Nurse practitioners have long been touted as one viable solution to physician shortages in the United States, and it seems as though they are flooding the workforce, according to a new study published in Health Affairs.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at Montana State University and Dartmouth College, analyzed NP workforce data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey from 2010 through 2017.
Researchers found that the number of nurse practitioners in the United States more than doubled during that time period, up from 91,000 to 190,000, and that growth primarily occurred in hospitals, physician offices, and outpatient care clinics. It was also found that average earnings grew, as well, spiking in every setting—up from $98,269 to $101,243 in hospitals, $87,443 to $90,475 in physician offices, and $86,565 to $94,560 in outpatient clinics.
The news is not all good, however, and the growth does not come without implications. Researchers also identified that the growing NP workforce has reduced the size of the RN workforce by up to 80,000 nationwide, a field that has been struggling with its own shortages in recent years.
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