According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) is projected to grow 45% from 2019 to 2029. Keep reading to find out what is driving this increased demand for APRNs and where these advanced practice clinicians are most needed.
What Is an APRN?
An APRN is a nursing professional that has obtained specialized education and experience for a specific patient population or skill set. At a minimum, APRNs must have a registered nurse (RN) license, clinical experience and a Master of Science in nursing or a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Since APRNs hold advanced certifications, they are allowed (in certain states) to diagnose illnesses, order lab tests and prescribe medications.
What Are the Benefits of Becoming an APRN?
There are several reasons why RNs choose to become APRNs. For some clinicians, it is the opportunity to practice medicine with more autonomy than is allowed with a RN license. (Currently, 21 states and the District of Columbia allow APRNs to practice without physician oversight). Other clinicians enjoy the intellectual challenge and are committed to solving patient problems for the duration of their career. Still others appreciate the diverse practice areas and competitive incomes that accompany this career choice.
Why Is There a Growing Need for APRNs?
The United States is currently grappling with the ramifications of a large “senior-aged” demographic (those individuals 65 years old and older). According to research conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), “the total U.S. population is expected to grow by 12% by 2030.” However, “the number of U.S. residents aged 65 and older is expected to increase by 55%, and the number of people aged 75 and older will grow by 73% during the same period.”
These statistics are important for two reasons. First, a significant number of employees, including those in the medical profession, are leaving the workforce for retirement. These seasoned professionals are leaving at a faster rate than their replacements can be hired. Within the healthcare industry, the U.S. is currently “facing a shortfall of roughly 200,000 nursing professionals” (Georgetown University).
Second, those in the “senior-aged” demographic tend to use healthcare services at a higher rate than other demographics. In essence, it is a landscape where demand outpaces supply.
APRNs play a critical role in addressing these concerns. “The Institute of Medicine, for example, claims that a large body of evidence ‘does not support the conclusion that APRNs are less able than physicians to provide safe, effective and efficient care’” (National Center for Biotechnology Information). In other words, APRNs expand access to quality healthcare. Furthermore, while doctors must complete 12+ years of education and training before they can practice medicine, APRNs can begin treating patients after six to eight years of education and training.
Where Are APRNs Needed Most?
While there is a need for more APRNs in all practice settings, the following four specialties are experiencing an exceptionally high demand.
Family Nurse Practitioners
The AAMC predicts that by 2033, there will be a shortage of 21,400 to 55,200 primary care physicians in the U.S. Since primary care physicians are the first point of contact with the healthcare system for many patients, this shortage could result in an increase in chronic health conditions, premature deaths and healthcare costs.
Family nurse practitioners (FNP) bring the same clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions as primary care physicians. In fact, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) reports that more than 870 million visits are made to nurse practitioners annually in the U.S. These patients report a high satisfaction with the care they receive, minimizing the gap between the supply and demand for primary health services.
Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners
While there are more than 290,000 licensed nurse practitioners in the U.S., only 22,620 (roughly 7.8%) work as adult-gerontology nurse practitioners (AGNP) (AANP). Given the fact that 74.3% of the nation’s population is 18 years old and older (and 12.4% is 65 years old and older), there is a tremendous opportunity for growth within this specialty (Infoplease).
AGNPs provide care to patients that are 13 years old and older. This means these clinicians are uniquely positioned to build long-lasting relationships with their patients. As part of their scope of practice, AGNPs promote preventive self-care, provide education on health conditions, reduce behaviors that cause illness, treat acute and chronic conditions and work to develop health initiative programs. It is truly a rewarding career choice for those nurses that enjoy working with the spectrum of human conditions.
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners
A national workforce assessment from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) reports that “approximately 56 million American adults are struggling with a mental illness or substance use disorder.” The assessment goes on to say that despite the best efforts of the current mental health workforce, the overwhelming demand has created a situation where many patients fail to receive the treatment they need.
Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNP) are desperately needed to fill the provider gaps within the mental health field. As a PMHNP, clinicians can prescribe medication and practice psychotherapy in a variety of settings, including private practices and hospitals (to name only a few). Their knowledge and influence can have life-long implications for the health and well-being of their patients and community.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists
Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) are responsible for administering more than 50 million anesthetics to patients each year in the U.S. Furthermore, CRNAs represent more than 80% of the anesthesia providers in rural counties (American Association of Nurse Anesthetists). In essence, CRNAs play a major role in providing safe and effective anesthesia to traditionally underserved populations.
According to the BLS, there are currently 43,520 CRNAs working in the country. With fewer anesthesiologists graduating from medical school each year, there is a growing demand for CRNAs in every practice setting. Other nurses, surgeons, doctors and more rely on the CRNAs’ expertise and advise to provide an exceptional level of patient care.
Why Should APRNs Partner with Premier Physician Services?
There are five reasons why APRNs should partner with Premier Physician Services:
- Explore New Places: APRNs that choose to partner with Premier Physician Services will have the opportunity to experience a variety of environments and practice settings.
- Confidential Opportunities: APRNs that are actively engaged with Premier Physician Services will be the first to know about confidential employment opportunities.
- Organizational Insight: APRNs that partner with Premier Physician Services will have all the information they need about an organization to be successful during the interview process.
- Feedback: If an APRN is not selected for a position, Premier Physician Services will find out why and help the clinician this feedback to prepare for the next opportunity.
- Negotiation Assistance: APRNs that partner with Premier Physician Services will have a dependable resource that will help them navigate the negotiation process.
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