Why Nurse Practitioners Have the Best Job in America
Few jobs offer great pay and a sense of deep personal and professional satisfaction – as well as nearly infinite job opportunities. Nurse Practitioner professions have experienced a surge of growth in recent years, just one factor that contributed to the U.S. News & World Report’s ranking in the top 10 best jobs in their 100 Best Jobs of 2015 list. This profession is only expected to increase in coming years.
Here are five reasons why NPs have the best job in America:
- Career Longevity: America was facing a serious shortage of primary care providers even before implementation of the Affordable Care Act. This shortage is projected to increase as more Americans gain access to health insurance and healthcare, and as the population increases in both number and average age. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for NPs is expected to increase 34% between 2012 and 2022.
- Expanded authority: In 2011, the Institute of Medicine recommended removing scope-of-practice barriers that hampered NPs’ ability to work independently, prescribe medication or treat patients. Since then, 20 states and the District of Columbia have granted NPs full practice authority. Eight more states have removed barriers that limited NPs prescriptive authority. While NPs still face barriers in some states, the trend is definitely moving in the right direction. NPs can expect more professional autonomy in the future.
- Increasing salaries: In 2011, the average salary for a full-time nurse practitioner ranged between $90,000 and $94,000. By 2013, those numbers had increased considerably, to an average of $95,000 to $98,000, with the highest paid NPs earning as much as $126,000. Continued strong demand for NPs suggests that salaries will continue to increase.
- Professional Fulfillment: Nurse Practitioners may be the most satisfied health professionals in the United States – if not some of the most satisfied workers, period. A 2013 survey of NPs revealed deep pride, satisfaction and optimism: 100% of surveyed NPs reported positive feelings about being an NP, with 99% reporting optimism about their profession and future.
- Opportunity for Specialization: NPs aren’t restricted to traditional clinical settings. Much like doctors can choose to specialize in a particular medical field, such as cardiology or oncology, a nurse practitioner also has the ability to focus on a specialized area of practice. This advantage creates a variety of opportunities in different areas of health care.
There’s never been a better time to be a nurse practitioner. NPs’ autonomy and independence are expanding at the exact same time demand, public acceptance, and recognition of NPs’ role is increasing. And because there is such a high demand for properly qualified nurses, particularly those with advanced practice degrees, many employers are now footing the bill for the education.