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Locums News February 4, 2016

NP Job Outlook: Nurse Practitioner Demand at All-Time High

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) recently published a book to mark a milestone in the history of nursing and healthcare in the United States: "Celebrating 50 years of Nurse Practitioners" honors the nation's NPs by offering a rundown of NP history, heritage, and future job prospects.

On that last item, NPs can take heart: The book informs the nation that the state of the NP job outlook is strong, with nurse practitioner demand increasing and expected to continue doing so.

Jeff Waddill, Staff Care's own Divisional Vice President, reveals in one of the book's articles that demand for NPs is at an all-time high, with requests for locum tenens nurse practitioners received by Staff Care jumping a whole 10 percent in just four years.

"In addition, NPs can be critical to increasing patient access and satisfaction, providing patient education, improving outcomes, and avoiding readmissions, all metrics by which healthcare professionals and healthcare facilities will be paid as reimbursement shifts from volume to value."

Nurse Practitioner Demand: What's Behind Today's NP Job Outlook?

Waddill supports his view with seven factors strengthening the NP job outlook and contributing to nurse practitioner demand. Of course, there's the ongoing physician shortage. "As physicians continue to be in short supply, demand for NPs will accelerate," Waddill writes.

There's also the increasing variety of sites of service and the rise of convenient care, expanding the variety of workplaces hiring nurse practitioners. The growth and proliferation of retail clinics, urgent care centers, ambulatory surgery centers, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), academic medical centers, and accountable care organizations (ACOs) all contribute to the demand for NPs.

The scope of practice for NPs is also increasing, with 21 states and D.C. currently granting nurse practitioners "a full scope of practice." With legislation pending in several more states, that scope is only going to grow. And concurrent with official recognition comes patient acceptance. Waddill cites a 2013 study published in Health Affairs wherein "about half of the patients surveyed said they would prefer to see an NP or PA than see a physician, or had no preference."

Further empowering the positive NP job outlook is the increase of team-based care and population health management, models in which nurse practitioners are increasingly "playing a critical role in care delivery and coordination." And the fundamental cost-effectiveness offered by NPs is also a factor in their growing demand. After all, as Waddill writes, NPs "can perform the majority of the tasks physicians perform while maintaining quality, yet they are paid significantly less."

"Celebrating 50 years of Nurse Practitioners" was published in November 2015 to mark the 50th anniversary of the NP profession. Jeff Waddill's article is entitled "Demand for Nurse Practitioners at an All-Time High;" you can read it here, or learn more about nurse practitioners with Staff Care's exclusive 2015 NP Week Infographic.

If you’re a nurse practitioner interested in locum tenens opportunities, we invite you to search for available NP job opportunities here. We have assignments all over the country! You can also join our social networks on FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus, and YouTube for even more networking opportunities and NP career tips.

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