days each week and enjoying four days off.
“There is no mandatory overtime with MinuteClinic,” she says. “Certainly if a nurse wants to pick up extra shifts, they can, but our flexible schedules leave nurses time to spend with their families and [pursue] interests outside of work.”
Managers such as Pohnert work out of their home office and travel to clinics within their region where they interview new employees and check in with nursing staff.
“Job satisfaction is very high among our nurses and customer satisfaction is high among our patients,” she says. “Our nurses like being able to work independently and help patients who are suffering from a variety of acute conditions. Our patients like receiving high-quality care without waiting for hours in their local ER.”
Van Ostran says that until now, she’s never had a nursing job where she was treated like royalty.
In early 2007, Van Ostran learned she was a recipient of MinuteClinic’s Paragon award that recognizes staff for their outstanding clinical and customer-service skills, as well as chart and patient reviews. In addition to an all-expenses-paid trip to the awards ceremony in Orlando, Florida, Van Ostran was awarded a vacation anywhere in the world. “I’m considering a trip to Australia with my husband and daughter,” she says.