We haven’t really talked much about nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses here on The Nurse Keith Show, and it’s about time we did. Over on Digital Doorway, I just published a blog post this week all about what has me excited about NPs and APRNs, so I had to share my enthusiasm here on the Nurse Keith Show, too!
Here’s part of what I wrote in that blog post:
Ten or fifteen years ago, many ordinary healthcare consumers may not have known much — if anything — about nurse practitioners. Moreover, only a small percentage would have received care from an NP. But in January 2017 at the time of recording this podcast episode, nurse practitioners are gaining ground like never before, so many nurses who are thinking about career mobility are likely considering the NP or APRN path.
Some of you may have seen the 2017 Jobs Rankings published by U.S. News and World Report this month of January, 2017 Well, they list the rankings for the top 100 jobs in the U.S., and nurse practitioners landed at #2 after pharmacists! In fact, NPs, nurse midwives, RNs, and nurse anesthetists are all within the top 20.
They base these rankings on many things, and NPs are reported as having a 0.7% unemployment rate, a decent level of upward mobility, and a median salary of $98,190.
The BLS is Definitely Not Full of BS
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the NP/midwife/nurse anesthetist cadre of careers will produce about 53,000 jobs between now and 2024; this may or may not be accurate, but I think there may be even more jobs in the offing. Most physicians don’t want to go into primary care since specialties pay so much better, so NPs are already coming to the rescue and will continue to do so.
Also, don’t forget that NPs, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists are likely to see 31% job growth through 2024, while the average for all occupations is only 7%.
Vets Deserve NPs
I had a lot to say about veterans’ healthcare on Digital Doorway; here’s what I wrote:
Back in 2016, you may have heard that the Veterans Administration was discussing granting full autonomy to all NPs and APRNs within their system; well, guess what? As of January 13th, 2017, it’s game on!
We all know that vets have been getting the short end of the medical stick for ages. Now, thanks to the wisdom and foresight of the VA, they won’t have to wait quite as long because the NPs are stepping in and stepping up to provide more comprehensive care for our valued vets who deserve the best.
Something we also know is that some states are much more restrictive of nurse practitioners than others. Well, for NPs working for the VA, those new VA NP autonomy regulations are more powerful than any jurisdiction by the state in which a particular Veterans Administration facility may operate. So, Susie Nurse Practitioner may live in a state where she lacks full autonomy, but if she works for the VA, she no longer needs a supervising physician and can go to town when it comes to autonomy of practice and serving her patients.
Doctors Can’t Stop Themselves
In terms of physicians and their complaints about NPs, I wrote the following:
Physician groups and their advocates may be fighting tooth and nail against APRNs gaining ground and autonomy, but the tide has turned in the direction of NPs, and will continue to do so. In New Mexico where I live, the New Mexico Nurses Association made sure that NPs gained broad and deep practice autonomy in our state, and that has happened in other states, as well.
Physicians may feel threatened by the ascendance of nurse practitioners and other APRNs, but I content that there’s room for all. Nurse practitioners are capable of providing thoughtful, compassionate, evidence-based care in a variety of settings. NPs aren’t jockeying to become brain surgeons; they just want to provide the care to patients that they’ve been trained to provide.
The Evidence is Overwhelming
Finally, my concluding thoughts about NPs and their current ascendance:
As the country continues to age, the role of NPs in primary care and gerontology will only increase; and as other systems follow the VA and realize the incredible value of APRNs and nurse practitioners, there will be calls for universal autonomy in all 50 states.
The evidence is in, and patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes are virtually the same for primary care physicians and nurse practitioners. There’s really no argument against NPs that holds water in 2017. Thus, the tide has turned and NPs are now ascending as needed at this time in healthcare history.
Support the ascendancy of nurse practitioners, and consider when and if the pursuit of a new career trajectory as a nurse practitioner may align with your professional dreams and aspirations.
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Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind NurseKeith.com and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.
Keith is co-host of RNFMRadio.com, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith was previously the resident nursing career expert at Nurse.com.
A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and has written for Nurse.org, Nurse.com, MultiViews News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline, StaffGarden, Working Nurse Magazine, and other online platforms.
Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur.