When you’re searching for your dream career, it’s important to take the future into account. As industries evolve, some job roles become less prominent, and opportunities are few and far between. Conversely, choosing a career that’s set to soar to upcoming years will ensure that you benefit from increased opportunities and more job security.
There’s no doubt that healthcare can be a fantastic career option, particularly if you’re eager to help others and provide critical support in times of stress. However, there are many different job roles to consider within the healthcare industry and you’ll need to determine which one is right for you, if you want to enjoy a long and rewarding career.
When it comes to job security in the future, becoming a nurse practitioner could be the best option. Currently, there is increased demand for nurse practitioners in the United States,and this trend is set to continue in the future. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the job outlook for nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives will increase by 45% between 2019-2029.
With an extra 110,700 nurse practitioners set to be hired by 2029, the role presents enviable career opportunities for existing and aspiring nurses. To learn more, take a look at these six reasons why the demand for nurse practitioners in the U.S. is increasing and plan your next career move now:
1. Aging Population
Birth rate trends determine whether there is an imbalance in the population and, globally, the number of people aged 65 years and over is increasing at a faster rate than every other age group. In the U.S., the number of people aged 65 or over will double between 2000-2040, while the number of people aged 80 or over will quadruple within that timeframe.
As we get older, we tend to need more healthcare services, as well as more support and assistance. The aging population will mean that there is increased demand for medical services and nurse practitioners will be needed to meet this increase.
However, this isn’t the only way that an aging population will affect the need for more nurse practitioners in the U.S. Take a look at this blog post and find out which states are ranked highest for nurse practitioners. You’ll notice that the increased need for nurse practitioners in some states is due to an aging population within the medical community. With many qualified doctors and nurse practitioners set to retire relatively soon, there will be a shortage of healthcare professionals when they’re needed most.
Due to this, it’s vital that newly qualified or recently qualified nurse practitioners can step into the gap that’s left by retiring medical professionals and meet the needs of their patients.
2. Expanding Role
The role of a nurse practitioner has changed since it was first introduced and now, qualified nurse practitioners can undertake a wider range of duties and hold more responsibilities. In recent years, a significant amount of funds has been ringfenced for helping to develop nurse practitioner led outpatient clinics, for example.
In full practice states, nurse practitioners can evaluate and diagnose patients; order and interpret tests; implement and manage treatments and prescribe medications and controlled substances. While some states still enforce restricted or reduced practice for nurse practitioners, this often means that collaboration or supervision is required for nurse practitioners to deliver all aspects of their role.
Based on the range of healthcare services and the level of patient care that nurse practitioners are able to deliver, particularly in full practice states, their expanding role means that an increasing number of patients are choosing to consult a nurse practitioner, rather than a doctor. As a result, demand for nurse practitioners is continually increasing throughout the U.S.
3. Access to Health Insurance
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)significantly increased the number of people who have access to health insurance. At the same time, the PPACA expanded the role of nurse practitioners, with a view to them meeting the increasing demand for healthcare services from people who have recently acquired insurance.
While financial restrictions may have once prevented people from accessing healthcare, the PPACA has ensured that millions more people can now obtained affordable healthcare services via insurance. However, this means that more primary care professionals must be available to meet their needs.
To ensure that patients can access the care that they need, now that they have the insurance cover required to do so, nurse practitioners are being hired at faster rates. From hospitals and doctors’ offices to nurse practitioner run clinics, there are a variety of healthcare providers that are actively seeking nurse practitioners to join their teams.
4. Reduced Costs
Health insurance can significantly reduce the cost of patient care, but it doesn’t eradicate it completely. Depending on the specific terms of their policies, patients may still need to pay relatively high deductibles when accessing healthcare services. In addition to this, there are still millions of Americans who do not have health insurance. For these patients, the cost of healthcare services can be a major barrier to accessing care.
However, the cost of visiting a nurse practitioner is typically lower than visiting a doctor. Similarly, obtaining treatment in a nurse practitioner led clinic can be more affordable than in a hospital or doctors’ office.
For millions of people, this makes visiting a nurse practitioner a first-choice solution when they need healthcare services. As a result, patients are actively choosing to consult with nurse practitioners and seeking out nurse practitioner run clinics to obtain the healthcare services they need.
5. Improved Patient Outcomes
An aging population can indicate that we’re living longer but the advances in medical care also mean that millions of people are now living with chronic illnesses that were once life-threatening. While this is a triumph of modern healthcare and certainly something to be celebrated, it does mean that the number of people requiring ongoing healthcare services and patient care may increase.
This contributes to an overall increase in demand for primary care and means that more people will require consultations, treatments, advice, and medications from a qualified medical practitioner. Given the expertise and experience that a nurse practitioner has, they are ideally placed to deliver patient care. Due to this, many existing healthcare providers and facilities are hiring nurse practitioners to fulfill the increasing demand for their services.
6. Health Awareness
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has raised health awareness to a new level and more people are now taking an active interest in their own well-being. Similarly, the widespread use of tech devices to monitor our own health means that millions of Americans are becoming more health conscious and more proactive about advocating for their own well-being.
While this is undoubtedly a good thing, it can mean that extra pressure is placed on healthcare providers. If more people consult a medical professional as a preventative measure, rather than when symptoms emerge, it can enable health issues to be diagnosed earlier and outcomes can be vastly improved. However, this will only happen if there are enough medical professionals to deliver patient care at an increased rate.
To fulfill this requirement, the medical community is relying on nurse practitioners to undertake primary patient care, which leads to more nurse practitioner vacancies and job opportunities.
Is a Career as a Nurse Practitioner Right for You?
As you can see, there are many reasons why there is increasing demand for nurse practitioners throughout the U.S.With multiple issues contributing to the increased need for nurse practitioners, following this career path can provide stability and security, as well as fulfillment and job satisfaction.
If you have a BSN, AND, or ASN qualification and want to advance your career, completing an MSN-NP program could be the right option for you. Perhaps you’re eager to specialize in a particular field and become a pediatric nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, or a family nurse practitioner? Or maybe you’re ready to take on more responsibility and want to open your own clinic in the future?
If so, qualifying as a nurse practitioner could give you the rewarding professional experience you’re looking for and the job security you need in the future. What’s more – obtaining the relevant qualifications has become easier than ever now that you can complete an MSN online.
By studying at your own pace, choosing your specialties, and fitting your MSN courses around your existing commitments, you can qualify as a nurse practitioner while still working full-time. Similarly, if you have additional personal responsibilities, studying online gives you the opportunity to combine family life with your career aspirations.
The healthcare sector as a whole offers a challenging yet rewarding career but nursing, in particularly, can be extremely fulfilling. With the potential to expand your duties, take on a leadership role and meet the increased demand for healthcare services across the U.S., deciding to qualify as a nurse practitioner could be the best decision you ever make!