Primary Care Physician Shortage Creating High Demand For Nurse Practitioners

npResearch shows there has been a steady decrease of Physicians across the United States, especially primary care Physicians.

The data published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects shortfalls in primary care Physicians of between 21,400 and 55,200 by 2033.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports, 80 million Americans lack adequate access to primary care, primarily in rural areas.

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) have the ability to help fill this void.

The number of NPs is at a record high and the demand is growing. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), in 2019, there were more than 290,000 licensed NPs in the United States.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports, the overall employment of Nurse Practitioners is projected to grow 45% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

AANP data also shows 89.7% of Nurse Practitioners are prepared to practice in primary care with specialties in family (65.4%), adult (12.6%), pediatrics (3.7%), women’s health (2.8%), and gerontology (1.7%), among other specialties.

However, many states still impose restrictions on the care NPs can provide.

Some states require NPs to be supervised by a Physician and other states restrict NPs from practicing a certain distance from their supervising Physicians.

NPs can prescribe medications and controlled substances, but a few states require they do so in collaboration with a supervising Physician. Some states also impose probationary periods before NPs are allowed to prescribe medications.

Nurse Practitioners should be able to work to the full potential of their education and training.

Patients trust the care they receive from Nurses. Evidence supports the notion that NPs provide care that is comparable to Physicians in terms of quality, utilization, and satisfaction.

AANP President Sophia Thomas, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP said, “An estimated 1.06 billion patient visits were made to NPs in 2018, improving the health of our nation and increasing the growing number of patients who say, ‘We Choose NPs.’”

As of March 2021, the average Nurse Practitioner salary is $111,478. Pay varies depending on education, certifications, the state you work in, additional skills, and the number of years in the field.

Nurse Practitioners are a critical resource for improving population health and reducing health disparities.

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