More than 234,000 licensed nurse practitioners in the US
More than 234,000 nurse practitioners (NPs) are licensed in the United States, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), which released its latest count. The workforce has nearly doubled since 2007 when there were an estimated 120,000 NPs. The faith that patients have in NP-provided health care is evidenced by the more than 1.02 billion estimated visits made to NPs annually. Full reports highlighting new data on NPs will be released in the next couple of months.
NPs have been providing primary, acute and specialty health care to patients of all ages for more than a half century. “The NP role continues to attract attention and gain recognition with its fourth consecutive appearance on the U.S. News and World Report list of The 100 Best Jobs, this year ranking second,” said AANP President Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP. “We are proud of the high-quality, patient-centered care that nurse practitioners provide their patients. The demand for these exceptional health care providers has never been greater.”
The NP workforce is growing at a fast rate. An additional 23,000 new NPs graduated from programs in the 2015 – 2016 academic year, up 3,000 graduates, or 15.5%, from the 2014 – 2015 academic year. An estimated 85.5% of new graduates have been trained in primary care. Nearly two out of three new graduates will graduate from family NP programs. By 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the NP profession will have grown by 35% compared to 30% for physician assistants and 13% for physicians (this excludes anesthesiologists and surgeons).
“Nurse practitioners continue to be one of the solutions to America’s health care,” said AANP CEO David Hebert. “As health care reform moves forward, nurse practitioners will be front and center. The increasing number of individuals choosing to be a nurse practitioner is an affirmation of this outstanding profession.”