One reason to be a nurse practitioner is the potential for a significant boost in annual salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for NPs is $107,030, which is a significant jump from the approximate median annual salary of $71,730 BLS projects for the registered nurse role. One of the key reasons for the increase in pay is that NPs have a few more responsibilities than registered nurses, which include tasks that put them in a position to help reduce the impact of the perceived physician shortage.
2. New Opportunities
Nurse practitioners can have the capacity to explore specialized aspects of health care that align with their personal interests. Some of the specializations to choose from include, women’s health, family health, and pediatric care. NPs can also explore career paths that expand beyond providing care, such as a nurse researcher or a nurse educator.
3. Expanded Autonomy
Among the many reasons for being a nurse practitioner, gaining the increased autonomy to provide quality care to patients is a major advantage for pursuing this role. NPs have the capacity to collaborate with physicians or work independently, depending on their state of practice. As of the end of 2018, 26 states and the District of Columbia allow NPs to fully practice without having part or all of their work regulated by collaborative or supervisory agreements. Another 16 states require partial supervision or collaboration for one aspect of NP practice.
4. More Comprehensive Care
Because some states give nurse practitioners autonomous or partially collaborative care, NPs have the capacity to provide a greater level of care services than their registered nurse counterparts. Some of these services include patient care management, diagnosis and treatment of conditions and injuries, and in some states, medication prescription. NPs can also spend extended time with patients, which can foster strong patient relations.
5. Higher Demand
Another reason to be a nurse practitioner is the high demand and job growth in the field. There’s an expected primary and specialty care physician shortfall of 46,900 to 121,900 by 2032, a range caused by a combination of an aging population and a larger influx of insured people. Fortunately, nurse practitioners will be poised to lessen this impact by providing high-quality care. Job projections support this as the BLS predicts a 28% growth for NPs between 2018 and 2028.
6. Provide Game-Changing Rural and Low-Income Care
The uneven distribution of physicians in urban areas compared to rural areas can lead to poorer health care in the latter category. NPs can help to mitigate the effects of this discrepancy by setting up shop in rural areas and acting as the primary care providers for individuals that may not have the ability to see a physician. They can also work with these patients in building preventative long-term care goals, which could help patients reduce their health care costs.