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Reasons Behind the Growing Demand for Nurse Practitioners
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Reasons Behind the Growing Demand for Nurse Practitioners

In 2013, research carried out by healthcare recruiters Merritt Hawkins found that nurse practitioners were ranked as the most hired healthcare professionals of the year. While this was the first time that nurse practitioners ranked in the top twenty list of research carried out by the company, nurse practitioners have enjoyed even more demand ever since. Today, the role of a nurse practitioner is one of the most in-demand around the US and has outdone the expectation to grow by 30% by 2020. In fact, nurse practitioners have grown even more than primary care physicians. So, why are nurse practitioners in so much demand?

Demographic Changes:

A 2015 report conducted by the American Association of Medical Colleges found that by 2025, the US population is expected to grow by around 10%. And, the biggest rate of growth is expected to be seen within the senior demographic, bringing the number of elderly people within the population to over 45%. On the other hand, the number of people under the age of eighteen is only expected to rise by 5% during the same time period. The population is aging, and the senior demographic typically require more healthcare services compared to younger generations, which is driving the demand for more specialist healthcare professionals such as nurse practitioners. 

Retail Clinic Growth:

Today, going to the doctor’s office or the ER is not the only way that you can get medical attention. Retail clinics are an ideal alternative for patients who need to get non-urgent medical care in a quick and convenient way. Often located within convenient areas like drugstores, pharmacies, and supermarkets, retail clinics allow patients to get the healthcare advice that they need without going out of their way, and have become a very popular alternative option due to after-hours convenience, increased coverage from many private health companies, and high-deductible health insurance plans. MinuteClinic, for example, is one such clinic that is typically found in stores like Target and Walmart, allowing customers to get in-store healthcare and advice. Nurse practitioners are typically hired to run these clinics since they are more cost-effective than primary care physicians, yet have the authority to diagnose, prescribe medication, refer patients, and offer medical advice without the supervision of a physician in the majority of US states. 

Physician Shortage:

Around the US there is currently a shortage of many healthcare professionals including registered nurses and primary care physicians. A shortage of medical doctors is one of the biggest issues for the US healthcare system to face and has only been made more apparent by the recent COVID19 pandemic. In the next ten to fifteen years, research suggests that the country may be short of around 140,000 physicians, which is not good news when coupled with the aging population, who tend to require more access to healthcare. Nurse practitioners are in high demand since they can step in and fill this gap in the healthcare system due to the fact that, in many states, they are authorized to take on many of the responsibilities of doctors without supervision. They are able to diagnose patients, prescribe medication, and refer patients for specialist treatment. In addition, many patients report an excellent standard of care from nurse practitioners who have often worked up from being a registered nurse and are committed to providing the best standards of care. 

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

The PPACA, which was passed in 2014, made sure that affordable health insurance was accessible to over twenty million Americans within the following three years. Within the Act, there were also included a range of significant investments in the healthcare system with the purpose of allowing the role of nurse practitioners in the delivery of patient care to be expanded. Since then, there have been many huge investments made into outpatient clinics and other healthcare services that are primarily run by nurse practitioners. Because of this, the need to increase the number of nurse practitioners to provide the primary care needed was inevitable. The PPACA also increased the amount of funding provided to colleges, nursing schools and other educational institutions that train nurses and nurse practitioner programs to encourage more nurses to consider enrolling in advanced training programs such as DNP FNP programs from Baylor University, which can be completed online making them the ideal choice for full-time nurses looking to progress. 

Why Consider Training as a Nurse Practitioner?

If you are currently working as a nurse and want to advance your career, there has never been a better time to consider training as a nurse practitioner. The high demand means that it is easier than ever for you to find work wherever you go, and nurse practitioners can expect to earn a generous salary. 

See Also

When training to become a nurse practitioner, there are several options to consider. A family nurse practitioner will work with patients of all ages, while you can study to become an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner if you would prefer to work with older patients. Neonatal nurse practitioners are responsible for the care of infants, while psychiatric nurse practitioners work with patients suffering from mental health conditions.

In addition to the various options to choose from and the high demand for nurse practitioners of all specialties, getting your advanced degree and qualifying as a nurse practitioner is now easier than ever with a huge range of options available that are designed to be flexible for full-time nurses. Online nurse practitioner training courses and advanced degrees are now a very popular option since they allow nurses to put together a study schedule that works for them rather than facing the need to take time off work so that they can attend lectures and classes. Online study is often a cheaper option for nurses who no longer need to worry about relocating or commuting costs when getting their advanced degree, and the demand for nurse practitioners has led to a lot of financial aid, scholarships, and other financial support options for nurses looking to take this route. 

Nurse practitioners are in higher demand than ever – if you are a nurse looking to progress in your career, it’s definitely worth considering. 



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