February 13, 2020

Implications of the rapid growth of NPs in the US workforce

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

Concerns about physician shortages have led policy makers to advocate for the greater use of nurse practitioners (NPs). From 2010 to 2017, the number of NPs more than doubled from 91,000 to 190,000, this analysis finds.

The growth of NPs, which occurred in every region of the US, was driven by the expansion of education programs that attracted Millennial nurses, and inflation-adjusted earnings grew by 5.5%.


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This pronounced growth in NPs has reduced the number of RNs in the workforce by 80,000.

Hospitals will have to innovate to replace RNs who have left to become NPs, and educators will have to be alert to falling earnings that may signal an excess production of NPs, the authors say.

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