By: Jude Jussim, Veralon
As the US population ages (the number of people over 65 years is projected to more than double by 2060), developing more chronic health conditions, demand for healthcare providers will increase. New models of care management, created by health systems and hospitals facing an increase in value-based reimbursement, will increase the focus on preventive care and on use of clinicians who can spend more time with patients at a lower cost. Greater access to health insurance is also likely to increase demand.
All of this means that if you are considering entering the employment market for advanced practice clinicians (nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives) you are looking at expanding opportunities. Advanced practice clinicians can perform many of the same tasks as primary care physicians, and are more cost effective. They are a valuable part of a team-based approach to patient care.
Employment for advanced practice clinicians has been growing far faster than that for registered nurses. Between 2012 and 2015 the number of RNs grew 4%, while the number of advanced practice clinicians expanded by 23%. Nurse practitioner employment grew by 29%, while employment of physician assistants grew by 18%. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 31% growth in advanced nursing clinician employment between 2014 and 2024, and a similar figure for physician assistants, those appear to be conservative estimates.
When looked at in absolute terms, the increase in employment of advanced practice clinicians was not quite so dramatic—the 4% growth in RNs equals an increase of 112,000 more nurses employed, while the increase in advanced practice clinicians was just over 52,000.
Growth in Employment of Advanced Practice Clinicians in the United States
Source: United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Veralon analysis. All annual estimates as of May of that year.