White Papers January 11, 2016

AANP Book on Demand for Nurse Practitioners

Demand for nurse practitioners (NPs) is at an all-time high, with requests for locum tenens NPs received by Staff Care increasing by 10 percent in the last four years.

So explains Jeff Waddill, Divisional Vice President of Staff Care, in an article appearing in "Celebrating 50 years of Nurse Practitioners," a book published in November 2015 to mark NP Week 2015 as well as the 50th anniversary of the NP profession.

"As physicians continue to be in short supply, demand for NPs will accelerate," Waddill writes. "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."

The Factors Increasing Demand For Nurse Practitioners

Waddill attributes the growing demand for NPs to a number of factors, including:

  • the physician shortage, a phenomenon that "would be considerably greater if not for the increasing volume of care being provided by NPs and by physician assistants (PAs);
  • multiplying sites of service, a list that includes urgent care centers, retail clinics, ambulatory surgery centers, insurance companies, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), corporate employers, academic medical centers, and accountable care organizations (ACOs), among many others;
  • the rise of convenient care, a setting that employs many NPs and which is expected to undergo an expansion of some 40 percent to its existing 9,300+ urgent care centers;
  • scope of practice, which NPs currently enjoy In 21 states and D.C., with legislation pending in several more states;
  • patient acceptance, including a 2013 study published in Health Affairs wherein "about half of patients surveyed said they would prefer to see an NP or PA than see a physician, or had no preference;"
  • team-based care/population health management, a spreading model in which NPs are increasingly "playing a critical role in care delivery and coordination;" and
  • cost effectiveness, which emphasizes that "NPs can perform the majority of the tasks physicians perform while maintaining quality, yet they are paid significantly less."

"The 50th anniversary of the NP role is an ideal time to look back and reflect on how far the profession has come," Waddill concludes. "Given the factors cited above, it’s an even better time to look forward to the exciting places it is going."


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