As a travel nurse, no matter where you turn, you will hear about the extreme shortage in literally every career within the healthcare industry. However, the greatest shortage is in primary care providers and that shortage is expected to move beyond extreme to critical within the coming years. If you are considering a family nurse practitioner career, now would be the time to make your move. Let’s look at some of the reasons why FNPs are in such high demand.
An Aging Population
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, AAMC, the United States alone will have a shortage of just about 100,000 doctors by the year 2030. That’s just over a decade away. The AAMC attributes this to a growing population along with the number of Americans reaching senior years. Some states, in fact approximately half of the nation, have come to terms with this need and have granted autonomy to Family Nurse Practitioners, FNPs. In 24 states which includes the District of Columbia, FNPs are now autonomous. The remaining 27 have various levels of autonomy, but that will change during those years as well. Every year the number of states legislating autonomy is growing.
The Rising Cost of Med School and Aging Physicians
Another reason why there is such a shortage of doctors is the rising cost of med school. While taking more than 8 years to reach that level of advanced education plus residency in their field, many students simply don’t want to spend almost 20-25 percent of their potential working years preparing for a career. FNPs can continue working as RNs while earning their degree online, which makes it easier and faster to step into private practice. Additionally, doctors are also aging and retiring which makes the shortage even greater.
The Unaffordable ACA – Truly an Oxymoron
What many people would find amusing if it didn’t make such an impact on their finances is that the Affordable Care Act is anything but affordable. They find the term ACA a true contradiction in terms. How can the rising cost of insurance and healthcare be considered affordable? Even many of the nation’s largest insurers are pulling back on providing health insurance at the rates stipulated under the ACA, which means that a greater number of Americans will go uninsured once again. This is important because those same insurance companies along with Medicare and Medicaid pay different rates between medical doctors and FNPs. While paid slightly less, the median salary is still above $105,000 and that amount rises as patient bases grow.
The bottom line is that there are many reasons why family nurse practitioners are in such high demand. Due to the lack of providers, increases in earning potential, and having the ability to go into private practice, the trend towards FNP careers is gaining momentum. If you are looking to advance your career as a nurse, why not consider getting that extra level of education required to be certified and licensed in your state? Not only will you be advancing your career, but you will be providing invaluable services to patients who would otherwise go without a provider. The need for FNPs is truly great.