Survey: Nurse Practitioner Workforce Sees Substantial Growth

March 19th 2018
Jennifer Barrett Assistant Editor
Jennifer Barrett Assistant Editor

The number of nurse practitioners has more than doubled over the past decade, reinforcing that the NP workforce is growing at an accelerated rate, according to new data released by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

The number of nurse practitioners (NPs) has more than doubled over the past decade, reinforcing that the NP workforce is growing at an accelerated rate, according to new data released by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

The latest data is based on an annual survey conducted by the AANP and shows that more than 248,000 NPs are currently licensed to practice in the United States, compared with 120,000 NPs in 2007. According to the survey, the data showed an additional 23,000 new NPs graduated from programs in the 2015-2016 academic year, making up 15.5% of graduates from the 2014-2015 academic year. Out of these graduates, 85.5% have been trained in primary care, and nearly 2 out of 3 new NPs entering the workforce have graduated from family NP programs.

“Provider shortages, especially in primary care, have become a growing concern, but the growth of the NP profession is addressing that concern head-on,” Joyce Knestrick, PhD, APRN, CFNP, FAANP, President of AANP, said in a press release. “Couple that with news that NPs conducted an estimated 1.02 billion patient visits last year alone, and it’s easy to see why millions of Americans are making NPs their providers of choice.”

According to the press release, by 2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the NP profession will have grown by 36%, compared to 37% for physician assistants and 13% for physicians (excluding anesthesiologists and surgeons).

Based on the survey data, 74.1% of the NP workforce worked full-time (35+ hours per week), 58.6% of full-time NPs worked overtime, and 35.4% of full-time NPs took evening and weekend on-call shifts. Additionally, 25.5% of NPs who answered the survey work in private practice, 12.8% in hospital outpatient clinics, 10.3% in inpatient hospital units, 8.2% in community health centers and Federally Qualified Health Centers, and 5.9% in emergency rooms/urgent care.

An estimated 77.8% of all NPs deliver primary care.

Reference

Number of Nurse Practitioners Hits New Record High [news release]. Austin. AANP’s website.https://www.aanp.org/press-room/press-releases/173-press-room/2018-press-releases/2190-number-of-nurse-practitioners-hits-new-record-high. Accessed March 19, 2018.

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