Nurse Practitioner Ranks Continue to Grow

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Chances are, you’re encountering more nurse practitioners these days. Count on that trend to continue, according to recent data from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

The AANP reported that the number of NPs licensed in the United States nearly doubled between 2004 and 2014: The number grew from about 106,000 in 2004 to 205,000 by the end of 2014. And more are coming, as the number of graduates continues to increase. In fact, about 15,000 students are now graduating per year from NP programs.

Many in the healthcare arena look to nurse practitioners to fill gaps in primary care and to provide other types of care in the future. The AANP notes that about 87 percent of NPs are prepared in primary care. And a growing number of states are expanding their NP workforce’s ability to practice independently -- Nebraska recently became the 20th state to authorize NPs to provide the full scope of services that they’re prepared and educated to provide.