Las Vegas – Retail health clinics are emerging as a cost-effective solution to address primary care and urgent care needs as many parts of the United States experience a shortage of primary care physicians.

But they may have trouble retaining qualified nurse practitioners to manage them, Loree D. Elahee-Lee, DNP, CNP, of Cincinnati, Ohio, told Clinical Advisor during a poster presentation at the American Association of Nurse Practitioners 2013 National Conference.

“I worked for two of the three top retail clinics in the United States, and I noticed that there was a very high turnover rate among nurse practitioners. I wanted to figure out why and what’s causing the problem,” she explained.

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Despite the growing prevalence of retail health clinics, there is currently no published research investigating NP job satisfaction in these practice settings.

So Elahee-Lee invited 50 NPs who attended the 2011 American Academy of Nurse Practitioners National Conference to participate in a survey. A total of 33 met the eligibility requirement of working in a retail clinic for one or more years and were able to participate.

On average participants were women (97%) aged 46 to 50 years. The majority of respondents were white (84.8%), followed by blacks (9.1%) and Hispanics (6.1%).

The top areas of job satisfaction among NPs working in retail clinics were the challenge and autonomy of treating patients (93.9%), benefits (93%), and time for professional, social and community interaction (90%), respondents indicated.

Areas where NPs reported dissatisfaction included opportunities for intra-practice partnership and collegiality (81.8%) and lack of perceived professional growth (78.8%).

“Overall, we are satisfied with working in retail clinics because of entitlements, the money is good and we get to see patients autonomously,” Alahee-Lee said.

Performing nonclinical duties, and essentially being alone in the clinic are aspects that clinicians are dissatisfied with, she added.

“NPs feel like they went to school and earned a masters or doctorate degree to clean floors and do marketing for large retail pharmacies.” Elahee-Lee said. “It can be really frustrating.”

Study limitations included the small sample size and a lack of ability to demonstrate statistical significance.

Elahee-Lee called for larger studies to assess why NPs chose other arenas instead of continuing to practice at retail health clinics.


  1. Elahee-Lee LD. Poster #107. “Nurse Practitioner Job Satisfaction in Retail Health.” Presented at: Presented at: American Association of Nurse Practitioners 2013 National Conference. June 19-23, 2013; Las Vegas.