Number of Patients per Day


I'm currently interviewing for an adult and geriatric primary care/internal medicine position. They are saying I would see 14-18 patients per day M-F 8-5. I know a lot of family practice clinics often expect 30+ pts per day, which I think is ridiculous. I don't know what the norm is for an primary care clinic with more complex adult and geriatric patients. I currently do primary care for very complex homebound patients...I only see 6 pts per day because they are so complicated and the drive time is factored in. I never have any set breaks to eat lunch or admin time to review labs, x-rays, etc. I almost always order labs, x-rays etc on every patient because that's how sick they are. Not to mention all of social issues you run into when going to a patients house. I'm looking for other options because I'm tired of driving and I don't like how my current position is set up...if a patient cancels (and it happens a lot) I'm automatically scheduled another patient and it may not even be close to me. If I don't see 6 pts I have to make it up on another day or on the weekend. I spend A LOT of time at home charting and getting caught up. I've expressed my concerns so many times but nothing seems to change. Anyway, I'm exploring my options and trying to figure out what the norm is and what's safe for a primary care/internal medicine clinic. Thanks!


214 Posts

Has 16 years experience.

Maybe ask to shadow for a day or so to see how the other providers handle the patient load. Observe if the provider you shadow is getting time for a lunch break, admin time, etc? Are the patients they're seeing as acute as the ones you'll be assigned? Would they allow you to start off with fewer patients/day so you can get to know them, the staff, the EMR? Then gradually work up to a full case load.


9 Posts

Thank you for your reply...they actually invited me to go back and see the clinic where would be working after the interview. I have plans to ask about admin time and orientation process. I would like to go in and observe as well. They also want to make sure the candidate they decide on is the "right fit" which tells me they are taking their time rather than trying to fill the position as soon as possible.


468 Posts

Specializes in Family Medicine, Tele/Cardiac, Camp. Has 10 years experience.

I work in a primary care office and we see some pretty complex patients. On most of my days I start the day scheduled with 20 patients. But, invariably, a few poeple typically end up canceling their appointments, rescheduling, or just not showing up. I average between 14 and 18 patients a day and it's very manageable for me. Most of the time I stay about 30 to 60 minutes late just because I like to be very thorough in my chart preps, but every couple of weeks or so I end up having a day that puts me there 2+ hours later than I'd like. I feel like that' just the nature of the beast in primary care.

I definitely think that shadowing is really the best way to get a good idea of the practice, flow, and other staff (including providers) working there. That way you can get the sense of whether it's 14 patients that seem like 30 or 20 patients that seem like 10. Best of luck to you. :)


33 Posts

14-18 patients a day seems very reasonable for primary care. Some of those will be quick 15 minute visits, including charting, and some will take an hour. 6-8 patients per half day is very doable.


1 Article; 2,077 Posts

Specializes in Hospital medicine; NP precepting; staff education. Has 22 years experience.

As a student I was up to 20 patients a day independently with my last preceptor. He has extended the possibility of working with him. That's a long 10 hour day (those days were scheduled to be so, the rest were "half" days.)

Specializes in Adult Nurse Practitioner. Has 40 years experience.

As with WKShadowRN, I was up to 20 patients on my final rotations as well. As a practicing NP, it is not uncommon to see that number either!. As ndnursepract points out, many patients will be 15 minutes...especially once you have established a working relationship and get to know the patients better.


16 Posts

I think 14-18 patients per day is fair as long as you have some admin time built in and you aren't routinely leaving late. Don't see why people are okay with leaving late, don't get taken advantage of!


9 Posts

Yes I know it's seems like a reasonable number of patients. What worries me is that they are adult and geriatric internal medicine type patients, so they are a little more complex. There also isn't any admin time. I'm really trying to avoid bringing work home with me!


9 Posts

I visited the clinic and really liked it though. I know that I'm not going to find the "perfect" job, but I have 2 small children so I'm trying to avoid doing so much work at home.

missdeevah, NP

318 Posts

How did it go? Did you take the position?


37 Posts

My final semester I was seeing 20-30 per day. It seemed fine with a mix of easy follow ups to some more time consuming ones. My preceptor was big on focusing on the one reason for the visit and not spending 30 minutes listening to an entire life story.