Nurse practitioners are currently experiencing more demand than ever across the US. Currently, there is a shortage of primary care physicians that has led to advanced nurses taking over in these roles to provide primary care to patients in a range of different healthcare environments. Nurse practitioners work in their own practices, hospitals, doctor’s offices, outpatient clinics, and other healthcare settings. In most states, they have full practice authority, which allows them to prescribe medication, provide official diagnoses, and provide treatment to their patients without the need for their decisions to be signed off by a primary care physician. This high demand, along with the growing range of online and flexible advanced degree programs that are now available for nurses are just some of the reasons why registered nurses are becoming nurse practitioners. Some of the main reasons why this role is becoming more popular include:
Full Practice Authority
In most US states, nurse practitioners who are licensed to work in this role and have the required training have full practice authority. This allows them to work independently from a primary care physician. Nurse practitioners can work independently from physicians in various settings including outpatient clinics, retail health, hospitals, and more where they are free to perform their duties to a higher level and trusted to do this without supervision. Along with this, once you have a qualification such as the DNP FNP from Baylor University and are licensed to practice as a nurse practitioner in a full practice authority state, you will also be able to start your own practice as a nurse practitioner.
All nurses are able to choose to work within specialty areas of nursing that interest them the most. There are lots of specialty areas within nursing, whether nurses are interested in working with certain patient populations or want to work in roles where they can provide care to people who have certain conditions and diseases. As a nurse practitioner, you will also have the option to choose a specialty area that interests you the most, such as working in pediatric nursing care, working with older adults, or working with psychiatric patients. A family nurse practitioner role is a popular choice among nurses that choose this career path as it allows you to work in primary care and fill the gaps that have been left by the shortage of primary care physicians. Currently, the demand is highest for family nurse practitioners.
Remain at the Bedside
Many registered nurses are interested in advancing their careers but do not want to step away from the bedside and stop treating patients directly. Compared to many other career progression opportunities in nursing where you will move away from direct patient care to more administrative and leadership roles that tend to be more hands-off, advanced practice roles allow you to continue working directly with patients. This is one of the main reasons why the role of a nurse practitioner is so popular among registered nurses who are interested in career progression without losing the ability to be there for patients when they need care the most.
The high demand for nurse practitioners is certainly one of the main driving reasons behind why more and more nurses are getting into this career path. With fewer medical students choosing to go into primary care, this has had an impact on the healthcare industry with a shortage of primary care physicians that needs to be addressed before it negatively affects patient care. Nurse practitioners have the training, experience, and the autonomy to fill the shoes of primary care physicians without the need to attend medical school. And as nurse practitioners prove themselves to be excellent primary care providers with growing rates of patient satisfaction and better patient outcomes, it’s likely that the demand for nurse practitioners is only going to grow over time.
Improve the Quality of Patient Care
Working as a nurse can sometimes get frustrating since registered nurses have limitations when it comes to what they can do to improve patient care quality. While the majority of registered nurses do as much as they can within the limits of their roles to improve patient care, many want to work in a role where they can do even more. Training to become a nurse practitioner can be an ideal way to achieve this as this role provides further opportunities to advocate for patients, impact healthcare policy, and make bigger decisions that can have a direct impact on the level and quality of care that individual patients receive.
Become a Patient Advocate
Nurses are often some of the most vocal advocates for patients and working as a nurse practitioner gives you more of an opportunity to have your voice heard. Policymakers will often consult nurse practitioners as these professionals have a unique level of access to patients and a lot of experience in the nursing field as both a registered nurse and an advanced practice nurse. Ultimately, nurse practitioners tend to have a lot of knowledge when it comes to what needs to change and what can be done differently to improve things for patients across the board. Not only do they observe things that can be changed in their everyday life but also have a lot of contact with patients, allowing them to get important patient feedback that can be passed on to key policymakers.
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Flexible Study Options for Nurses
Finally, more and more nurses are deciding to choose to get into a role as a nurse practitioner as it’s gotten easier to achieve the necessary training and qualifications. Unlike in the past where nurses would have had to somehow find a way to fit attending campus-based classes around working full-time in nursing, online degree programs now offer a flexible, self-led option that nurses can study from the comfort of their own home without having to take any disruption to their work life.
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With a shortage of primary care physicians threatening healthcare, nurse practitioner roles are in higher demand than ever before as these advanced practice nurses are needed to step in and make sure that patients get the care they deserve.