Nurse Practitioners are expected to be the fastest growing job in the country over the next ten years, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected last week.
NP jobs are expected to increase by more than 45 percent, adding more than 112,000 positions between 2021 and 2031.
“Healthcare facilities are increasingly using team-based healthcare models, which utilize nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other healthcare practitioners to provide patient care that would otherwise be provided by a doctor,” BLS notes.
The country is expected to add 8.3 million jobs by 2031 with healthcare and social assistance adding 2.6 million jobs, more than any other sector.
“The healthcare and social assistance sector is projected to create the most jobs over the 2021−31 decade, growing in tandem with the segment of the population that is aged 65 and over,” the BLS noted. “This should, in turn, boost demand for various healthcare occupations, especially those involved in caring for the elderly and those expected to benefit from the increased prevalence of team-based healthcare.
“The individual and family services industry is projected to add the most employment over the projections period — approximately 850,000 jobs — and is expected to have the fastest annual employment growth of all healthcare and social assistance industries at 2.8 percent. Employment growth in this industry, as well as other healthcare and social assistance industries, is expected to be driven by the aging baby-boom population and a higher prevalence of chronic conditions.”
To keep up with demand, particularly in primary care where so many physician retirements are expected, could be a challenge. The University of Pennsylvania has launched a tuition-free NP program to encourage more primary care NPs.
Medicare is also experimenting with ways to encourage physicians and nurse practitioners to serve as mentors to student primary care NPs so they can complete their required clinical training. Without sufficient preceptors, schools must limit the number of NP students they admit.