The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) has identified five important health care trends to watch as the nurse practitioner (NP) profession looks to the future. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that NPs will have the fastest growth rate of any profession over the next ten years due to their high level of public confidence as healthcare professionals. In order to guarantee that patients have access to high-quality healthcare, NPs are at the forefront of diagnosis, research, and treatment.
“In 2023, we will continue to see an increased demand for NPs. The future of our profession is bright, and we stand ready to deliver the care patients need”, “NPs provide exceptional patient care, and our outcomes are reflective of this. We are continuously engaged in education and research to stay on the forefront of diagnosis, treatment and care delivery. We look forward to another year of being the health care provider choice for millions of families.”
April Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN, President, AANP
Observe these five trends.
- The Need for Nurse Practitioners Is Increasing With the NP Role — NPs are in great demand because to the ageing U.S. population, an increase in chronic disease incidence, and increased rates of infectious disease. The more than 355,000 licensed NPs in America see more than 1 billion patients yearly, including through telehealth and mobile outreach. Patients also have faith in NPs. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, NPs are expected to expand the fastest over the next ten years, with a projected growth rate of approximately 46% by 2031.
- Primary Care Shortage Areas Now Have Nearly 100 Million Residents, and the Numbers Are Increasing. 99 million Americans lack adequate access to primary care, up over 20% from a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and shortages are worse in rural areas. Over the previous ten years, hospitals in rural areas have closed more than 130 times, with over 20 of those closures occurring just this year. According to a recent AANP poll, nearly 50% of patients reported waiting more than a month for a medical appointment in the previous 12 months, and 25% reported waiting more than two months. Nearly 90% of NPs are educated to provide primary care, making them well-positioned to handle this difficulty. 1 in 4 primary care clinicians in rural settings are NPs, and this number rises to much higher proportions in states that let NPs to practice to the fullest extent of their training and education.
- NPs served on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still ongoing as communities deal with a tridemic of COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus. NPs are now taking on leadership roles in research and the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses (RSV). NPs are leading the effort to diagnose and treat illnesses of all types, as well as taking part in research to develop new treatments and fight emerging diseases. This is in line with the long-standing mission of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), which is to remove barriers to practice and expand access to health care providers in every state.
- Increased Direct Patient Access to NPs in More States By removing outmoded limits and granting patients full and direct access to NPs, an increasing number of jurisdictions are attempting to increase access to primary care. This enables NPs to practise at the pinnacle of their clinical and educational expertise, and it also enables patients to gain more from the treatment NPs offer. Full Practice Authority (FPA) laws are now in existence in 26 states, the District of Columbia, and two U.S. territories after New York and Kansas both passed legislation in 2022. The health system performance, access to treatment, and patient health outcomes in states with FPA are among the best in the country.The remaining states have outdated licencing laws that limit or prevent patients from accessing NPs. States using FPA have improved access to primary care, improved senior health access, and increased patient choice.
- Access to Mental Health Services is Growing Thanks to Mental Health NPs There are currently 158 million residents of areas with a shortage of mental health professionals. NPs are leading the push to expand the mental health care workforce and provide the care that is in demand. Nearly 100 new psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) programmes have been added to nursing schools in the United States over the past ten years. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Enrollment and Graduation Reports 2012–2022, PMHNP programmes have graduated more than 13,000 new providers since 2012. According to a study released in 2022, between 2011 and 2019, the number of NPs treating Medicare enrollees for psychiatric and mental health issues increased by 162%, while the number of psychiatrists serving Medicare patients fell by 6%. The study concludes that “PMHNPs are a rapidly growing workforce that may be instrumental in improving mental health care access” and that “in 2019, these NPs provided 34% and 51% of mental health office visits for [Medicare beneficiaries] in urban and rural areas with full scope of practise regulations.”
The largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties is the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP). More than 355,000 licensed NPs in the US are represented by it. In order to advance health policy, promote quality in practice, education, and research, and develop standards that best serve NPs’ patients and other healthcare consumers, AANP promotes legislative leadership at the local, state, and federal levels. The AANP represents the interests of NPs as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered healthcare as “The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®.”