How Much of the NP's Day Should Be Administrative Time?

Carolyn Buppert, NP, JD


December 17, 2010


How much time is reasonable in an 8-hour day for administrative tasks (charting, telephone calls, and responding to emails) for an NP in a primary care practice?

Response from Carolyn Buppert, NP, JD
Attorney, Law Office of Carolyn Buppert, PC, Bethesda, Maryland

I ran the numbers using the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. If the reimbursement per visit averages or exceeds $62, the nurse practitioner (NP) would be a productive member of the practice if he or she saw 3 patients an hour (15 minutes each with 15 minutes per hour for documentation) for 7 hours, leaving 1 hour per day for additional charting, telephone calls, emails and other administrative tasks. This fits with what I wrote in a previous article, "How Many Patients Can a Nurse Practitioner See in a Day?"

Some nurse practitioners agree in their employment contracts to work a specified number of "sessions" per week, with a session composed of a specified number of patient-care hours and a specified amount of administrative time. Some practices want the clinician to devote all 8 hours of a workday to patient visits, and expect the clinician to do the documentation, telephone calls, charting, and administrative tasks after the office is closed to patients. The latter may be acceptable if the overall compensation is good and the NP understands that she or he is expected to work a day that exceeds 8 hours. Whether you have the former or the latter arrangement is between you and the employer.


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