As the population ages and demand for medical services grows, nurse practitioners play an increasingly vital role as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, personalized health care. National Nurse Practitioner Week recognizes the more than 248,000 licensed NPs in the United States.
Focusing not only on diagnosing and managing acute and chronic illness, NPs integrate health promotion, disease prevention, counseling and patient education to help patients understand their complete health picture.
In a population that is aging, with baby boomers becoming seniors in growing numbers over the next 10 years, having choices about health care providers will become even more important.
Across Franciscan Health hospitals and Franciscan Physician Network offices, the number of nurse practitioners and physician assistants has increased to meet the health care needs of our patients, according to Kathleen Carlson, director of clinical operations at Franciscan Health Michigan City and Munster.
“With fewer physicians going into primary care, it will be nurse practitioners and physician assistants who will be challenged to meet the demand for healthcare services. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants have also filled positions within our specialty clinics,” said Carlson, who is also a nurse practitioner.
Between 2016 and 2030, the size of the NP workforce is expected to increase, growing 6.8 percent annually compared to the 1.1 percent growth of the physician workforce, according to Peter Buerhaus, health care economist and professor of nursing at Montana State University.
National Nurse Practitioner Week is a great opportunity to highlight the role NPs play in our health care delivery system.