The number of Nurse Practitioners (NP) grew by 8.5 percent in the last year, from 355,000 to 385,000, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).
The growth is not unexpected. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected that nurse practitioners will add the most jobs in country over the next decade, increasing by more than 45 percent by 2031.
AANP released its findings Monday to coincide with National Nurse Practitioner Week.
The growth goes beyond demand, which BLS said is being driven in part by a shift to team-based healthcare models. A Harvard study published earlier this year found that one quarter of all patients now see either an NP or physician assistant.
“As the demand for health care continues to rise, fueled by the growth of an aging population and the continued shortage of primary health care providers, AANP is committed to expanding and diversifying the NP workforce,” said AANP President Stephen A. Ferrara, DNP. “NPs can increase access to high-quality primary, acute and mental health care for patients of all ages in every community.”
The growth in nurse practitioner as a career choice is being driven not only by demand, but by a profession that has been rated among the best in healthcare or in any profession.
NPs have been ranked as the top healthcare job in the country two years in a row by U.S. News and World Report and the second best job in any category. It also ranked it as the occupation with the most job security. The mean salary for NPs was $124,680 a year, according to BLS.