Advanced Practice Nurses: Changing the Primary Care Landscape

CHANGES AHEAD

Healthcare professionals have long known that an aging population and shifting demographics are reshaping the landscape of healthcare delivery in the US. The projected shortage of primary care physicians coupled with an increased demand for their services create a significant challenge. One potential solution to this growing problem is to utilize Advanced Practice Nurses.

 

NOT ENOUGH PCPs

A report by the Association of American Medical Colleges projects that the nation’s population will increase 10% by 2025 and most of this growth will occur in the 65 and older subset.  This demographic will grow by 46% while the population under age 18 is projected to grow only 5%. These changes portend rapid growth in health care service needs. This by itself might not be concerning but according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Center for Health Workforce Analysis report, a majority of states are projected to have a shortage of primary care physicians by 2025. The scarcity of primary care physicians is expected to be the worst in the southern US.

 

ENTER, THE NPs

The good news is that there will be healthcare professionals available to pick up the slack. The Health Workforce Analysis also found that no state is projected to have a shortage of Advanced Practice Nurses in the primary care setting in the next ten years. In fact, most states will have a surplus of nurse practitioners and the southern states may have the biggest oversupply (the same region in which primary care physicians will be most scarce).

Advanced Practice Nurses with full practice authority will be the future of primary care in many settings throughout the US for the foreseeable future. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reports that the historical barriers to full practice authority, including state laws, federal policies, outdated insurance reimbursement models, institutional practices, and culture, are evolving . Indeed, nurse practitioner practice authority has expanded considerably in the last five years. At the time of the report, 21 states had granted nurse practitioners full practice and prescriptive authority and there are 44 state Action Coalitions working to remove remaining barriers.

Advanced Practivce Nurses are poised to become the future of primary care in many regions of the US and are a ready solution to provider shortages. LeaderStat Locums can quickly provide an experienced nurse practitioner who will fit seamlessly into the culture of your organization and provide quality patient care. Contact us at 877-699-STAT to learn more.

 

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