Nurse practitioners (NP) have been providing primary care services amid shortage of physicians in the United States. As per the estimation of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), more than 205,000 nurse practitioners have been licensed till date. 99.3 percent of NPs are nationally certified and 98.7 percent of NPs have graduate degrees.
NPs are registered nurses who are well trained, educated to provide diagnosis and treatment of acute illness and chronic condition. NPs do posses complex decision-making skills and clinical competencies; those make them different from other nurses.
Here are 5 Facts about the Nurse Practitioners:
Primary Care: Most of the Nurse Practitioners have been working in primary care unlike registered nurses those are into all areas of healthcare. As per AANP, 86.5% of NPs are prepared in primary care. The U.S. primary care workforce includes around 56,000 as per statistics issued by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD in October 2014.
Quality Care: NPs are licensed to practice independently and have ability to diagnose patients, prescribe treatment and medication. They have been providing quality care like physicians and take charge of patients’ overall care. As mentioned in the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioner issued on April 2010 stated that NPs provided high quality cares to patients no single case of lapses were reported.
Not to Replace Physicians: It has been considered by most that the growing number of NPs could drive away physicians’ practices or reduce their salaries. In fact, many studies showed that the growing number of NPs would not have impact on the salaries of the physicians. The salaries of physicians are at par with NPs; but in some other states, the salaries of physicians are better than of NPs.
Medical Malpractice Cases: NPs have been providing high quality care to patients as it is evident from the less number of malpractice cases reported against them. Only 2 percent of NPs have been named defendants in medical malpractice cases. NPs have been offering patient-centered care by educating them about their lifestyle choices and healthcare decisions. Patients do prefer more care from NPs considering less medical malpractice rates against them. On the other hand, malpractice cases are high in nursing homes and centers in the United States.
Increasing Numbers: The number of nurses becoming NPs has been increasing significantly in the United States. According to AANP, currently 190,000 NPs are practicing in the country, where as the number was estimated at around 171,000 and 106,000 in 2013 and 2010 respectively. AANP estimates the number of NPs is likely to reach to 244,000 by 2025.