One of the most in-demand professions in American healthcare today is the nurse practitioner role. In 2021, about 325,000 NPs licensed in the US, but recently, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report that shows the NP profession will probably grow by over 52 percent in the next decade.
Hospitals and medical facilities all over the country are looking for more licensed NPs in their state, but what are the reasons nurse practitioners are in such high demand? We answer that and more in our guide below!
Perhaps the most significant reason nurse practitioners are in such high demand that many experts point to is the aging population of the US. Overall, the US population is rising, but the country’s general population is getting older.
Over the next decade, the number of seniors in the US will significantly rise, much of this happening in the baby boomer generation. Seniors require more healthcare than the average middle-aged person, which increases the burden on the US healthcare system. Nurse practitioners are especially valuable for treating the elderly because they can take care of simple procedures and diagnoses for many seniors’ chronic illnesses.
On top of more Americans getting older and needing healthcare treatment, hospitals and medical facilities are struggling to find enough physicians to keep up with all the patients. As the pandemic showed, many hospitals and medical facilities are at their limit with the number of patients they can handle due to a lack of personnel.
Over the next decade, healthcare associations predict a greater physician shortage. Nurse practitioners can help fill these open positions and pick up the slack as they have prescriptive privileges in all 50 states, and there’s a growing push to allow NPs a greater scope of practice to help ease the physician shortage.
Increased Healthcare Access
More people can now access healthcare more easily thanks to bills such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. Approximately 30 million people have access to healthcare from ACA who previously didn’t. This is great news, but it also means a heavier burden on American hospitals and medical personnel.
Nurse practitioners can again help alleviate this burden with the growing trend of retail clinics. Retail clinics are health clinics found in retail locations like supermarkets and department stores—they provide basic primary care at an affordable price, and NPs can work at retail clinics and fulfill the needs of many patients.